Sexually Transmitted Disease and Infection
The number of people infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) continues to increase. Each year 15 million new people are infected with curable STDs and 340 million are infected worldwide. Many sexually transmitted diseases can be treated or cured by your doctor, but unfortunately many cannot be cured. If you notice any vaginal itching, burning, unusual discharge, blisters, or pain, you should visit your doctor right away.
|Common Sexually Transmitted Diseases|
STD Risk Factors
Condoms made of latex or polyurethane can help reduce the chances of getting most STDs, but condoms can fail; two to six percent of condoms will fall off or break during intercourse. A condom can break even if you use it perfectly. A condom does not protect against all STDs, such as human papillomavirus (HPV).
Spermicides containing nonoxynol-9 were believed to prevent HIV infection, but now it’s known that spermicide use can increase your risk because the chemical irritates the vagina, making infection more likely. Therefore spermicides are not recommended for HIV prevention any longer. Spermicides are typically used with condoms, sponges, diaphragms, and cervical caps.
Hormonal birth control
Birth control methods, such as Depo-Provera and oral contraceptives, can actually increase your chances of contracting an STD from an infected partner. Depo-provera suppresses the immune system, and hormonal methods can make the reproductive tract more vulnerable to viral and bacterial infections.
Multiple sex partners
Sexual intimacy can put you at risk. In addition to intercourse, many other activities, such as oral and anal sex, can result in an STD. Your friends might think oral sex is no big deal because “it’s not really sex.” But don’t kid yourself. It is sex, and it’s not safe. While you can’t get pregnant from oral sex, you can get a sexually transmitted disease or infection, which have become an epidemic in the US. Each year more than 15 million Americans get infected with STDs and the majority of them are under the age of 25. You don’t want to be one of them.
STDs cause harm
Sexually transmitted disease can lead to a number of serious problems, listed below:
• Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
• Ovarian Cancer
• Uterine Cancer
• Cervical Cancer
• Ectopic Pregnancy
• Serious Infection to Newborns
• Increased Risk for HIV Infection
• Chronic Pain
Know your partner
Are you at risk? You would be surprised to learn how STDs can spread.
HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. Gardasil is a vaccine that may protect you from 4 strains of HPV. There are at least 3 other strains of HPV, so even if you are vaccinated, you can still contract the virus. In addition, Gardasil has not been on the market long enough to know the long term side effects.
The local testing site is the Waterbury Health Department at 95 Scovill Street in Waterbury, CT. Call 203-574-6880. Testing is free and confidential.