You may be wondering about STDs / STIs..
How can you get them? What are the symptoms? Which ones are curable? Which ones are incurable?
The following list will answer some of your questions. Just keep in mind, no matter what your situation is, you are definitely not alone! Many times, it just helps to talk to someone you trust. At PASS, if you need to talk, we are here. Conversations are kept confidential and are always approached with sensitivity and compassion. Call us. Anytime.
1) The terms "sexually transmitted disease" (STD) and "sexually transmitted infection" (STI) can be used interchangebly. In other words, they describe the same thing. We'll just use "STD" here to be consistent.1
2) STDs/STIs can be contracted through ANY kind of sexual contact. Sexual contact can be described as any type of behavior that involves touching private body parts or exchanging bodily fluids. These behaviors include, but are not limited to: intercourse, outercourse, oral sex, anal sex, and mutual masterbation.2
3) Some of the most common curable STDs are Trichomoniasis, Chlamydia, Gonnorhea, and Syphilis. Some of the most common incurable STDs are Herpes, Hepatitis (most likely, types B & C), HPV, and HIV/AIDS. (Remember, even if an STD is curable, it may still do irreversible damage to the body.)3
4) Some of the most common STD symptoms include: sores, bumps, blisters, pain or burning during urination, swelling, redness, or rashes in the infected area, unusual discharge or drip, unusual bleeding, pain or cramping, flu-like feelings, fevers, chills, and aches. (But, these symptoms can be caused by other illnesses too - talk to your doctor about your questions.)4
5) Some STDs have NO SYMPTOMS. People who have STDs with no symptoms are still able to pass them on to other people.5
6) Condoms typically prevent pregnancy 85% - 98% of the time. The effectiveness rate of condoms against STDs varies with each STD. Condoms reduce the risk of STD transmission - they do not eliminate the risk.6
7) Some STDs can be contracted through skin-to-skin contact. If the STD-infected area of one person touches an opening on someone else's body, bodily fluids are likely exchanged, which puts the uninfected person at risk.7
8) If you are sexually active with a person who has had one or more sexual partners, you are at greater risk of contracting an STD. (Remember, sexual activity includes more than just intercourse.)8
9) If you are or have been sexually active, it is STRONGLY recommended and a healthy decision for you to get tested for every STD...not just the common ones. For a listing of testing sites near you, check out http://hivtest.cdc.gov/.9
10) The only way to avoid STDs and unplanned pregnancy is by NOT being sexually active.10 If you want to remain or recommit to abstinence, take a look at the following plan:
- Stay in control of yourself and the situations you put yourself in.
- "No" means "No". Make sure your words and actions are the same.
- Set boundaries and expectations. If you are in a relationship, have a conversation early on about mutual expectations about your purpose for the relationship, how you will act, and how you will treat other. Then, set physical boundaries - make sure you are not putting yourself in tempting situations that you or your dating partner may regret later.
- Plan your dates. Get to know each other in various settings. Get to know each other's family and friends. That way, you will learn more about each other.
- Find supportive friends. Many times, we do the same activities that our friends do, which is completely natural. So, surround yourself with people who share your same values and goals in life. People really influence our decisions. Decisions can affect our futures. This is YOUR life. No one can live it but you.
- Write down your decision. Sometimes, it helps to write down the goals you have. This will likely keep you on a healthy track, if you work on your goals every day. Most goals are not easy when you first make them, but it just takes practice. If you make an unhealthy decision, start over. And...PASS will be here for you along the way.
Abstinence until marriage may sound impossible to you, but remember that this is YOUR life.
No one can make your decisions but you.
Call PASS to make an appointment to confidentially talk to someone who cares, if you have questions about STDs, pregnancy, or relationships.
References: Coming Soon!
|This pregnancy center offers many services to women and men facing unplanned pregnancies including free pregnancy tests, non-medical pregnancy consultations, and education about abortion. This center does not offer abortions or abortion referrals.|
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