The Ultimate Guide to STDs and STIs
If you are reading this, chances are you might be scared by the idea of getting some types of STI.
Or at least, you have suffered from one of them in the past.
Perhaps you dated with someone who was notorious for having sex with everyone in the phone contact, or you were simply drunk and went for it anyway without a condom.
No matter which cases you were in, having some knowledge about STD can be helpful in a world where more and more people are infected with these issues.
Even the CDC has enlightening stats on STDs.
This comprehensive guide will give all of the basic information that you need to know so that you can have a safer sexual life.
What is an STD?
Sexually transmitted disease or STD (also known as sexually transmitted infection or STI) is the condition which can be spread from person to person due to unprotected sexual activities.
STDs can affect people of all backgrounds and who are engaging in a sexual contact, including anal sex, oral sex, vaginal intercourse, and skin contact with affected areas.
STDs have been around for many centuries and most people will get one of these conditions during their lifetime, making it a major challenge for the public health.
In worse cases, some STDs such as AIDS can be deadly or lead to infertility in women.
How do you get an STD?
In general, STDs are mainly caused by some parasites, bacteria, and viruses that exist and spread through many ways.
STDs can affect anyone of any ages, lifestyle, race, background, socioeconomic status, or ethnicity and are often caused in 2 ways: sexual contact and non-sexual contact.
Sexual contact is traditionally regarded as vaginal intercourse, but in a broader term, it also includes other activities such as kissing, oral sex, genital touching, and anal sex.
During a sexual session, bacteria and virus can be transmitted via contact with the fluids which carry the triggers (saliva, vaginal secretions, and semen) or contact with an open source releasing the bacterial through bloody fluids, mucus, and pus.
Non-sexual contact can be almost anything else not mentioned above such as sharing needles, sharing food, childbirth, breastfeeding, surgical procedures, and sharing bedding.
Since STDs can be infected via skin-to-skin contact or fluids, it is easy to see the transmission of STDs in these non-sexual ways too.
What are the common symptoms of STDs?
Many STDs are basically silent, meaning that they do not have any symptoms.
If the symptoms are present, there will be one or more of these signs as following: fever, bleeding, discharges, painful urination, bumps, sores, and swelling in the vagina or penis.
Symptoms of STDs might be the quite similar to other common health issues, making it more difficult and longer to diagnose and treat.
What if an STD is left untreated?
Most people are not aware of the complications from untreated STDs, which might include everything from cancers, heart diseases, genital infections, infertility, abnormalities, and even death.
Untreated syphilis, for example, can damage the neurological system and internal organs, while untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea conditions can spread throughout your body and lead to infertility.
Also, STDs can have an extremely serious impact on pregnant women and babies.
Therefore, it is better to get tested at least once or twice per years to detect the issues early and get the best treatments.
Understand what other risk factors might also apply to you, from different social determinants, substance abuse to men having sex with men.
The better you are informed, the better you could protect yourself and your partners from the effects of STDs.
Where to test for STDs?
If you are sexually active, regular testing for STDs is highly recommended to know your current status and detect the condition early for a better treatment.
In general, you should have a test at least twice per year if you are practicing unprotected sexual activities or have multiple partners.
These days, there are a variety of methods to test for STDs, making it quite challenging to make the final decision, which can depend on many personal factors.
But in most cases, it is best to take an STD test in the office of a private physician, which can be convenient, effective, private, and quick compared to other options.
More importantly, having your own physician ensures that your prescribed treatments won’t conflict with other medications or drugs.
Many physicians do not handle sexual health conditions specifically, so it is likely that they will have limited access to treatment or testing options.
How is a STD treated?
Except for AIDS, some STDs can be treated, while the others are chronic, but curable with medication.
Generally, you will be prescribed antibiotics to treat STDs.
In these cases, make sure that you take all of the drugs, even when the symptoms have gone away.
Also, do not take the medicine of someone else to treat your illness because it can make it much more difficult to identify and treat the infections.
Similarly, never share your medicines with others.
How to protect yourself from STDs?
In case your partner is suffering from STDs, abstinence or no sexual contact is probably the only certain way to avoid infections.
But if you are a sexually active person, keep in mind the following things to stay healthy.
It is best to be mutually monogamous, meaning that you only have sex with one partner who has tested negative for STIs.
In addition, you should use a dental dam or latex condom every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex to prevent the transmission of bacteria or viruses from person to person.
The only way to take care of your sexual health is to be informed of necessary knowledge.
Though the Internet is full of information about STDs and how to test for them, these details are often scattered across different sites and are not always up-to-date or reliable.
With this guide, we hope that you can have easier access to a single source about these sexual diseases, thereby finding the right treatments and enjoying a happy life with your partner.