As soon as you become sexually active, you should be concerned about your sexual health. Whether you have one partner or several, you should always take into account the spreading and contracting of STDs.
Also how your status can affect your body and the bodies of others you are sexually engaging with. The more you know about how to prevent an STD infection, the more precautions you can take.
Even if you do find yourself infected with an STD, usually, it’s a learning experience. An experience that can make you more careful going forward. If you think you might have contracted an STD from unprotected sex, then find your nearing testing center. You can also search self collect testing to test yourself at home.
If you need some quick facts about STDs to help you get started on becoming more knowledgeable about your sexual health, sexually transmitted diseases are:
Women are more susceptible to STDs than men.
Women contract STDs more easily because of their anatomy. It’s also easier to transmit an infection from a man to a woman.
Infections that progress due to STDs are also riskier for women.
Women are more likely to have their fertility affected by a long-term infection, while they are also at risk of passing some STDs to their babies while they give birth. Particular STDs, like HPV, can also increase the risk or even cause cervical cancer in women. For this reason, women need to be extra careful about their sexual health.
There are more than 25 known STDs.
The most common STDs are chlamydia, gonorrhea, crabs, HPV, Herpes, hepatitis-B, and trichomoniasis.
STDs are most commonly contracted through oral, vaginal, and anal sex.
Some people believe that STDs cannot be transmitted orally, when in fact, they can.
Most STDs are passed through vaginal fluids, semen, and blood.
Some, like scabies, are passed simply through skin-to-skin contact.
While many STDs are treatable, not all can be cured.
The STDs that are incurable include hepatitis-B, Herpes, HIV, and HPV. If you have been diagnosed with these STDs, then you have to relay this information to any current or new partners. There are preventative medicines they can take to combat against contracting some of these infections (like Herpes and HIV).
Many STDs, especially the most common ones, are asymptomatic.
This means that sometimes after you’ve been affected by an STD, the infection will not cause any symptoms to appear. The most common STDs — HPV and chlamydia often show no symptoms in those infected. That’s why you should be tested after every unprotected sexual encounter.
Men who have sex with men have the highest risk of contracting syphilis and HIV.
70% of those diagnosed with syphilis from 2013 to 2017 were men, while only 6% of those people were women. There are two stages of syphilis, which is a disease that is highly contagious and can have severe side effects if left untreated. Symptoms include the appearance of a rash, sores, and flu-like symptoms.
- Each year, there are an estimated 20 million new STD infections in the United States alone.
- Those who are sexually active between the ages of 15 and 24 account for 50% of newly infected people each year, although the people in that age group only account for 25% of the sexually active population.
Many young people start experiencing sexual ages early or might be pressured into engaging in sexual activity before they even know what they’re getting into. Because of this, they pass STDs to each other at a faster rate. If they were to be more educated about how to properly protect against STDs, then this percentage might decrease over time.
- 1 in 4 teens contract an STD each year.
- HPV (human papillomavirus) is the most prevalent STD contracted in the U.S.
- The U.S. has the highest rate of STD infection in the global first world.
- Less than half of those between 18 and 44 have been tested for any STD other than HIV in their lifetime.
Even though HIV used to be a life-threatening virus, and is still prevalent in the U.S. and globally, the likelihood of transmission has gone down significantly in recent decades.
Get tested before you infect anyone else
For those men who are engaging sexually with other men, it still should be a topic of discussion. Also something you are tested for after every instance of unprotected sex with a partner.
It is less likely to occur after vaginal sex (unless those who are engaging are also using heavy drugs that involve needles and could already be infected with the virus). Regardless, everyone should be tested for HIV every six months or after being sexually active without using protection.
Anytime a person has sex with a partner unprotected (and they aren’t in a mutually monogamous relationship in which both partners have been tested before engaging sexually), they should be tested for potential STD infection. Many people are deterred by the stigma attached to STD infection as well as naivety about “knowing” their partner. Having sex with a person unprotected means that you’ve now been exposed to any other partners they’ve had or currently have. Get tested before you infect anyone else.
- Condoms don’t protect against two of the most prevalent STDs being spread in the U.S. — HPV and genital herpes.
- It isn’t just intercourse that can be the cause of an STD infection; STDs can also be passed through oral sex, mutual masturbation, and anal sex.
- It is not routine to test for STDs at your doctor’s office.
For women, it is recommended to visit the gynecologist and have a pap smear yearly. Not everyone has access to those services, but those who do know that they will ask you whether or not you want to be tested for STDs during the visit. This is a good option in killing two birds with one stone – you can make sure that your vaginal and ovarian health is in order, and that your sexual health is being taken care of.