Sexual Health

Doctor actively discusses about sexual health with patient

If you are sexually active, you need to take care of your sexual health. It’s as simple as that. There are many misconceptions out there at the probability of contracting an STD which is why the number of infected people is skyrocketing every year. Who is contracting STDs? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 20 million cases of sexually transmitted infections occur yearly and half of those cases are from young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 in the United States. Here are some STD facts you should know in order to manage your sexual health.

STD Symptoms

  • Not all STDs produce symptoms: There is such a thing as asymptomatic stds. Chlamydia and Hiv are a couple of them. This means that you can have one of these diseases and not know you have it. If you are sexually active and have a partner, there is a high chance that you can transmit the disease. It is important go get tested yearly or every time your sexual partner changes in order to prevent the spreading of the infection. Some diseases like HIV and HPV have no cure and may put your or your partner’s life in danger. Prevention is key, so even if you have no symptoms at all, it is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Serious Symptoms: While all symptoms should be taken seriously, there are some symptoms that can leave permanent damage to your body. Women are especially susceptible as it can affect their ability to carry a child or the disease may transfer to the child if pregnant. Here is a list of serious health problems caused by the following STDS:
  1. Chlamydia: infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  2. Gonorrhea: pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  3. Human Papillomavirus: Cervical Cancer
  4. Hepatitis B: Liver disease or liver failure
  5. Syphilis: Heart and blood vessel damage

Sexually Transmitted Infections

More than 25 stds exist that we know of. They come in the form of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Some are treatable with medicines while others are permanent and only manageable. Stds travel through bodily fluids such as semen, vaginal secretions, and blood. Other infections such as scabies spread by skin to skin contact.

HPV is the most common std and is goes highly undetected. There’s a chance you might have it right now. More than 40 different strains of HPV exist and are sexually transmitted. Around 12 are considered “high risk” meaning they have the change to cause cancer. “Low risk” strains may cause genital warts.

If you haven’t heard much of this sexually transmitted disease as much as the others it is because many men and women never even realize they have contracted HPV. Our immune system can fight it to where it becomes undetectable by lab tests, nevertheless it may still be there.

STD Testing

With the large number of existing sexually transmitted diseases, their asymptomatic tendencies, and undetectability in some cases, we have too much going against us. All of these factors combined make our chances of contracting them too high which is why it is imperative to get tested and treated if needed. Being in a monogamous relationship does not eliminate the risk of contraction if you or your partner were not abstinent before being sexually active with each other.

In order to make std testing more of a norm, you should ask to get tested whenever you get your annual physical exam. Don’t be shy when describing your sexual history with your doctor; that way he or she can recommend you the tests that are most optimal for you.

We understand that std testing can be nerve racking, but Village Emergency Center in River Oaks has a team of board-certified physicians and well-trained staff who are ready to help you make decisions when it comes to your sexual health and STD testing.

Protect Yourself and Your Partner

Now that you have read these STD facts, you are informed and can make a decision regarding your sexual health. By taking the next step, you are protecting yourself and your partner from sexually transmitted infections. You can set up an appointment with us here or by contacting us.