One in two sexually active persons will get a sexually transmitted disease by the age of 25, according to the American Social Health Association.
With at least 25 different types of STDs, all have one thing in common according to Avert.org - they can spread by sexual contact. Different types of STDs included Chlamydia, human papillomavirus, genital herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV.
According to Avert.org, “(STDs) are diseases that can be transmitted through body contact during sex. They are caused by viruses, bacteria and parasites.”
The areas generally affected by STDs include the genital and reproductive organs, but they can possibly affect the whole body. Individuals can contract STDs through semen, blood and other body areas of people who already have the disease.
According to FamilyDoctor.org, common symptoms of STDs include:
§ itching around the vagina and/or discharge from the vagina for women
§ discharge from the penis for men
§ pain during sex, when urinating and/or in the pelvic area
§ sore throats in people who have had oral sex
§ pain in the anus for people who have had anal sex
§ chancre sores on the genital area, anus, tongue or throat
§ a scaly rash on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet
§ dark urine, loose and light-colored stools and yellow eyes and skin
§ small blisters that turn into scabs on the genital area
§ swollen glands, fever and body aches
§ unusual infections, unexplained fatigue, night sweats and weight loss
§ soft, flesh-colored warts around the genital area
Severe cases of STDs might cause infertility if left untreated, according to Avert.org.
Those at risk include anyone who participates in sexual activities. However, those with multiple sex partners increase their risk for getting an STD.
According to a brochure written by Laurie Slothower, STDs also pass through kissing, intimate touching and sharing needles for drugs, steroids, vitamins, body piercing or tattoos.
FamilyDoctor.org states the cause of STD infections is due to a virus or bacteria. Examples of the virus form of STDs included hepatitis B, herpes, HIV and human papillomavirus. The bacteria form of STDs includes Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.
“Painful consequences associated with STDs included blindness, brain damage, cancer, heart disease or death,” according to an article in the “Brookhaven Courier” from Nov. 14, 2005.
According to ASHA, the state health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) require some STD diagnoses to be reported. They included gonorrhea, syphilis, Chlamydia and hepatitis A and B.
University of Arkansas – Monticello School of Nursing Associate Professor Christine Felts (RN, MS, WHNP) gave a presentation Nov. 20 on STDs. She recommended the use of condoms or barriers as one of the best ways to prevent STDs.
“Abstinence is the number one way to protect yourself from an STD infection,” Felts said.
A brochure from Chicot County Health Unit on prevention against STD infections suggested refraining from sex as the best preventative measure. However, the brochure also mentioned having only one sex partner, looking closely at your partner for any sign of discharge and using protection.
Director of UAM’s Student Health Services Terri Richardson said, “Any student who is concerned about possibly being infected with an STD should visit UAM Student Health Services for consultation and referrals.”
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ŠThe Voice 2006
Revised 01/13/2008 03:22:20 PM — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/4_12/stds.htm