Fortunately, awareness of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), which are also referred to as STIs (sexually transmitted infections) is growing. So it's safe to assume that most people know that condom usage during sex can help prevent contracting an STD. However, that doesn't mean that everyone is using condoms. Particularly among young people, STDs are still spreading. In fact, these diseases are now also affecting greater numbers of people aged 50 and over.
Women And STDS
Some STDs can be cleared up with a simple course of antibiotics, but this is not true for all of them. For both women and men, prevention of STDs is better than cure, but women in particular should be aware that certain STDs can cause female infertility. Others can even kill you.
Chlamydia And Gonorrhea
Both of these nasties may cause only mild symptoms in women, or may even be asymptomatic. The result is that many women who contract these STDs are unaware that they are affected. They may spread the disease to other sexual partners, or they may not seek treatment, allowing the diseases to worsen, potentially causing infertility or problems during pregnancy. Babies born to mothers with gonorrhea are at risk unless they receive treatment at birth.
It's clear that these are two STDs which you cannot afford to ignore - read our section on these so you can become aware. The more information about preventing and treating gonorrhea and Chlamydia that you have, the better protected you will be.
HPV And Herpes
HPV (human papillomavirus) is one the most common sexually transmitted diseases. In some women, but not all, it leads to the development of precancerous cells in the cervix. Again, this can be an asymptomatic condition. Women often don't they know have it until a PAP smear test detects the presence of precancerous cells. HPV can be prevented by using condoms, and managed by having regular PAP smear tests. The HPV vaccine for girls may help to reduce cervical cancer rates in the future.
Genital herpes is another reasonably well known STD. Once you've contracted it, you will probably have it for life, although it flares up only every now and then - so you will not always be affected. Herpes is uncomfortable, unsightly, and can be potentially off-putting to future sexual partners. Read more in this section to learn about herpes prevention and how to avoid spreading the condition to others.
HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus) is probably the most feared STD. There is no definitive cure, and it is potentially fatal. Symptoms can be controlled, however, allowing HIV patients to leave full lives for many years. HIV kills when it develops into acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Condom usage is essential for HIV prevention.
Other STDS And Information
The above list of STDs is by no means exhaustive. There are many others, some of which you probably haven't even heard of. In this section, we provide more information about some of the less infamous STDs, as well as advice on how to avoid them, and how to treat them.