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What Every Sexually Active Adult Should Know About STDs

What Every Sexually Active Adult Should Know About STDs

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), which include syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, are transmitted between individuals through sexual intimacy. In some cases, these diseases spread via skin-on-skin contact. However, most STDs are passed to others through vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse. Symptoms can range in severity, and sometimes those infected experience no symptoms at all.

The rise in STDs, a nearly 30% increase between 2015 and 2019, is alarming and unnecessary.

At MyNP Professionals in Brown Deer, WI, Dr. Rosalyn McFarland and her team are committed to stemming these statistics. They offer STD counseling services, including education, routine testing, and treatment. Here’s what the team at MyNp Professionals wants you to know. 

STDs 101

An STD is any viral, bacterial, or parasitic infection passed from one person to another via direct sexual contact. They are prevalent and can affect anyone sexually active. However, recent STDs increases have impacted racial and ethnic minorities, gay and bisexual men, and youth the most.

Most STD carriers are asymptomatic and have no idea they’re infected or passing the diseases on to others until they get tested.

Common STDs 

The most prevelant STDs are:

Chlamydia and gonorrhea

Chlamydia and gonorrhea, the two most common STDs, are both caused by bacterial infections and they frequently occur together. Most of the time, symptoms are mild or non-existent.  

Yet, left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause severe complications, especially for women and infants. Both infections can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, cervical cancer, and perinatal or congenital infections in infants born to infected mothers.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are curable with antibiotics, but gonorrhea has become increasingly resistant to the medications used to treat it.  

Syphilis

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that produces painless sores called chancres. It is transmitted via skin or mucous membrane contact with these sores. The disease develops in stages. Symptoms vary with each stage. You may also be infected with syphilis and not notice any symptoms for years.

Primary syphilis

The initial sign of syphilis is a small sore called a chancre. The chancre appears at the spot where the bacteria entered your body. These sores will heal on their own within a few weeks. But if not treated, the infection remains in your body.

During the secondary phase of syphilis, rash-like spots may appear on your hand or fat, or small flat warts on your genitals. Some people also develop flu-like symptoms, including body aches.  

Untreated, syphilis can resurface and cause severe health problems, including damage to your brain, nerves, eyes, and heart.

Syphilis can be fatal for unborn babies, which is why pregnant women are always screened for syphilis.  Syphilis can be cured with antibiotics; early diagnosis and treatment are paramount. 

Herpes

Herpes, caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), is highly contagious. About one in six adults in the U.S. has herpes.   

It can cause painful sores on your mouth, lips, genitals, or anus. However, most people with herpes don’t develop these or any noticeable symptoms. That means herpes can be spread from someone unaware of their infection.

Herpes can also be passed on to a baby during vaginal childbirth. While the virus isn’t curable, herpes outbreaks can be controlled with medication.  

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is an inflammatory liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV); Hepatitis C infections are most often caused by using unclean or shared needles to inject illicit drugs. 

Yet, hepatitis C can also be passed from one person to another through unprotected sex. Teens and adults with multiple partners have a higher risk of contracting hepatitis C than people in monogamous relationships.    

The risk of untreated STDs

STDs can have devastating long-term health consequences, especially when they go undetected and untreated for too long. On the upside, when detected early, most STDs are treatable. And, if they can’t be cured entirely, they can be well managed with medication. 

Prevention is your best defense 

You can reduce your risk of contracting — and unwittingly spreading — STDs by following two essential precautions. The first is to practice safe sex (prevention), the second is to get tested regularly. 

To schedule an STD screening, contact our team today to schedule a personal consultation. Give us a call, or request your appointment online. 

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