“ONE IN TWO SEXUALLY ACTIVE PERSONS WILL CONTRACT A SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE (STD) OR INFECTION (STI) BY AGE 25” (BEFOREPLAY.ORG). DESPITE HOW COMMON STD’S ARE, CONVERSATION ABOUT THEM IS GENERALLY AVOIDED. THE MORE YOU KNOW ABOUT STDS, THE MORE LIKELY YOU ARE TO TAKE PREVENTATIVE MEASURES AND SEEK OUT TREATMENT IF YOU SUSPECT YOU MAY HAVE ONE. READ ON TO LEARN ABOUT “5 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT STDS,” WRITTEN BY NEXT LEVEL URGENT CARE PROVIDER, DR. KIMBERLY HSU.
1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases that occur each year in the United States. 50% of these occur in those 15-24 years old. The most common STDs are chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, hepatitis B, HIV, human papilloma virus (HPV), syphilis, and trichomoniasis. There are over 25 identified STDs.
2. STDs are treatable but not all can be cured. STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia or syphilis that are caused by bacteria can be cured with antibiotics. STDs such as herpes, HIV, hepatitis and HPV that are caused by a virus can be managed but NOT cured.
3. Some STDs are asymptomatic.Most people think they would know if they had a STD but this is not always true. The only sure way to know is to get tested. The CDC recommends annual screening for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in certain groups of people at high risk for these infections.
4. Untreated STDs can have serious health consequences. Women experience more frequent and serious health complications from STDs than men do. Often by the time a woman notices symptoms, the damage may be irreversible. Pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility are possible consequences of chlamydia and gonnorhea. HPV increases the risk of cervical cancer. Syphillis can cause heart damage. Hepatitis B can cause liver failure.
5. STD testing can be done through a blood draw, urine sample or a swab at your local urgent care center. For gonorrhea and chlamydia, a simple urine test can detect whether or not a patient has either. For the viral STDs mentioned above, testing can be done either by a swab if the patient is having symptoms or by a blood test if the patient is asymptomatic.