An Overview of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases referred to as STDs for short, are a group of diseases which can be spread through sexual activity with someone who has a sexually transmitted disease. An STD can be contracted from sexual activity of all types, whether vaginal, anal, or oral. Any type of sexual activity that involves the mouth, penis, vagina, or anus can transmit these types of medical problems from one person to another.
Many people will experience some form of STD at some time in their sexually active lives. The American Social Health Organization estimates that one out of four teens in the U.S. becomes infected with a sexually transmitted disease each year. By the age 25, over half of sexually active people will have gotten an STD at some point.
All sexually transmitted diseases are serious and require serious treatment. Unfortunately some sexually transmitted diseases, such as AIDS and Genital Herpes, can not be cured. AIDS is an STD that can be deadly. So, sexually transmitted diseases are serious business and sexual activity should not be taken lightly.
Common STDs include genital herpes, genital warts caused by human papilloma virus, Hepatitis B, Chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea often called ‘the clap’. Specific articles on each of these STDs will provide more information on the specific symptoms and treatments for each sexually transmitted disease.
How Can You Tell If You Have An STD?
To be perfectly honest, sometimes there aren’t any symptoms to let you know you have an STD. This makes it especially important to practice safe sex.
Symptoms which could indicate a sexually transmitted disease which you should have checked out by a physician include bumps, sore, or wart-like growths near the mouth, around the vagina or labia, on any part of the penis, or near the anus.
Swelling or redness of the vagina or penis is another sign that should be checked by a doctor. An unexplained skin rash, painful urination, weight loss, night sweats, aches, pains, fever and chills that do not have another clear explanation can be symptoms of STDs.
Yellowing of the skin, called jaundice, can indicate hepatitis and immediate medical treatment must be sought. Any discharge from the vagina or penis should be considered a possible symptom of a sexually transmitted disease.
Any vaginal bleeding that occurs anytime other than during regular monthly menses should be checked by a doctor; it could indicate an STD or another medical problem. Itching of the vagina or penis are indications of a possible STD infection. And pain experienced during intercourse, while may be caused by other medical problems, can indicate sexually transmitted disease presence.
If any of these symptoms are present, you should seek medical help to determine is the cause is an STD. Only a doctor can accurately determine if you have one of the common sexually transmitted diseases or another medical problem causing symptoms similar to an STD.
The doctor can cure most sexually transmitted diseases. Exceptions include genital herpes, hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS. STDs which can not be cured can be treated and managed, often lessening the severity of symptoms. The doctor can educate you about how to prevent spreading the disease either during treatment, or in the case of an incurable STD, how to manage your sex life to avoid spreading the disease. You can also learn about how to get healthy and remain healthy. Any doctor will be happy to discuss safe, sound, smart sexual choices with you.
In the case of most STDs, antibiotics will be prescribed and must be taken exactly as prescribed. A repeat test to ensure the antibiotics have completely cured the sexually transmitted disease may be performed.
Protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases
The best way to treat an STD is to avoid getting one in the first place. There are some basic steps that you can practice which will protect you from STDs.
The most certain way to stop the spread of STDs is abstinence of sexual relations until entering a committed monogamous relationship where both parties have been tested for STDs and have none. However, for many this isn’t a viable option. However, limiting the number of partners you have sexual relations with is a good idea. The more people you share sexual intimacy with, the greater your odds of catching an STD.
When you do choose to have a sex partner, select with care. If you suspect the person may have an STD, avoid allowing yourself to be enticed into sex. Whenever you have sex use a latex condom and, if using a lubricant, be sure it is water-based. Do not have sex when you are high on drugs or alcohol because you are likely to make a bad selection of partners or fail to use a condom properly. Periodically, be checked for STDs. When a woman visits her gynecologist for her yearly PAP smear, she can have a full check up even if no symptoms are present. When a man has any reason to visit a doctor, he should discuss any tests he might feel necessary.
Be aware of the signs and symptoms of STDs. Watch for them in your own body and watch for signs in your sex partners. Learn as much as possible about sexual diseases.
If you do learn that you have an STD, stop having any sexual encounters until you have seen a doctor and been treated. Talk to the doctor about the STD and follow his or her instructions carefully. Do not return to sexual activity until your doctor declares it safe to do so. Be sure that your sexual partner(s) is aware that you have an STD and that they get tested and treated.