Most people don’t want to think about sexually transmitted diseases, let alone talk about them. But believe it or not, they are more common than you may know. The American Social Health Association reports that by the age of 25, half of all sexually active adults will catch an STD.
Protect Yourself. Using a condom every time you have sex, even for oral sex, will greatly reduce your chances of catching an STD, but condoms are not foolproof. The only way to completely protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases is abstinence. Since we all know that abstinence is not practical for everyone, it is important to talk to your partner about your concerns and to be honest.
Chlamydia. In the U. S. the most common STD is chlamydia, which like other STDs, often has no symptoms making it easy to unknowingly pass to your partner. Worse, letting an STD go untreated can have serious consequences, such as permanent tissue damage, infertility or in rare cases, death. But the good news is that chlamydia and many other STDs are easy to identify and treat with a thorough clinical exam.
Sex Education. When I was growing up, people didn’t worry so much about STDs, but times have definitely changed. We were taught a little about herpes, syphilis and gonorrhea in health class. The lessons were presented in such a casual way that no one took them seriously. In fact, the teachers made these conditions sound easily treatable as they rushed through this part of the curriculum. The students who were sexually active expressed using condoms to prevent pregnancy; they weren’t concerned about catching diseases.
Get Tested. These days STD’s are a fact of life and can definitely become life-threatening. They are easy to catch, so everyone needs to be careful. If you or a loved one suspect that you have been exposed to an STD talk to your doctor. When it comes to STDs, don’t take risks. Be proactive and get tested. Learning the facts is the first step to protecting your health.