The bottom line is, yes. All STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) are passed from one person to another, most often, through sexual contact. You can contract an STD by having unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has an STD.
Sometimes, herpes can be transmitted by kissing, if herpes blisters are in the mouth or around the lips. Hepatitis B, syphilis, and HIV (the AIDS virus) can be spread by sharing needles or other objects contaminated by blood.
Who Gets An STD?
Anyone who is sexually active can get an STD. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that half of the new 20 million STDs reported each year are among young people between the ages of 15 and 24, noting that young women’s bodies are biologically more susceptible to STDs.
The CDC also says, Nearly 46% of sexually active high school students did not use a condom the last time they had sex. Among all new HIV diagnoses, 21% were among young people (aged 13-24).
About 1 in 4 young adults have an STD. The numbers could be even higher because many people who are infected don’t realize it.
What Are The Symptoms of an STD?
Without being regularly tested, you may not know you have an STD until dangerous symptoms appear. Many STDs have little to no warning signs, especially for women. If left untreated, an STD can cause infertility, urinary tract problems, and various cancers. Some STDs, including syphilis and AIDS, can cause death.
According to the Mayo Clinic, these are some symptoms you can look for:
- Sores or bumps on the genitals or in the oral or rectal area
- Painful or burning urination
- Discharge from the penis
- Unusual or odorous vaginal discharge
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Pain during sex
- Sore, swollen lymph nodes, particularly in the groin but sometimes more widespread
- Lower abdominal pain
- A rash over the trunk, hands, or feet
How Can I Avoid Getting An STD?
The best way to avoid contracting a sexually transmitted disease is to not have sex. If you do have sex, here are some ways to protect your sexual health:
- Be regularly tested for STIs/STDs.
- Limit your partners. The more sexual partners you have, the more likely you are to contract a disease.
- Begin a mutually monogamous and faithful relationship with a partner who doesn’t have an STD.
- If you’re contemplating having sex with a new partner, make sure they’ve been tested since the last time they had sex
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions or have that awkward conversation about STDs
Free STI/STD Testing
At First Care Clinic, our medical professionals can provide free testing and treatment of certain STIs/STDs. Text or call us at 608-259-1605 for an appointment. We answer calls 24/7. You may also contact us online.
We care about your sexual health. If you’re wondering if you’re pregnant, you can also visit First Care Clinic for confidential pregnancy testing offered free of charge. We’re here for you. Contact us today.
No STD is harmless.