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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are transmitted through sexual contact. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are around 20 million new sexually transmitted infections in the USA every year. Most of these are not harmful; however, some can result in serious health problems if they go undiagnosed. STDs are most common among individuals belonging to the 15 to 24 age group, and the spread of STDs is directly affected by social, economic, and behavioral factors.
While effective treatment is currently available for quite a few STDs and most non-curable STDs are manageable, the fact remains that getting an STD entails a process that is painful and difficult to handle. It would be immensely preferable to avoid getting into the ordeal in the first place.
Some of the ways to prevent STDs include:
First and foremost, always avoid sex with a person having a rash, genital sores, discharge, or any other symptoms of an STD. Additionally, only practice safe sex. Use latex condoms whenever you engage in sexual activity.
Remember that condoms are not 100% effective. However, they do reduce the risk of infection when worn properly. Additionally, use condoms for the entirety of intercourse. If you use a lubricant, ensure that it is water based, or it can lead to infections.
Unprotected sex is only safe if you and your partner are in a mutually monogamous relationship with each other. You must also remember to get yourself tested for STDs every six months.
HPV (Human papillomavirus) is one of the most common STDs that infect people. You can get an HPV vaccine to prevent the health problems associated with this virus (genital warts, some cancers, etc.). The CDC suggests a routine HPV vaccination for girls and boys that are between the ages of 11 and 12. Additional vaccinations are suggested for young adults between the ages of 13 to 26 (for women) and 12 to 21 (for men). Gay, bisexual, and men that have a compromised immune system should also get themselves vaccinated.
You must also get a vaccination for hepatitis B, as well as for HIV. Both hepatitis B and HIV are viral infections that tend to be non-curable, so make sure you get yourself vaccinated on a routine basis.
You can also take some additional precautions when engaging in sexual activity with a partner. These include washing both before and after intercourse, avoiding sharing undergarments or towels, and avoiding sex if you’re intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
There are several ways to prevent STDs such as practicing safe sex, getting vaccinated, and getting STD tests. Getting an STD can be a painful ordeal and it’s necessary that you take all the precautions that you can to avoid getting infected.
If you’re seeking further advice on STDs, we suggest you make an appointment with a physician at Health One Family Medicine. Visit https://www.healthonemedicine.com/ or call (469)262-5762.
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