heard about sexually transmitted disease (STDs) continually throughout
your adulthood. Everybody knows STDs are a dangerous and frightening
reality. But do you know what they really are? Or how you can actually
contract an STD? Or how serious they are? Or if you can find a cure?
Or how to get tested? If you’re like many other sexually active
women, you probably have a million questions about STDs and your
health. Read on to find the answers to some of your concerns.
range in seriousness and treatment options—from mild infections
with little to no symptoms to more serious, and even fatal, diseases
such as HIV. STDs are spread via sexual activity that involves
the mouth, anus, vagina or penis. Contrary to popular belief, STDs
be distributed via vaginal fluid as well as semen. So, if you have
been diagnosed with an STD, be sure to inform your partner and
take the necessary protective and preventive measures.
have no noticeable symptoms. However, some common symptoms of
- bumps, sores or warts near the mouth or vagina
- skin rashes
- inflammation or redness near the vagina
- vaginal discharge with
an unpleasant odor
- itchiness near the vagina
- painful urination
- aches and pains
- a fever and chills
- weight loss
- digestive problems, including diarrhea
- night sweats
- vaginal bleeding, not menstruation
- pain during sex
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk
to your healthcare provider. Your provider will be able to test
you to see if you
have a STD. Even if you don’t experience any of these symptoms,
if you have had unprotected sex or multiple sexual partners,
you should get tested for an STD. It’s important to be informed
about your sexual health, and being tested will at least provide
you and your partner with peace of mind. It’s also recommended
that you have any potential sexual partners tested before you have
sex with them. Although this may seem like “a lot to ask,” or
you may feel uncomfortable asking, you’re always better safe
than sorry. Think about the consequences of one sexual mistake,
and think about living a lifetime with those consequences. One
worth it, for the security and knowledge that you are safe.
you’re diagnosed with an STD, there may be a cure for you.
However, some STDs are not curable. Most symptoms may be controlled
with certain antibiotics. You will need to be aware of these symptoms
in order to avoid spreading the STD on to anyone else. If you have
an STD, remember to use a condom every time you have sex and to
always inform your partner of your condition. Listen to your provider’s
advice to learn how to prevent spreading your disease.
- Chlamydia: A treatable bacterial infection that can
scar the fallopian tubes and cause infertility.
- Crabs: Bugs or
parasites that live on the pubic hair and in the genital area
and are passed between sexual partners. Will go away with
- Genital Herpes: A recurrent skin condition that causes skin
irritation and sores in the vagina and/or anus and can be transmitted
oral sex as well as intercourse.
- Genital Warts: Also known as
human papilloma virus (HPV), a virus that affects the vagina,
skin surrounding it, and the cervix.
Symptoms vary from wart-like growths to abnormal cell growth. HPV can cause
an abnormal Pap test and cervical cancer.
- Gonorrhea: Commonly
referred to as “the clap,” a
treatable bacterial infection of the vagina that causes pain,
a pus-like discharge.
- Hepatitis B: A chronic liver disease that
can be transmitted through sexual fluid, preventable with vaccination.
Human immunodeficiency virus attacks the immune system and results
in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
- Syphilis: A treatable bacterial
infection that can spread throughout the body and affect the
heart, brain and nervous system.
to the American Social Health Association, 65 million people are living in
the United States with an incurable STD. And
year, 15 million new cases of STDs are diagnosed. So, if you
have an STD, you might feel embarrassed or ostracized. Remember
world STDs are common, and treatment options as well as support
groups and counseling options are available to you.
The best way
to stay healthy and avoid STDs is to limit your sexual partners,
always use a condom when having sex, and to
If you have regular tests for STDs, notify your provider of
your sexual behavior, and stay aware of symptoms and warning signs,
you can promote good sexual health and avoid contracting an
infection or disease.