Pregnancy is not the only thing to be considered after having sex. STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) are common and can affect your sexual health. Some are curable, while others can last a lifetime. They can be caused by a virus, bacteria or parasite and can be transferable through vaginal, anal or oral sexual contact. Some STD’s show no symptoms and others can leave lifelong complications or even result in death.
- HPV (human papillomavirus) is the primary cause of cervical cancer. At least 50 percent of sexually active men and women acquire a genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. Most HPV infections have no signs or symptoms; therefore, most infected people are unaware they are infected, yet they can transmit the virus to a sex partner.
- Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States. Any sexually active person can be infected with Chlamydia. The greater the number of sex partners, the greater the risk of infection. Because the cervix of teenage girls and young women is not fully matured, they are at particularly high risk for infection. Complications of chlamydia infection can include infertility, transmission of infection to an infant, and reactive arthritis.
- In women, symptoms of Gonorrhea are often mild or absent. Even when a woman has symptoms, they can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. Untreated Gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems including infertility and chronic pelvic pain.
- Many people who have Genital Herpes have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. You may not notice mild symptoms or you may mistake them for another skin condition, such as a pimple or ingrown hair. Because of this, many people who have herpes do not know it. Herpes symptoms can occur in both male and female genital areas so that even a condom may not fully protect you from getting this infection. A woman can pass herpes infection to an infant, and having herpes infection can make you more susceptible to acquiring other STIs if you are exposed to them.
- There are still over 1 million people living with HIV in the United States. About one-fourth of those are undiagnosed and are unaware of their infection. HIV can be spread by sexual activity with men or women, as well as by other contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person. Although HIV can be managed with intense treatment regimens, there is no cure. Infection can be passed to an unborn child by its mother.
These are only a few of the more common sexually transmitted infections. If you are sexually active–get tested. It’s the only way to know.
Source: Medical Institute (www.medinstitute.org)
We do not offer STD/STI testing at our center, but we can refer you to a nearby center that provides free testing.
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