As many as 333 million people a year walk away from lovemaking with more than they bargained for.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), representing more than 85 percent of all infectious diseases in the United States today, affect men and women of all backgrounds. Nearly as ageless as lovemaking itself, STDs are on the rise. Young people are having sex earlier and marrying later, which is why nearly two-thirds of all STDs occur in people under the age of 25. While marriage is becoming less common, divorce is growing more common. As a result, people are more likely to have multiple sex partners during their lives, increasing their risk of getting an STD.
When someone does acquire one of the more than 20 different types of STDs according to here, it is quite likely he/she won’t even know it. Most of the time, they cause no symptoms, particularly in women, making the disease a silent epidemic, unintentionally passed on from one sex partner to the next. What’s more, while the disease quietly rages, it can advance to a point where it poses serious health problems before someone seeks treatment.
Despite the likelihood that many, many people will contract an STD at some point in their lives, the subject remains taboo. Shame, embarrassment and even depression weigh more heavily than physical discomforts. Don’t let your feelings become a health risk! The only person who can take care of you is you. If you are concerned that you might have or get an STD, speak up! Talk to your health care provider about your worries; then take action. That means do whatever you can to protect yourself against STDs. The surest way to prevent any STD is don’t have sex. If you do have sex, use a latex condom each and every time (animal skin or novelty condoms don’t protect you). Get your partner to use protection. If your partner resists, then let him/her know that your health is more important to you than the relationship.
If you have had sex, get tested for STDs. It’s important to get tested once a year, even if you feel fine. The American Social Health Association recommends that you go to a doctor’s office or clinic right away if you have any of these symptoms:
- Pain when you go to the bathroom
- A strange fluid or drip from the penis or vagina
- Bleeding between periods (women)
- Unexplained rashes, especially when the palms and soles are involved
To find out where you can get free treatment in your area, call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National STD Hotline at 1-800-227-8922.
Most STDs can be treated. If you have an STD:
- Tell your partner he or she needs to get tested, too.
- Take all of your medicine, even if you start to feel better.
- Never take another person’s medicine or give someone yours.
- Don’t have sex until you and your partner are treated.