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STD 101: Information for Every Woman

Author: Andrew Adamson, D.O.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are 20 million new sexually transmitted infections in the U.S. each year (with a total 110 million infections). Half of these infections occur in people under the age of 24, with HPV (human papillomavirus) being the most common sexually transmitted infection.

All sexually active women should know at least the basics about sexually transmitted disease. Ask your women’s health care provider if you have questions.

Who’s At-Risk for STDs?

Anyone who is sexually active is at some risk for sexually transmitted disease. Risk factors include:

  • Unprotected sex
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Having a history of STIs
  • Substance abuse
  • Needle sharing
  • Victims of forced sexual intercourse
  • Being an adolescent female

How Can I Do In Preventing STDs?

Abstinence is the only effective method for preventing STDs. People in long-term monogamous relationships are also at a lower risk for sexually transmitted disease. The use of a latex condom can lower risk for some – but not all – STIs.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have an STD?

Symptoms of sexually transmitted disease may include:

  • Pain during sex
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Sores or bumps in the genital, oral, or rectal areas
  • Sore or swollen lymph nodes (groin or elsewhere)
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Rash

If you experience any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your women’s health care provider.

Common STIs

Some of the more common sexually transmitted infections in the U.S. include:

  • Bacterial Vaginosis
  • Chlamydia
  • Genital Herpes
  • Gonorrhea
  • HPV Infection
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) and Oropharyngeal Cancer
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis

These infections generally fall into three categories: bacterial, parasitic and viral. Some sexually transmitted infections, such as bacterial STIs, can be cured (typically with antibiotics). Viral STIs, however, are not curable. These include herpes, genital warts, and HIV.

Schedule An Appointment With a Women’s Health Care Provider

To schedule an appointment with a Valley-area women’s health care provider, contact Arizona Associates for Women’s Health.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.

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