Back to the Basics of STDs
No one wants to contract a Sexually Transmitted Disease, yet many people don’t know the best practices to prevent them. When it comes to STDs, knowledge is your best defense. Let’s review some STD basics — some of the most common STDs, how they’re transmitted, and how to prevent them.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases are diseases that are spread through sexual contact. It’s important to note that STDs are not only transmitted through penetrative sex. Oral sex and other kinds of sexual contact can spread diseases as well. Some STDs are passed from one person to another through skin-to-skin contact. Anyone sexually active is at risk for contracting STDs, even if they are not having penetrative sex. In fact, there are approximately 10 million new cases of STDs every year in Americans between the ages of 15 and 24. It’s also important to understand that you can contract an STD through sex even if your male partner doesn’t ejaculate.
One common misconception about STDs is that you don’t have a Sexually Transmitted Disease if you don’t have any symptoms. The truth is that many STDs don’t show any symptoms for a long time, but even when they are asymptomatic, they can still be spread from person to person. Let’s dive into the STD basics of some of the most common Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
Although chlamydia is a common STD, it can be easily treated. However, if left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to the female reproductive system, making it difficult or even impossible for women to become pregnant. Generally speaking, young people are more at risk of contracting this disease.
Genital Herpes is one of the most common STDs. Most people don’t have symptoms, so asymptomatic people frequently spread Herpes. More than one in six people between the ages of 14 and 49 have Herpes, and many of them probably don’t even realize it!
Gonorrhea is a very common infection, especially among young people. It can cause infection of the throat, genitals, and rectum. Discharge and burning sensations during urination are common symptoms of gonorrhea, though some don’t have any symptoms at all.
Did you know that having an STD puts you at greater risk of contracting HIV? This is because many of the factors that put you at risk for an STD also increase your risk of getting AIDS. Additionally, having a sore on your body from an STD makes it easier for HIV to enter the body. Having multiple sexual partners or partners that you don’t know well can increase your STDs and HIV risk.
The information above isn’t comprehensive and doesn’t cover every STD out there, but it’s a useful review of STD basics. The only prevention method that will keep you 100% safe from STDs is abstinence — not engaging in anal, oral, or vaginal sex. However, abstinence isn’t for everyone. If you decide that you do want to be sexually active, you can take a number of steps to ensure the safety of yourself and your partner.
Being in a mutually monogamous relationship — a relationship where you and your partner agree not to be sexually active with anyone other than each other — is a great way to lower your risk of STDs. However, even if you do this, you should take additional precautions to ensure your safety. Always use a latex condom during sex, and be sure that you know how to put it on correctly. Talk to your partner about their sexual history and be honest with them about yours. This kind of communication is important so that you understand the risks of becoming sexually active.
Finally, you and your partner should both get tested for STDs before becoming sexually active. This is an important step that you should take, whether it’s your first time having sex or having sex with a new partner. Getting tested is the only way to know for sure that neither you nor your partner has an STD. It may be uncomfortable asking your partner to get tested, but it’s well worth the peace of mind you’ll have knowing you are safe. Understanding these STD basics and taking preventative measures is the best way to maintain your sexual health. Get tested at Think Before You Sleep today.