5 Ways You Can Safeguard Yourself Against STDs

As of 2019, cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have reached 2.5 million. And data from 2020 indicates the numbers are only getting higher. Worse, the highest increase in syphilis cases, which quadrupled in 2015-2019, were newborns from women who had the disease when they were pregnant. Additionally, teens and young adults ages 15-24 make up 62% of cases of chlamydia and 42% of gonorrhea cases in 2019. This makes it a very important time to discuss STDs, the effect they can have on you, and what you can do to prevent getting them.

Women in the Las Vegas, Nevada area dealing with and STD need someplace to be treated with empathy by a medical team with experience and comprehensive care. Dr. Staci McHale and New Beginnings OB-GYN offer years of expertise to help with a variety of gynecological needs including contraception and STD care.

Common STDs

Most STDs are transmitted through an exchange of bodily fluids by either oral or genital contact, but you can get STDs from other methods, including sharing needles, blood transfusions with someone infected, or even by being born from someone infected while pregnant. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are the most common STDs, but there are others you are at high risk of getting as well, including human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and trichomoniasis. Many people pass on these infections without even realizing they have them, as you can have one and show no symptoms.

The effects of untreated STDs

If you have an STD and you don’t get treatment, you can find yourself experiencing far worse conditions, including infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), pelvic pain, heart disease, and cervical and rectal cancer. Syphilis in its late stages can cause mental illness, loss of vision, hearing, and memory. Conditions like gonorrhea and syphilis can be passed down to your child if you are pregnant and cause blindness, eye infections, and death. Getting tested and treated for STDs is important not just for yourself, but anyone you decide to have sex with.

Five ways to avoid and prevent STDs

When it comes to STD prevention there are many things you can do to avoid infection. Let’s examine five basic methods:

Abstinence

The easiest way to avoid getting infected is to abstain or avoid sex altogether. It doesn’t mean abstaining forever, but not having sex long enough to get tested and treated is a smart way to make sure you’re not infected and don’t infect others.

Vaccination

While not available for every STD, vaccinations are available for anyone ages 11-26 for HPV and hepatitis B. Vaccines are available for people up to 45 if you are still considered to be at high risk.

Protection

Protection during any sexual act is vital to prevent and avoid infection. Latex condoms used consistently are effective for oral, vaginal, and anal sex, while dental dams prevent infection orally from most STDs. 

Communication

Whether you have one or multiple partners, staying open and honest about whether or not you have an STD is important to protect yourself and others. If you have a new partner, make sure you know whether or not they’re infected, and use protection.

STD tests

STD screenings (blood, urine, and fluid tests) are essential if you’re sexually active. Everyone ages 13-64 should be tested for HIV, people having sex with a new partner should be tested, and pregnant women should get tested to prevent passing the infection on to their offspring.

Your sexual health is important, and doing everything you can to protect yourself will also protect anyone you have sex with. If you think you have an STD, make an appointment with Dr. McHale and New Beginnings OB-GYN today to get treatment.

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