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April is STD Awareness Month Click Here For More Details

   

Avoiding Hazardous Conditions: STDs

Abstinence, or not having oral, vaginal or anal sex, is the best way to protect yourself from Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

It is possible to get an STD even without having intercourse (i.e. if an infected penis comes into contact with the vagina, mouth or anus) through skin-to-skin contact.

If you have sex, choose only one partner who you know well and trust. Someone who only has sex with you. This is called "mutual monogamy." Limiting your number of sexual partners helps reduce your risk of getting an STD.

But remember, just because you and your partner may be monogamous with each other, the risk of getting an STD is increased by the number of previous sexual partners either partner has had.

The Condom Connection

If you choose to have sex, use latex condoms correctly for any type of sex (vaginal, oral or anal) from start to finish.

Latex condoms may protect the penis, vagina, mouth or anus from some STDs, but they will not protect against genital warts (HPV) or other lesions such as herpes, when they are present on the base of the penis or the scrotum (on the male), or on the woman's vulva.

Sometimes infection can spread to or from areas like the scrotum or anal area. STDs like herpes and genital warts are spread through skin-to-skin contact

A female polyurethane condom is available and may protect these areas better, but it is NOT to be used with a male condom.

Always use water-based lubricants (like K-Y jelly, Astroglide or glycerin) with latex condoms. Oil lubricants, like petroleum jelly, baby oil or cooking oil, can cause latex condoms to break.

How do I know if I have an STD?

 

Most people who have an STD have no symptoms. A test from your doctor or local health clinic may be the only way to tell for sure if you're infected.

 

If you do become infected, symptoms may appear right away. Or, they may not show up for weeks or months or even years. They may come and go. Even if the signs and symptoms go away, you can still infect other people if you have sex with them. Or, they can still infect you!

 

STD Symptoms for Women
It's hard to describe STD symptoms. They can have similar symptoms as other diseases that have nothing to do with sex. But if you think you may have been at risk for an STD, some symptoms you may have are:

  • Sores, bumps or blisters near your genitals, anus or mouth
  • Burning or pain when you urinate (pee)
  • Itching, bad smell or unusual discharge from your vagina or anus
  • Bellyache (pain in your lower abdomen)
  • Bleeding from your vagina between your menstrual periods

            Remember: Sometimes symptoms don't show up for weeks or months or years.

 

STD Symptoms for Men
It's hard to describe STD symptoms. They can have similar symptoms as other diseases that have nothing to do with sex. But if you think you may have been at risk for an STD, some symptoms you may have are:

  • Sores, bumps or blisters near your genitals, anus or mouth
  • Burning or pain when you urinate (pee)
  • Drip or discharge from your penis
  • Itching, pain or discharge from your anus

            Remember: Sometimes symptoms don't show up for weeks or months.

 

Get Tested! Who me?

If you have had unprotected sex, you may have an STD and not know it.

If your partner has had unprotected sex, your partner may have an STD and not know it.

If you think you have an STD, there is something you can do about it. The only way to know for sure is to be tested.

STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are curable. While not curable, diseases like HIV, HPV, herpes and hepatitis B are treatable.

If left untreated, STDs can lead to long-term consequences, like infertility, long-term pain or cancer.

    

       I think I might have something, now what?

 

Talk to your mom or dad, or another adult you trust.

Ask the school nurse about getting help.

Call your family doctor.

Call 1-877-PAHEALTH or click this link http://www.health.state.pa.us.

 

If you call and ask about testing, they cannot diagnose you over the phone. You will need to go to your doctor or a clinic and get tested to know for sure if you have an STD.

 

Treatment


Different types of treatments are given for each STD. For some, treatment involves taking pills or getting a shot to kill the organism that caused the STD. Some STDs are viruses and cannot be cured, but treatment can ease the symptoms and stop more damage to your body. Treatments for viruses include pills, topical creams, freezing or burning of the infected area, or surgery.

 

Treatment Tips

Take ALL the medicine you are given, even if you start to feel better before the medicine runs out.

Talk to your health care provider (doctor or nurse) about when you can safely have sex again. Remember, you don't want to infect your partner because he or she could give the disease back to you.

Never take anyone else's medicine or give yours to someone else. Never split prescription medicines with someone.

Go back to the clinic for more tests if you are asked to do this.

Tell the people you've had sex with that you've learned you have an STD and they need to be tested.

     

   More related STD information for Young Adults: 

http://www.iwannaknow.org

A web site featuring answers to teens’ questions about sexual health and  STDs. Produced by the American Social Health Association.

http://www.sexetc.org

A web site for teens and by teens. Read about other teens’ stories related to STDs, pregnancy, relationships, birth control, and more. Sponsored by Rutgers University .

http://www.itsyoursexlife.org

A web site with news features, videos, and other resources on a variety of sexual health topics. Produced by MTV and sponsored by the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation

Sexually Transmitted Disease Program