STD's aren't talked about much in public. It has only been recently that they have been brought into the media. You need to be aware of what you are
doing, and understand the risks. If you are sexually active you need to have some knowledge before you get you, or you partner into trouble. Hopefully
the following information can help you understand further. Hopefully it can be read by the 19371 current members and all the guests and hopefully, it
can save a life.
A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is a disease caused by a virus that is spread from being to being through sexual contact. STDs can be painful,
irritating, debilitating, and life threatening. More than twenty sexually transmitted diseases have been identified.
STD's most commonly occur in sexually active teens and young adults. Not one race or gender gets STDís but they all do. An estimated 200 to 400
million people worldwide are infected.
In the United States more than 13 million people are infected each year and more than 65 million have an incurable STD. Generally, STD incidence has
declined in the United States over the past 15 years, although rates among certain populations, including men who have sex with men, have
Most STDs cause relatively harmless disease, producing few or no symptoms. However, some produce persistent asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic
disease (e.g., chlamydia). Some people carry the disease for days or weeks, while others carry the disease for longer periods, even for life. During
this time, an infected individual, or carrier, can spread disease.
In persistent infection, the pathogen evades detection by the immune system and remains fairly inactive, causing no overt disease. This inactivity is
called latency. However, certain triggers (e.g., stress, immune suppression, injury) can reactivate latent pathogens. In some cases, reactivated
disease is asymptomatic (e.g., chlamydia); in others, overt (e.g., genital herpes); and in still others, severe and even fatal (e.g., HIV/AIDS).
The only sure way to avoid becoming infected with an STD is monogamy with an uninfected partner. It is important for partners to discuss their sexual
and STD history before having sex. Prevention is possible only if sexually active individuals understand STDs and how they are spread.
The risk for transmission is dramatically reduced with the use of condoms. The following behaviors and conditions can increase the risk for STDs:
- Engaging in sexual activity when either partner has unhealed lesions (e.g., genital herpes sores, genital warts)
- Enema or rectal douching before rectal intercourse
- Rectal or vaginal irritation or infection
- Sexual activity that may damage the mucosal lining of the vagina or rectum
- Tampon use (Tampons can cause vaginal dryness and cellular abnormalities. Sanitary napkins, either disposable or washable cotton pads, are
- Vaginal dryness (Water-based lubricant is recommended.)
You may have an STD if you have any of the following symptoms:
- burning sensation while urinating
- unusual discharge or pain within one to three weeks of last sexual encounter
- smelly, foamy, yellowish-green vaginal or penile discharge
- abnormal vaginal bleeding
- genital area discomfort
- pelvic pain
- fever or rash on skin or genitals
- soft, itchy warts in and around the vagina, penis, and anus
- soft, cauliflower-like bumps on genital areas
- cold sores and fever blisters on the mouth (these can be spread to the genitals during oral sex or if a hand touches the genitals after touching the
sores on the mouth)
- swollen lymph glands with or without sore throat and fever
- red bumps that turn into painful blisters or sores on the vagina, penis, buttocks, or thighs (sometimes on other parts of the body as well)
- sores on the genitals or mouth that disappear but are followed with a rash on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet within 3 weeks
- severe fatigue, aching, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, darkening or urine, or abdominal tenderness
- yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (called jaundice), and darkening of the urine followed by fever and cold spells
- unexplained weight loss, flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, fatigue, persistent fevers,
- night sweats, headaches, mental disorders, and/or severe or recurring vaginal yeast infections
Even if you only think you have a STD, see your doctor immediately.
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[edit on 30-8-2004 by MacKiller]