When it comes to Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) most people think ‘it won’t happen to me,’ but the fact is that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) affect men and women of all backgrounds and economic levels. And nearly half of all STIs occur in young people 15 to 24 years old. Knock, knock. Hello. That’s you college students! So get tested! Have more questions about STIs after reading the following? Make an appointment with a Health Educator for more information. And remember to get tested and stay protected by using a condom.
STD Screening at Student Health
Sexually Transmitted Diseases are quite common among young people. It is estimated that 1 in 2 sexually active people under the age of 24 will contract an STD. Some STDs are curable, and all are treatable. There are many ways to reduce risk of STDs.
Abstinence – The most reliable way to prevent STDs is to avoid intercourse. This includes vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
Vaccination – Some STDs can be prevented by getting a vaccine. These include Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Hepatitis B. HPV vaccines for males and females can protect against some of the most common types of HPV. It is best to get all of the shots before becoming sexually active. However, HPV vaccines are recommended for all teen girls and women through age 26 and all teen boys and men through age 21 even if they have already been sexually active. You should also get vaccinated for hepatitis B if you were not vaccinated when you were younger.
Mutual Monogamy - Mutual monogamy means that you agree to be sexually active with only one person, who has agreed to be sexually active only with you. Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is one of the most reliable ways to avoid STDs. But you must both be certain you are not infected with STDs, so make sure you get tested before you engage in sexual activity. It is important to have an ongoing open and honest conversation with your partner regarding your relationship status and STD prevention.
Reducing Number of Sex Partners - Reducing your number of sex partners can decrease your risk for STDs. It is still important that you and your partner get tested, and that you share your test results with one another.
Use Condoms – Consistent and correct use of latex or polyurethane condoms for vaginal and anal sex can reduce risk of getting an STD. Both male and female condoms can protect from STDs if used consistently and correctly each and every time. Here’s a quick overview of how to use a male condom correctly and here’s one for the female condom(for a more detailed description of how to use a female condom, read more) For oral sex, male condoms or other latex barriers (dental dams) can be used to reduce risk of STDs. Remember, condoms are the only form of birth control that also protect against STDs. Condoms and other latex barriers are available at the SHCS Wellness Center.
Regular testing - Knowing your STD status is a critical step to stopping STD transmission. If you know you are infected you can take steps to protect yourself and your partners. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider to test you for STDs — asking is the only way to know whether you are receiving the right tests. And don’t forget to tell your partner to ask a healthcare provider about STD testing as well. Many STDs can be easily diagnosed and treated. If either you or your partner is infected, both of you need to receive treatment at the same time to avoid getting re-infected. Find a testing center near you.
Chlamydia is a common STD caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, which can damage a woman's reproductive organs. Even though symptoms of chlamydia are usually mild or absent, serious complications that cause irreversible damage, including infertility, can occur "silently" before a woman ever recognizes a problem. Chlamydia also can cause discharge from the penis of an infected man.
Genital Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2). Most genital herpes is caused by HSV-2. Most individuals have no or only minimal signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection. When signs do occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum. The blisters break, leaving tender ulcers (sores) that may take two to four weeks to heal the first time they occur. Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months after the first, but it almost always is less severe and shorter than the first outbreak. Although the infection can stay in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over a period of years.
Genital HPV Infection- human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). The virus infects the skin and mucous membranes. There are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas of men and women, including the skin of the penis, vulva (area outside the vagina), and anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, and rectum. You cannot see HPV. Most people who become infected with HPV do not even know they have it.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a bacterium that can grow and multiply easily in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix (opening to the womb), uterus (womb), and fallopian tubes (egg canals) in women, and in the urethra (urine canal) in women and men. The bacterium can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes, and anus.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a general term that refers to infection of the uterus (womb), fallopian tubes (tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus) and other reproductive organs. It is a common and serious complication of some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), especially chlamydia and gonorrhea. PID can damage the fallopian tubes and tissues in and near the uterus and ovaries. PID can lead to serious consequences including infertility, ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy in the fallopian tube or elsewhere outside of the womb), abscess formation, and chronic pelvic pain.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It has often been called “the great imitator” because so many of the signs and symptoms are indistinguishable from those of other diseases.
Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that affects both women and men, although symptoms are more common in women.