STDs Are On The Rise: Protect Yourself
STDs Are Reported At All-Time Highs
After the AIDS epidemic, and as the result of more public information and access about preventing STDs (i.e. use condoms and get screened regularly) reports of STDs have been on a consistently downward trend.
Unfortunately, this celebrated downward trend is reversing. According to the CDC, more than 2 million new cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and/or chlamydia were reported in 2016. This is the highest number of STDs ever reported and it is of great concern to those of us in the healthcare profession.
In addition to decreased funding for education and access to condoms, this new rise in STDs tells us that people are becoming lax in both taking proper precautions and using condoms with non-monogamous sexual partners. It also tells us that the public is growing lax in getting screened/treated for STDs, which means they unknowingly pass them on.
Get Screened For STDs at Your Annual Well-Woman Exam
There are numerous reasons why annual well-woman exams are so important. If you’re a sexually active young woman, STD screening is one of the biggies. If you are sexually active, get screened for the most common STDs every year to be on the safe side. This includes if you’re in a monogamous relationship.
Many STDs can be asymptomatic – you won’t have any dramatic symptoms – and that means you and/or a monogamous partner could be carriers without knowing it. By getting screened together, you ensure there isn’t anything that needs to be cleared up or that could cause bigger issues down the road.
The wonderful news is that, when treated early, the large majority of STDs disappear with run-of-the-mill antibiotics. Left too long, they can cause more challenging health issues such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and even infertility. STDs can also harm your unborn baby.
Use Condoms with Non-Monogamous Partners and New Relationships
Condoms are the only way to prevent spreading STDs. This includes condoms worn by males, as well as dental dams (female condoms) used for women. Consistent use of condoms is the only way to prevent STDs from spreading.
Unless both you and your partner are routinely screened – and cleared – from having an STD, we recommend using condoms in new, monogamous sexual relationships to be on the safe side. Once you’ve both been cleared, you can begin to explore other birth control options.
Know the Symptoms of Common STDS
For the most part, STDs present in similar ways – if they cause symptoms at all. Unfortunately, some of these symptoms are more vague than others so we’d much rather you schedule an appointment to be on the safe side than ignore them and learn you have an STD when it’s progressed further.
Some of the most common STD symptoms include:
- Pelvic pain/discomfort
- Painful urination
- Pain or discomfort during sex
- Itchy and/or painful bumps
- Low-grade fever or flu-like symptoms
- Smelly or discolored discharge
Please contact Women’s Health Associates and schedule a consultation if you recognize any of these symptoms as yours. The more we do to spread the word and use safe sex practices, the faster we’ll get those STD statistics back into the lower numbers again.