April is Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Month
April is STD Awareness month. Some STDs include bacterial vaginosis (BV), chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV and AIDS, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), syphilis and trichomoniasis. While some STDs may be common, curable and not extremely harmful, others can be terminal, life threatening and debilitating. Some STDs may effect certain groups of individuals more than others, such as gay men or pregnant woman. Some individuals who have a STD do not present with symptoms, so it is important to be tested for STDs if you are sexually actively, especially with more than one partner. It is important to be aware of different types of STDs, their symptoms, treatment and prevention in order to look out for the health of you and your partner.
Sexually transmitted diseases range in severity, the ability to be cured and long term affects. Many STDs are curable. Bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, pelvic inflammatory disease, syphilis and trichomoniasis are all curable. Many STDs can be treated with antibiotics. Bacterial vaginosis and chlamydia can occur more than once even after they have been treated. Genital herpes is a STD that is not curable, but can be managed. There is a vaccine to prevent against the contraction of human papillomavirus.
Because there are short term and long term effects from being infected with a STD, it is important that both men and woman be tested for STDs. This is especially important for those individuals and/or couples that are sexually active . Many STDs that infect woman can cause infertility or difficulty getting pregnant. If a woman who has a STD does get pregnant, the STD could be passed to the baby or cause low birth weight or early delivery. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, syphilis and other STDs can be passed to a baby during pregnancy and/or birth. Bacterial vaginosis and pelvic inflammatory disease can make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant. Genital herpes can increase a woman's chance of having a miscarriage.
It is important to be tested so that if you are positive your STD can be treated or you can be educated on how to manage a STD that is not treatable. If a STD goes untreated, it can lead to the development of other diseases, like pelvic inflammatory disease or make it easier to contract another STD or HIV. Untreated HPV can lead to different types of cancers that effect reproductive organs.
It is possible to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. The most reliable way to prevent the contraction of STDs is to be abstinent, or not have sex. Other, less certain ways, to prevent developing a STD is to be vaccinated, reduce your number of sex partners, have mutual monogamy in a relationship and the use of condoms. There are vaccinations for hepatitis B and HPV. While reducing your number of sex partners can aid in preventing the transmission of STDs it is important for you and your partner to be tested and share test results. Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is one of the most reliable ways to avoid STDs. Being in a mutually monogamous relationship means that you are sexually active with only one person and that person is only sexually active with you. Correct and consistent use of condoms can also be effective in reducing STD transmission.