Sexually Transmitted Diseases, sometimes referred to as STI’s or Sexually Transmitted Infections, have taken center stage in the news recently because of a program called Plan B, a free, over-the-counter emergency contraception policy, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on August 24, 2006.
This program, known as Plan B one step or the morning after pill, is an oral contraceptive, and has no preventative qualities that would keep someone from contracting an STD, contrary to popular belief.
That being said let me present you with the 10 things you need to know about STD’s.
- Young women under the age of 20 have double the risk of contracting an STD as women over the age of 20.
- STD’s are genuinely transmitted through sexual activity of one sort or another, however a small portion of STD transmission occurs during pregnancy, and breast-feeding, as well as blood and tissue transfers.
- Most STDs are curable, but several types of STD’s are not, including herpes capitalize herpes and the virus that causes HIV/AIDS.
- More often than not, STD’s present without symptoms, particularly in women. Risky sexual behavior and promiscuity should be avoided.
- STD’s are a major cause of infertility in women, and up to 40% of women with untreated chlamydial infections will develop symptomatic pelvic inflammatory disease. Post infection damage to the female fallopian tubes causes up to 40% of female infertility cases worldwide.
- 25% of all stillbirths globally, and 14% of newborn deaths can be attributed to untreated STD’s, such as syphilis in pregnant women.
- The most deadly form of sexually transmitted disease is the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). 95% of all cervical cancer diagnoses are linked to sexual transmission and genital infection of the virus. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women. Estimates of up to half a million new cases each year result in 250,000 deaths annually.
- Participating in risky sexual behavior as well as depressed socioeconomic conditions has placed different cultures into the at risk category for exposure to STD’s.
- Being in a monogamous relationship, as well as abstention from sex, appeared to be the two best ways to avoid contracting an STD.
- Next to abstention, condom usage is the most effective method of preventing the contraction of an STD, including the HIV/AIDS virus.
There are vaccines available for a limited number of the different types of sexually transmitted diseases, and if you are under 25 years of age, you should check with your local health department about the availability of these vaccines, as you are in the largest at risk group for contracting STD’s.
If you have participated in any sort of risky sexual behavior, or think you may be at risk, get tested.
Article by Jim Donahue