Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs)

What is STDs?

STDs are infections that are spread from one person to another, usually during vaginal, anal, and oral sex. They’re really common, and lots of people who have them don’t have any symptoms. Without treatment, STDs can lead to serious health problems. But the good news is that getting tested is no big deal, and most STDs are easy to treat.

STD Symptoms:

If an STD starts with a symptomatic STI, you might first experience:

  • pain or discomfort during sexual activity or urination
  • sores, bumps, or rashes on or around the vagina, penis, testicles, anus, buttocks, thighs, or mouth
  • unusual discharge or bleeding from the penis or vagina
  • painful or swollen testicles
  • itchiness in or around the vagina
  • unexpected periods or bleeding after sexual activity

But remember that not all STIs have symptoms.

If an STI progresses to an STD, symptoms can vary. Some of them may be similar to the above, such as pain during sexual activity, pain during urination, and irregular or painful periods.

But other symptoms can be quite different and depend on the STD. They can include:

  • Fever.
  • Recurring pain.
  • Fatigue.
  • Memory loss.
  • Changes to vision or hearing.
  • Nausea.
  • Weight loss.
  • Lumps or swellings.
Types of STDs:

While the list of STIs is pretty lengthy, there are fewer STDs.

They range from pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), caused by STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea, to some forms of cancer, caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).

Tips for STD’s prevention:

The best way to avoid an STD is to prevent STIs. And the only foolproof way to do that is to avoid sexual contact.

But there are ways to make sex safer and reduce the risk of contracting an STI:

  • Have an open discussion about sexual history with a new partner before engaging in any sexual activity, and decide what you’re each comfortable with.
  • Get tested regularly for STIs, especially if you have a new partner or multiple partners. Ask any partners to do the same.
  • Use a condom properly during vaginal, anal, and oral sex to help prevent STIs that spread through fluids. Dental dams can also provide protection during oral sex.
  • Consider getting vaccinated for HPV and hepatitis B.
  • If you’re at a higher risk for contracting HIV, think about taking PrEP medication every day.

 

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