The ABC's of STDs

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss, but it’s one that more people need to be knowledgeable about. They can affect anyone and everyone. The American Sexual Health Association states that there are approximately 20 million new cases in the U.S. each year, and half of them occur among people 15-24 years old. With the spread that STDs have, the more informed we are about them, the better.

What are STDs?

Girls Health defines them as diseases caused by many different viruses and bacteria that are transmitted through sexual contact. They are also called Sexually Transmitted Infections, or STIs. Because many STDs do not have obvious symptoms or signs (or some are so mild they can be easily overlooked), it’s important to take extra precaution before being intimate with a new partner.

Did you know that according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s most recent HIV surveillance report, Baton Rouge, LA is ranked fifth in the U.S. for estimated HIV/AIDS case rates?

Several of the most common STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and HPV have no signs or symptoms and may or may not result in a “disease.” According to the CDC, currently, vaccines are available to protect against infection with HPV, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B.

The Spread

It’s commonly known that STIs can be contracted through unprotected sex, skin-to-skin contact with an infected area, and contact with infected body fluids such as blood, saliva, or semen. However, you may be surprised to learn that these infections can also be spread through a variety of non-sexual means. Sharing razors, using someone else’s towels, and even kissing someone with a cold sore can all facilitate the spread of various STIs. This means that no matter how sexually active you are, you should be aware of the threat.

Prevention

Abstinence is the easiest way to prevent infection, but if you are sexually active, it is crucial to talk to your partner about their status and practice safe sex.

Best Ways to Prevent the Spread:

  • Use latex condoms and follow the instructions for correct use

  • Reduce your number of sexual partners

  • Get tested with your partner

If you or your partner test positive for an STD, be sure to seek treatment from a health care provider as soon as possible. Always be honest with your partner about your status and refrain from sexual activity as advised. Patient Plus offers STD testing, so visit one of our four locations to find out for sure whether or not you’ve been infected. 

Still curious? Check out our blog 5 Myths Surrounding STDs to learn more.


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