STD Prevention and Testing

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A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is an infection which is usually contracted through sexual contact. Each year, 20 million different people experience sexually transmitted diseases, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. One half of the people affected by this are between fifteen and twenty-four years old. This makes sexually transmitted diseases much more widespread than one may think.

How to avoid getting an STD?

One way to prevent getting an STD is to practice abstinence. If abstinence is not a reasonable option for you, then you and your partner should take an STD test before developing a sexual relationship.

What should I do if I think I have an STD?

There are ways to take a confidential STD test at a location near you. If you think that you have contracted an STD then click here to take an STD Test

STD Testing

testing

All STD’s are contagious and if you feel that you may have been exposed to one, then it is important to get tested. The test results would allow you to make a decision about treatment. This is important because if left untreated it may lead to the STD spreading to others you come into sexual contact with.

There are test labs that offer 100% confidential, 5 minute testing. These tests are FDA approved and test results can be received on the same day.

Here are some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases

disease

HIV Type 1

There are two types of the HIV virus. Unless it is noted otherwise, HIV usually refers to HIV Type 1 in the United States. This HIV Type 1 is a virus which causes AIDS, the last stage of the HIV infection. It is passed on to a person by coming into direct contact with bodily fluids which have been infected with HIV. These bodily fluids would include vaginal fluids, semen, or blood. It can also be transmitted by a mother to her child in the pregnancy, during delivery, or while breastfeeding. Most HIV infections are caused by HIV Type 1.

HIV Type 2

HIV Type 2 is the second type of HIV virus. It also causes AIDS. The HIV Type 2 infection is seen in West Africa. It is transmitted the same way as HIV Type 1, through bodily fluids as well as from a pregnant mother to child. This infection often takes more time to develop into AIDS than HIV Type 1.

Herpes

Herpes is the common name for herpes simplex viruses. It can be broken down into two types: Oral herpes is referred to as Herpes type 1 or HSV-1. Genital herpes is known as Herpes type 2 or HSV-2. With oral herpes, one develops cold sores or fever blisters around his lips and mouth. With genital herpes, one develops these sores often below the waist, near the rectum and genitals.

Chlamydia

This is commonly transmitted to both men and women. For women, it can cause lasting reproduction problems. It can cause her to become sterile or have difficulty becoming pregnant. Chlamydia also increases the risk for ectopic pregnancy.

Chlamydia is transmitted through sex with a partner who has chlamydia. This includes anal, oral, or vaginal sex. If you have a male partner who has chlamydia, you can be infected even if ejaculation does not occur. You can also develop chlamydia multiple times if you continue to have unprotected sex with a person who has chlamydia.

Gonorrhea

This STD infects women and men. Gonorrhea infects the throat, genitals, and rectum. This infection is most common in people from fifteen to twenty-four years old.

Gonorrhea is transmitted through anal, oral, or vaginal sex with a partner who has gonorrhea. It can also be transmitted through a pregnant mother to her child (throughout the pregnancy, at childbirth, or later during breastfeeding).

Syphilis

Syphilis is broken down into four stages as follows: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. If left untreated, this infection causes significant health issues.

Syphilis is developed by direct exposure to a syphilis sore during sex. These sores are located develop on the genitals, anus, and rectum, as well as lips and mouth. A pregnant mother with syphilis infection can also infect her unborn child.

Hepatitis A

The hepatitis A virus , also known as HAV, causes a transmittable liver infection. The mode of transmission is generally from one person to another by a fecal matters pass to another’s mouth. This is known as the fecal-oral route. It can also be spread when food or water is contaminated, then consumed. Adults who are affected often suffer from fatigue, pain in the stomach, decreased appetite, jaundice, and nausea. The infection often lasts less than two months. Children rarely have symptoms or have an infection which is difficult to identify. Your body produces antibodies in response to the Hepatitis A infection. There is also a vaccine available which prevents a person from contracting Hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B

The hepatitis B virus, also known as HBV, also affects the liver. It is spread through contact with infected bodily fluids. This would include semen and blood. If the infected bodily fluids enter the uninfected person’s body, they can develop Hepatitis B. Although this can happen through sex, it also occurs when using infected needles or syringes for injecting drugs. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby. Hepatitis B can be either short term or long term (chronic infection). Only two to six percent of adults develop chronic infection , whereas ninety percent of infants who are infected with Hepatitis B develop serious chronic health issues. Liver cancer and cirrhosis are often caused from chronic hepatitis B. There is also a vaccine available to prevent obtaining Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C

The hepatitis C virus, also known as HCV, is also a liver infection transmitted through blood. Hepatitis C is often contracted by those who inject drugs with used needles. This is becomes a chronic illness for seventy to eighty-five percent of infected people, although for others the illness is short lived. For those who develop chronic hepatitis C, they may suffer from significant health conditions. It can also be fatal. Many who are affected by Hepatitis C do not show signs of infection are unaware of the infection. In order to avoid contracting Hepatitis C, avoid risky behaviors like using drugs which are injected. There is not currently any vaccine for this virus.

Conclusion

Sexually transmitted diseases are quite common and some people do not experience symptoms. If you suspect that you may have contracted a sexually transmitted disease, do not hesitate to reach out to your medical provider. You can request testing. Some sexually transmitted diseases become chronic infections if left untreated. Your medical provider can also inform you of your options of having vaccines to prevent contracting some sexually transmitted diseases.

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