Maintaining your sexual health
Though it may not seem appealing or romantic when the moment comes, taking the proper precautions to stay safe before engaging in sexual activity is a very important step. Unprotected sex not only means risking the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy, but also puts both the man and the woman at risk of being exposed to and contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
Symptoms of common STD’s
Many of the most common STD’s reported can be cured with a large dose of penicillin or another antibiotic, but detecting the symptoms early is the key to preventing these disease from turning into chronic illnesses and doing real and lasting damage to the body. Unfortunately, many STD’s have very few symptoms and some have none to speak of.
Over three million people in the United States are diagnosed with Chlamydia ever year. This STD is the one most often reported by clinics and doctors, though it frequently manifests only minor symptoms similar to a urinary-tract infection. Chlamydia may do irreparable damage to the female and male reproductive systems if left untreated
The human papilloma virus (hpv) manifests very few symptoms; women are most often diagnosed through the Papanicolaou or Pap smear test, which is generally part of a yearly gynecological exam, but there is no test yet for men. Hpv infections often resolve themselves over time, but some strains have been linked to certain strains of cancer of the cervix. Hpv is also the cause of genital warts. Vaccines protect young girls and boys from the more dangerous cancer-causing strains of hpv that they may be exposed to.
Another very common STD is a strain of the herpes virus family that causes genital herpes. Genital herpes is a chronic illness with no cure. Painful, itchy sores will appear periodically and may be treated with prescription medications of topical creams and ointments. Safe sex must be practiced at all times to ensure that that virus is not spread to others.
The first and most important step in preventing the spread of STDs is using condoms every time. Condoms, especially the male condom, act as a highly effective barrier to sexually transmitted viruses when they are used correctly. While some STD’s, including hpv, have the potential to be transmitted even if condoms are consistently and properly used, the barrier is a successful way to stay safe.
STD testing options
Anyone who has had recent exposure to an STD or other sexually transmitted infection should look into the options for STD testing Dallas or that other major cities have to offer and get tested immediately. Large cities and most smaller cities, have numerous options for getting tested, including public health services, free clinics, doctors’ offices and testing centers. Testing facilities are confidential and discreet, though confirmation of an STD requires reporting of the infection to the State Board of Health, as well as notification of current and former partners so that they can be tested.
Many of these same centers offer prescription services, counseling, and other services to help an individual cope with having an STD or other sexually transmitted disease.