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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The general term sexually transmitted disease (STD) is applied to any of the group of diseases that can be spread by sexual contact. (Sometimes called sexually transmitted infections, or STI). The group includes conditions that used to be called venereal diseases (VD), named after Venus, the goddess of love.

We’re sure you have heard about sexually transmitted diseases in one way or another: at school, in the news, on TV, in magazine, from friends, and in public service announcements. It’s common to see ads about how to get HIV/AIDS testing and even about treatments for herpes, genital warts or lice on television or on the Internet. Why? Because they are so prevalent.

Every year more than 12 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases are reported in the United States alone. At least 3 million among them are from teenagers.

Teenagers have the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases of any age group. You can catch one.

STDs are spread from one person to another through intimate sexual contact such as sexual intercourse, oral-genital contact, or anal sex.

The impact of STDs is particularly severe for women. Since many STDs often cause few or no symptoms in women, they may go untreated. Women are at serious risk for complications from STDs. Some of the complications include: ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, chronic pelvic pain, infertility and cervical cancer.

STDs must be accurately diagnosed and treated completely. This means that if you become sexually active or are considering becoming sexually active, you need to have regular gynecological or male genital examinations.

If you think you have an STD, or if you were with someone sexually who might have an STD, you should see a health care provider right away. Ask your partner to be tested too. Your health care provider cannot read your mind or even know if you are sexually active unless YOU tell them. Tell them and ask to be tested for STDs, especially if you have not been using condoms every time you have sex! 

Pap smears do NOT test for STDs.  If you are unable to talk to a parent about being tested or you're worried about your parents finding out, testing can be done without parental consent in the United States. It is confidential.

Chlamydia is now the number second most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States, but it CAN be cured! So, get tested! Sometimes Chlamydia is the number one STD in the country, it just depends on the statistics you are reading and that particular study date.

HPV is one of the most common human infections in the world. It’s caused by the Human Papillomavirus and now there is a vaccine named Gardasil® to prevent HPV. However, this only is effective against about 70 to 80% of all the HPV viruses.

There are treatments for most STDs, so get check out and treated. Then use condoms as your best protection against STDs besides abstinence.

Use a CONDOM every time you have sexual intercourse.  


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