the Facts on STDs
transmitted diseases (STDs), usually transmitted through sexual
contact, include diseases such as AIDS, chlamydia, gonorrhea,
genital herpes, genital warts, and syphilis. Despite the fact
that all STDs can be prevented, and most can be cured, more than
12 million people in the US are infected each year.
If left untreated, STDs can have serious side effects, including
sterility, brain damage, heart disease, birth defects, increased
risk for some types of cancer, and death.
STDs are transmitted through contact with infected body fluids,
such as blood, vaginal secretions, or semen, and the contact of
infected skin or mucous membranes (i.e.: sores in the mouth).
Exposure to infected body fluids can also occur through vaginal,
anal or oral sex, performed without the use of proper latex condoms.
Exposure also takes place through the sharing of needles or syringes
for drug use, ear piercing and tattooing.
Safe alternatives to vaginal, anal, or oral sex do exist. Abstinence
is the only sure way to avoid getting an STD. Masturbation with
a partner (on unbroken skin) or alone can provide sexual pleasure
Latex condoms should always be used during sex, since they are
the only condoms believed to provide effective protection against
STDs. However, even condoms are not 100 percent effective. Birth
control pills, diaphragms, sponges, and other contraceptives do
not prevent STDs.
Individuals who think that they have been exposed to an STD should
have regular physical exams and ask their physicians for an STD
Symptoms of STDs may include sores or blisters on or around the
sex organs or mouth, pain or burning during urination, discharge
from the penis or vagina that smells or looks unusual, itching,
swelling, or pain in or around the sex organs. It is important
to remember that many STDs have no symptoms, especially in women.
Proper medical treatment should begin immediately after a person
is diagnosed with an STD. Home remedies do not work.
Sexual intercourse should not take place until the physician informs
the patients, so reinfection does not take place and the disease
is not transmitted to others.
Individuals infected with an STD should always follow the treatment
plan and finish all medications. They should also do follow up
exams to make sure that treatment was effective.
provided by the Sexually Transmitted Disease Control Program at
the NYC Department of Health. For more information on STDs, call
Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001. Tel:
(212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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