STDs can be scary, but the more you know about them, the easier they are to prevent.
To start, anyone who is sexually active can get an STD, and they don’t always show symptoms.
Not every sexual partner is truthful, so make sure you are always using protection…just in case.
It is important to get tested for STDs ideally before having sex with different partners, but it is recommended to get tested at least every 6 months.
Not all STDs show early signs or symptoms of infection, sometimes you can go years without knowing if you do not get tested. Often times, classic symptoms are written off as something else.
Here are some questions and everything you need to know about STDs.
What are STDs?
Well, in summary, STD is an acronym for Sexually Transmitted Disease, which basically means an infection transmitted through sexual contact. An STD is caused by either bacteria, viruses, or parasites. (sharing any body fluid can result in an STD)
Most Common STDs?
STDs are actually super common, more than 1 million STDs are acquired every day worldwide.
HPV, or Human papilloma virus, sees more than 3 million cases in the United States per year. This STD is more common in women and normally goes away on its own, depending on the strain, it is important to be in contact with your doctor to make sure it is taken care of.
Herpes! We all know about herpes, it affects more then 80% of the population, there is no cure for this but sores can be treated with topical and oral medication, speak to your doctor about treatment.
Chlamydia, also known as “the Clap”, this is very common and can be treated with antibiotics, if gone untreated, can be a cause of cancer and pregnancy complications.
There are so many more but these are the top 3. STDs, although common, can be prevented by practicing safe sex and getting tested regularly!
The most common sign of infection is a burning sensation during urination, this one is hard equate to an STD because there are also other reasons for burning during urination, but you should see a doctor anyway.
Bumps or sores near mouth or down there…this is an obvious sign of infection and should be taken seriously, even if you do not think you have an STD, do not have any type of sex while sores or bumps are present, because you are at risk of being contagious and spreading it to your partner.
Discharge… I know, I know gross. But this is important to keep track of, especially for women. Our bodies tell us a lot about what is going on inside, pay attention and listen to your body. If there is a change is color, consistency, or odor, see a doctor just in case.
Where can you get tested?
Planned Parenthood offers free or low cost testing for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV and way more. You can find your local clinic by going to plannedparenthood.com. Although they take walk ins, I would recommend making an appointment online or over the phone prior to avoid excessive wait times.
You can also google other clinics in your area to see if they have STD testing services, or visit your primary care doctor.
What do you do if you test positive for an STD?
First and foremost, do not freak out, STDs, although scary, are common and most of them are treatable.
Start by asking questions about the STD, figure out everything you need to know for your health and well being, the best way to combat it is to learn about it. (Speak to a healthcare professional instead of googling, you will freak yourself out more than you need to)
Next, speak to your healthcare provider about the next steps, what medicines and treatments are available and how soon can you start them. The sooner you start a treatment the sooner you’ll feel better. Example, Chlamydia can be treat with antibiotics, even with just two pills.
Once you have gotten all the information you need about the STD and how to treat it, abstain from sex until you test negative for that STD, you should get tested three months after taking any medicines.
Everything you need to know about STDs
This can be embarrassing, but it is so important, make sure you inform your sexual partner(s) that you tested positive for said STD, at this point it does not really matter who you got the STD from, just be more careful and if you choose to have sex with a past partner, that they are tested and cleared before you have sex again.
The hard part is over, now just ensure you are using protection and make sure you are getting tested periodically.
Everything you need to know about stds
Please keep in mind that birth control and STD prevention are two different things! Birth control and spermicides do you protect against STDs, which is a common misconception.
Condoms are effective but cannot promise a 100% risk free experience, condoms break, leaving you at risk for whatever your partner has and vice versa. Make sure your partner(s) is/are aware of the last time you got tested and you should be aware of their sexual history as well.
You may be lucky enough to never go through the anxiety and confusion of being diagnosed with an STD, but you should always stay up to date on education and ways to protect yourself!
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Everything you need to know about STDs Everything you need to know about STDs