No matter how far sexual safety has come, STDs are still the number one concern for those who are sexually active. Information abounds and means of prevention are readily available in Western countries, but no method guaranties absolute safety and STDs, from the purely annoying ones to the truly serious, remain a serious problem. Today we look at the most common of these diseases.
1. HPV — HPV is by far the most common of STls. It is in fact so common that authorities presume every single person who has ever been sexually active has caught it at least once. The thing about HPV is that it is transmitted through every kind of sexual activity or intimate touching. More than that, you don’t even need to have sex at all to contract the infection, in some cases.
HPV can be carried and transmitted by both men and women, so it is advisable to use protection when having sex. In most cases, the immune system can fight HPV on its own. It hardly ever becomes threatening, but some strains can cause warts and even cancer.
A specific HPV test is available for women, but not men.
2. Chlamydia — Chlamydia affects an alarming portion of young adults, and it may or may not cause visible symptoms. The infection is easily curable with antibiotics, but it can become quite serious if left untreated, as it can cause infertility for both men and women and put pregnancies at risk for women as well.
There is a test for chlamydia, which women are usually advised to take annually, but the only way to prevent the disease is to have sex with partners that have tested negative for the disease.
3. Herpes — Genital herpes is a very common (one out of six people have it) and commonly misunderstood sexually transmitted infection. In fact, while the disease is easily recognizable because of the sores that are usually associated with it, symptoms may not always present themselves that clearly.
Herpes sores can appear in 12 days after the person has been infected, and they usually form clusters around the genitals, rectum or mouth. The sores will stick around for up to four weeks, and they are extremely contagious during that period.
While it may seem harmless, herpes is in fact incurable, and outbreaks will keep coming back once the person is infected. Aside from its own symptoms and outbreaks, herpes can also have other long-term effects on a person’s overall health, increasing the risk of eye infections and even affecting the spinal cord and brain.