The Truth About STDs

When you are dating someone and you decide to take your relationship to the next level, there is always the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. It is said that as many as 1 in 4 people will have an std at some point in there lives. Many people do not know as much about std's as they think, and often times people think that they will be able to tell if their partner has an std. Others think that they are only at risk of contracting the HIV virus, but this is not the case. If you are going to be involved in a sexual relationship, it is imperative to know your risks, as well as how to protect yourself against those risks because there are multiple different types of std's that you could possibly contract.

Chlamydia is a common std that can ultimately cause damage to a women's reproductive system. Symptoms of chlamydia are generally mild and can even be absent but if left untreated the std can cause serious damage including infertility. Men are also at risk for this disease. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted disease. The disease can be diagnosed by a doctor, and is easily treated with antibiotics. If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, it is important to inform any sex partners so they can also be tested.

What is Chlamydia – an explanation of the std from the Center for Disease Control

What Causes Chlamydia – in-depth information on the bacteria that causes chlamydia

Genital Herpes is another fairly common std, which infects approximately 1 in 5 adolescents and adults. The disease is caused by the herpes simplex virus, and many of those infected rarely experience symptoms. Herpes outbreaks result in painful sores and blisters on or around the genitals. Outbreaks of the virus can be controlled with medication but while herpes can be controlled it is not curable.

What is Genital Herpes – an explanation of the std from the Center for Disease Control

Herpes Facts – information on the virus including pictures

Gonorrhea is an extremely common sexually transmitted disease. Most people infected with gonorrhea experience no signs or symptoms but when symptoms do appear the most common is a burning sensation when urinating. Women who have gonorrhea are at serious risk of complications and need to be treated as soon as possible to prevent such complications, and the std can also lead to infertility in men if left untreated. Gonorrhea can be diagnosed by a doctor and is usually easily treated with antibiotics however new strains of the virus are making it more difficult to treat.

What is Gonorrhea – an explanation of the std from the Center for Disease Control

What Causes Gonorrhea – information on the bacteria that causes a gonorrhea infection

HPV (Human Pappiloma Virus) is the most common std in men and women. The virus generally shows no signs or symptoms and most people who become infected do not know. HPV does sometimes cause genital warts, which are painful bumps on the genitals. Genital warts will possible go away without treatment, but it is better to have them treated by a doctor who can prescribe medication to clear up the infection. HPV on the other hand has no treatment, and will normally go away on its own but if not caught in time, the virus can cause cancer, most commonly cervical cancer. There is a vaccine for females that can help protect against human pappiloma virus.

What is HPV – an explanation of the std for the Center for Disease Control

HPV Vaccine – information on understanding the HPV vaccine developed for females

HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is probably the most well known and deadly std. HIV will eventually lead to AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV and AIDS can be diagnosed with a blood test, and unfortunately there is no cure for the disease, however if you are diagnosed with HIV there are medications which can be taken to prolong your life, however these medications can be very pricey and often have unpleasant side effects.

What is HIV/AIDS – information on the diseases from AVERT, an international aids charity

HIV/AIDS – in-depth information on the disease, prevention, treatments, and medications available

While the only people who are not at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease are those who practice abstinence, that is an individual choice, and not one that everyone makes. So if and when you decide to become sexually active it is important to take every possible precaution to stay healthy and disease free. If you are in an intimate relationship the best way to prevent std's is by using condoms, which can be over 99% effective in preventing disease and pregnancy when used correctly. Once you become sexually active, you should get tested for HIV at least once a year, and this can be done with a simple blood test. Ultimately it is your responsibility to get educated so you can stay safe and healthy.

Learn About STDs – information from the American Social Health Association

Preventing STDS – information from the FDA on preventing the spread of stds in teens

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