Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) - April 2007
The term sexually transmitted disease is used to cover the more than 25 - 30 infectious organisms that are spread through sexual contact. These infections are most easily spread by vaginal or anal intercourse, and sometimes by oral sex. Some STDs can also be spread through blood, particularly among intravenous (IV) drug users who may be sharing drug equipment such as needles or syringes.
Key facts about STDs
-STDs affect men and women of all backgrounds and economic levels. They are most common in people younger than 25 years of age.
-The number of people affected by STDs is rising. Sexually active people today are more likely to have multiple sex partners during their lifetime, putting them at higher risk for STDs.
Most people with STDs have no symptoms, and subsequently go without treatment. This can lead to major health issues such as infertility, permanent brain damage, heart disease, cancer and even death.
What are some Common Symptoms of STDs ?
-Discharge from the vagina or penis
-Burning with urination
-Rash, bumps, blisters, or sores in the genital area that may or may not be painful.
Where do I go for STD screening and treatment?
Many local and county health departments have clinics where you can get tested and treated for an STD. Some clinics are free, at others, you may have to pay to get STD testing and treatment.
Your doctor or health care provider may also do STD testing and treatment. You should see your doctor or health care provider right away if you have symptoms of an STD or suspect that you might have been contracted an STD from an individual that you have been sexually active with. If you do not have a doctor or health care provider, and need to get tested right away, go to a local urgent care center, walk in clinic or hospital emergency room.
How do I prevent from getting an STD?
The best way to prevent STDs is to avoid sexual contact. This includes not have vaginal sex, anal sex, or oral sex. If you decide to become sexually active, here are some steps that you should take to reduce your risk of becoming infected with an STD:
-Delay having sexual relations as long as possible. The younger you are when you begin having sex, the more likely it is that you will develop an STD.
-Have a mutually monogamous sexual relationship with an uninfected partner.
-Practice safe sex. Always use latex or polyurethane condoms during any sexual contact. Using condoms reduces the risk of infection for some STDs but does not provide full protection against genital warts, syphilis and HIV.
Are there any websites that will give me information on a particular STD?
National STD Hotline: (800) 227-8922
National AIDS Hotline: (800) 342-AIDS
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention STD Hotline (800)227-8922