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STD 101 PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 23 January 2009 03:12
Common STDs and the Organisms That Cause Them


Many people are aware of the most prominent STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease)—HIV. However, many other STDs affect millions of men and women each year. Many of these STDs initially cause no symptoms, especially in women. Symptoms, when they do develop, may be confused with those of other diseases that are not transmitted through sexual contact. STDs can still be transmitted person to person even if they do not show symptoms. Also, health problems caused by STDs tend to be more severe for women than for men.  STDs can occur through having vaginal or anal intercourse, oral sex and kissing.


Who is Being Infected?

In the United States alone, an estimated 19 million new cases of STDs are reported each year.19 This table shows the incidence and prevalence of some of the most common STDs.

STD    Incidence *    Prevalence **
Chlamydia    2,800,00020     ***
Gonorrhea    700,00021     ***
Syphilis    32,00022 (reported)     ***
Herpes (HSV)    1,000,00023     45,000,00024
Hepatitis B (HBV)    60,00025    1,250,00026
Genital Warts / Human Papillomavirus (HPV)    6,200,00027    20,000,00028
Trichomoniasis    7,400,00029     ***
* Estimated number of new cases each year
** Estimated number of people currently infected
*** No recent surveys on national prevalence for gonorrhea, syphilis, or trichomoniasis have been conducted.

Variations in Risk

STDs affect men and women of all backgrounds and economic levels. However, STDs disproportionately affect women, infants of infected mothers, adolescents and young adults, and communities of color. Although 15-24-year-olds represent only one-quarter of the sexually active population, they account for nearly half of all new STDs each year.

Some contributing factors in the rise of STDs, particularly among young people, are that teenagers are increasingly likely to have more sex partners at earlier ages, and sexually active teenagers often are reluctant to obtain STD services, or they may face serious obstacles when trying to obtain them. In addition, health care providers often are uncomfortable discussing sexuality and risk reduction with their patients, thus missing opportunities to counsel and screen young people for STDs.



What Are Some Health Risks of STD Infection?


STDs can result in irreparable lifetime damage, including blindness, bone deformities, mental retardation, and death for infants infected by their mothers during gestation or birth.

In women, STDs can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, potentially fatal ectopic pregnancies, and cancer of the reproductive tract.

What Is Being Done?


Prevention—both biomedical and behavioral—is the best hope for reducing or eliminating STDs.

As the lead agency for STD prevention in the United States, CDC is tasked with providing national leadership through research, policy development, and support of effective services to prevent STDs (including HIV infection) and their complications, such as enhanced HIV transmission, infertility, adverse outcomes of pregnancy, and reproductive tract cancer. The Division of STD Prevention, part of CDC's National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, coordinates CDC's STD prevention efforts.


Preventing STD Infection

The most reliable ways to avoid becoming infected with or transmitting STDs are:
Abstain from sexual intercourse (i.e., oral, vaginal, or anal sex)
Be in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner
Latex male condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of chlamydia 1, gonorrhea 2, and trichomoniasis.


Reducing Your Risk of STD Infection

All partners should get tested for HIV and other STDs before initiating sexual intercourse. However, if you decide to be sexually active with a partner whose infection status is unknown or who is infected with HIV or another STD, you can reduce your risk of contracting an STD:
Ask a new sex partner if he or she has an STD, has been exposed to one, or has any unexplained physical symptoms.

Do not have unprotected sex if your partner has signs or symptoms of STDs, such as sores, rashes, or discharge from the genital area. Many common STDs have no symptoms but can still be transmitted to a sexual partner. If your partner has had sexual relations with some
one else recently, he or she may have an STD, even if there are no symptoms.

Use a new condom for each act of insertive intercourse.  Use of latex condoms and other barriers can reduce the risk of transmission only when the infected area or site of potential exposure is protected.

Get regular checkups for STDs (even if you show no symptoms), and be familiar with the common symptoms. Most STDs are readily treated, and the earlier treatment is sought and sex partners are notified, the less likely the disease will do irreparable damage.

Prevention and the CDC

The Division of STD Prevention, part of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, coordinates CDC's STD prevention efforts. These efforts include providing national leadership through research, policy development, and support of effective services to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV infection) and their complications, such as enhanced HIV transmission, infertility, adverse outcomes of pregnancy, and reproductive tract cancer.

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 March 2010 06:04
 
 
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