More than twenty-five sexually transmitted diseases (STD) have names, classifications and some form of treatment. The most common curable STD are:
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
STD are caused by bacteria and viruses which are carried and transmitted on genital skin or in genital fluids.
Most STD begin with a general malaise, much like flu symptoms and fatigue. Some of the manifestations are rashes, pustules, open sores, lesions, warts, fever and abnormal genital fluid production. If syphilis goes untreated, it causes dementia, brain and organ damage. It is potentially fatal.
While most STD can be treated with antibiotics, four are incurable.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Human Immunovirus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
HPV has been linked to an increased risk of certain genital cancers (like cervical cancer). HIV is the precursor to AIDS, which compromises the immune system making patients susceptible to infection by all common pathogens and increasing the likelihood death will result.
Genital herpes (simplex 2) is more prevalent in women than men, and highest in black women. Hepatitis is a STD which inflames the liver, eventually causing it to malfunction and fail. The five types of hepatitis are lettered A through E.
Sexually transmitted disease is as common as the common cold. In the industrialized world, the United States has the highest incident rate of STD.
Over 65 Million
That is the number of people in the US infected with at least one STD. About 1/3 of all people with a STD are unaware they have one.
1 in 4
Teens contract STD every year. Approximately, 4,750,000 cases of STD per year are diagnosed in teens.
New cases of STD are diagnosed each year. Of these, half are diagnosed to young people under the age of 25. The sowing of wild oats comes with a price.
Of the million people estimated to have HIV, 25% do not know they are infected.
Half of the population will have an STD at least once in their lives.
All STD are preventable.
Abstinence is 100% effective at STD prevention.
Every year, more than $14B is spent diagnosing and treating STD, excluding HIV/AIDS. More than half of the money spent comes from patients and their insurance carriers.
Annually, nearly $50B funds the diagnosis and treatment of the more than one million cases of HIV/AIDS in the US alone.
Make A Difference
Take responsibility for the transmission of STD.
1. Call your doctor. If you cannot find a testing facility in your area, make an appointment to be tested for STD and HIV. Testing is anonymous and is often free.
2. Get information. Before your appointment read about your risks based on age, sexual activity, gender and race. Counseling is available to help you assess the risks and understand your test results.
3. Do it together. Going to be tested with your partner can ease tension and quell fear. Support one another in the choice for healthy sex.
4. Protect your negative results. Prevent infection by practicing abstinence. If you are sexually active, be monogamous with a partner who is also negative for STD. If you or your partner are not monogamous, use a condom.
5. Be responsible with positive results. If you have a STD, get treatment. Practice full disclosure by telling your sexual partner(s) so they can be tested and treated if necessary.
6. Say No to intravenous (IV) drugs. If you do use drugs, never share a needle with anyone.
7. Share the information. Many people do not know the risks of contracting a STD. They do not know they could be infected without knowing. Pass the information about getting test on to them.
You can prevent passing a STD to someone you love, but only if you know whether or not you have one. You would not knowingly pass a disease you know would inconvenience, harm and/or kill your sexual partner.
- Each STD increases the risk of infection of HIV/AIDS.
- Just because you cannot see symptoms does not mean you do not have an STD.
- One partner can reinfect the other if both are not treated simultaneously and do not abstain or have protected sex during treatment.
- Oral sex is a way to transmit STD.
- Only herpes simplex 2 is on the decline. All other STD are on the rise.
No one is immune to sexually transmitted diseases. Look at your partner. Chances are one of you has or has had a STD. Get the peace of mind of knowing you are STD-free.
Save yourself stress, heartache and money by getting tested. You could save a life…yours or your partner’s.
Do you know of a testing clinic in your area? Did you know there were that many cases of STD? Can you imagine a better way to spend the money spent on STD and HIV/AIDS diagnosis and treatment? Will you Make A Difference by spreading the word about STD testing?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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