What  is an STD?

A sexually transmitted disease (STD), also known as a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is a disease or infection that can be passed from one person to another via various methods including sexual intercourse, anal sex, oral sex, IV needles, blood transfusion, and mother-to-baby transmission.1

Viral STDs are usually treatable but not curable; bacterial STDs are treatable and curable.

Some statistics about STDs:2

Approximately 19 million people are infected with an STD annually but only half know it

Of those newly diagnosed with an STD, one in four (25%) is a teenager

Nearly 75 percent of women infected with Chlamydia don’t know they have it

One in four Americans has an STD. Almost half of all STDs occur in 15-24 year olds

Having an STD increases the risk of getting HIV because the same behaviors and situations that put you at risk for an STD are the same behaviors and situations that put you at risk for HIV. Also, an STD may cause a sore or break in the skin which then allows HIV to more easily enter your body. 3

According to the CDC, individuals who have syphilis, gonorrhea, and herpes are more likely to also have HIV, or more likely to contract HIV in the future. 3

Some facts regarding STDs:

  • STDs are either bacterial (e.g. chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, vaginitis), or viral (e.g. HIV, HPV, herpes, hepatitis) 5
  • Half of sexually active young people will get an STD by age 25
  • Most people with an STD don’t know they even have it
  • STDs are very common – each year there are over 19 million new cases diagnosed in the US.
  • Left untreated, STDs may cause infertility and even cancer. 6
  • HPV is the most common STD (over 50% of those who are sexually active will get this infection) and no method fully protects against its transmission
  • All STDs are treatable, however not all are curable.
  • There is no single contraceptive method that will protect 100% from STDs.7

 

Reducing your risk of contracting an STD is essential to your health!

The best way to prevent getting an STD is to practice abstinence.

“A reliable way to avoid transmission of STDs is to abstain from oral, vaginal, and anal sex or to be in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner. For persons who are being treated for an STD (or whose partners are undergoing treatment), counseling that encourages abstinence from sexual intercourse until completion of the entire course of medication is crucial. For persons embarking on a mutually monogamous relationship, screening for common STDs before initiating sex might reduce the risk for future disease transmission.”8

~ Statement released by the Center for Disease Control.

References

  1. What is an STD. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://whatisstd.net/
  2. STD Symptoms Guide. (n.d.). STD Facts & Statisitics. Retrieved from http://www.stdsymptomsguide.com/std-facts-statisitics
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014, December 16). STD Facts – HIV/AIDS & STDs. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/std/hiv/STDFact-STD-HIV.htm
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014, December 16). STD Facts – HIV/AIDS & STDs. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/std/hiv/STDFact-STD-HIV.htm
  5. Go Ask Alice!. (1999, November 19). Is there a difference between bacterial and viral STIs? | Go Ask Alice!. Retrieved from http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/there-difference-between-bacterial-and-viral-stis
  6. Contracept. (n.d.). STD Prevention and Birth Control. Retrieved from http://www.contracept.org/stds.php
  7. STD Facts: Shocking Statistics You May Not Know About STDs. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/std-facts_n_1282151.html
  8. Center for Disease Control. (2010). Sexually Transmitted Diseases (RR-12). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/STD-Treatment-2010-RR5912.pdf