Almost 20 million Americans contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) each year. That statistic may or may not surprise you, but those who are afflicted with an STD – both men and women – could face dire consequences if they allow the embarrassment and stigma attached to these diseases to prevent them from seeking immediate medical help.
The most common STDs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, chancroid, herpes, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis B and C. Some of these diseases respond quickly and effectively to prescription medication, while others require more intense treatment to manage, if not cure, their condition.
What Can STDs Cause?
There is no overstating the importance of being tested and treated for STDs, because they can be easily passed from one person to another. If left untreated, an STD can lead to serious – possibly devastating – long-term complications, which can include:
- Male and female sterility
- Bone deformities
- Damage to major organs (heart, kidney, brain, etc.)
- Cervical cancer
- Cancer of the vagina, penis, anus, or throat
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can damage a woman’s fallopian tubes, leading to pelvic pain and sterility
- Tubal pregnancy (where the fetus grows in the fallopian tube instead of the womb)
- Pain during urination or intercourse
- Blisters, sores, warts, rashes, or swelling in the genital, anal, or mouth areas
- Discharge from the penis, vagina, or rectum
- Persistent flu-like symptoms
- Birth defects, including mental retardation of a baby
Some STDs do not go away despite treatment. This means that you may have to share this information with any prospective sexual partners.
Preventing Sexually Transmitted Diseases
You can avoid contracting an STD by following some simple measures. First of all, avoid sex or any type of sexual relations with anyone who has genital sores, a rash, a discharge, or other symptoms. Here are some other tips:
- Whenever you have sex, use latex condoms and, if you use a lubricant, be sure it is water-based.
- Wash yourself before and after intercourse.
- Avoid sharing towels and underclothing.
- If you have a drinking or substance abuse problem, seek help, since you are more likely to have spontaneous, unprotected sex.
- Get vaccinated for hepatitis B and tested for HIV.
Keep in mind that early and rapid diagnosis of an STD increases your chance of limiting the effects of the disease. Some STDs can actually be cured. Since most STDs do not produce immediate symptoms, it is a good idea to schedule regular examinations with your doctor.
Who Can I See About My STD?
Our team at FamilyCare of Kent provides confidential STD testing and treatment. Our board-certified nurse practitioners are experienced in identifying and curing most STDs, and we can answer any questions you may have about your condition and about effective therapy.
Our practice has the utmost respect for your privacy, especially when it comes to your health information. Rest assured that your STD results will remain completely confidential, shared only by you and your health care provider.
To learn more about our specific testing, prevention, and treatment options for STDs, or to schedule a prompt and private consultation with one of our nurse practitioners, use our online appointment request form or call us at (253) 859-2273 (CARE) today. We look forward to seeing you.