STDs and Sexual Health
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), once
called venereal diseases, are among at an epidemic levels as infectious diseases
in the United States today. According to the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health, more than
20 STDs have now been identified, and they affect more than 19 million
men and women in this country each year.
STDs affect men and women of all ages, backgrounds
and economic levels. Nearly two-thirds of all STDs occur in people
younger than 25 years of age.
The number of STD cases is rising. The reason---sexually
active people today are more likely to have multiple sex partners
during their lives and are at risk for developing STDs.
Many STDs initially cause no symptoms, particularly
in women. Even when an STD causes no symptoms, a person who is infected
may be able to pass the disease on to a sex partner. Doctors recommend
periodic testing for people who have more than one sex partner.
Health problems caused by STDs tend to be
more severe and more frequent for women than for men. The lack of
symptoms means that many women do not seek care until serious problems
When diagnosed and treated early, almost
all STDs can be treated effectively. However, some organisms, such
as certain forms of gonococci, have become resistant to the drugs
used to treat them and now require new types of antibiotics. The
most serious STD with no known cure is acquired immunodeficiency
syndrome (AIDS). Many experts believe that having other STDs increases
one's risk for becoming infected with the AIDS virus.
The only way to prevent the transmission
of STDs is to avoid behaviors that put a person at risk of infection,
such as sharing needles and having sex---vaginal, oral or anal.
The U.S.Center for Disease Control states
in its 2015 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines that
"[t]he most reliable way to avoid transmission of STDs is to abstain
from oral, vaginal, and anal sex or be in a long-term, mutually
monogamous relationship with a partner known to be uninfected."
If you suspect you may have contracted an
STD or if you or your partner have had multiple sex partners, call
us at 1-888-LIFE AID. We'll connect you with a counselor who can
talk to you about your concerns or fears and provide information
and referrals for confidential testing.