anyone who is sexually active today for a reason to practice safe
sex and they will say "AIDS." However, there are at least
25 other sexually transmitted diseases that may be contracted at a
much greater risk than AIDS. They are all highly contagious and strike
millions of Americans each year—primarily teenagers and young
might think that only the promiscuous and those who live in lower
socioeconomic neighborhoods are apt to become infected, but the truth
is anyone who engages in unprotected sex with an infected partner
can get an STD. STDs are the most common infectious diseases in the
United States after the common cold and flu. STDs can affect anyone.
Some STDs can be cured, while some cannot. None may be dismissed as
is a brief summary of some of the more dangerous STDs.
a lot of hype about how risky it is to have unprotected sex. What are
the real odds of catching a disease?
real answer to your question is that it depends on which disease is
being transmitted and who it's being transmitted to. The odds are as
high as 50 percent in some cases. For example, if a woman has unprotected
sex with a man who has gonorrhea, she has a 50 percent risk of becoming
infected. In the opposite case, the risk is 30 percent. In fact, in
nearly all cases, women are more likely to become infected by carrying
males than men are to be infected by carrying females. The risk for
younger women and, perhaps, for women who use birth control pills, may
be even higher. To worsen the situation, some diseases, such as chlamydia,
may not produce symptoms in a man, even though he can pass the disease
to his partner.
statistics look like this:
of Infection (%) from One Unprotected Encounter
could look at these numbers and figure guys get off lucky. What
I see, however, is responsibility. If you fool around and get infected,
the odds of you infecting your spouse are very high, with potentially
devastating effects. Either of you could become sterile, and your
partner may suffer from chronic severe pain or develop cervical
cancer. The days are over when sexually transmitted diseases were
minor health problems that could be cured with a dose of antibiotics.
Only two of the eight on this list respond readily to medication,
and even those are developing resistance. Today, the old saying
that a one-night stand can last a lifetime has more than one meaning.
is the best form of disease protection, but if you wander, cover
do I prevent sexually transmitted diseases?
your number of sexual partners.
sex with people you don't know well or people who have multiple partners.
use condom and spermacide, regardless of the need for contraception.
sex with people who are being treated for a sexual disease.
sexual contact with anyone who has visible lesions on the genitalia.
you are infected with an STD, refrain from sexual activity until treatment
there anything new in treatments for that frustrating sexually transmitted
herpes' main calling card—that it's controllable, not treatable—hasn't
changed. Once you get it, the painful bumps and flu-like symptoms may
recur four to eight times per year for years. (Bear in mind that herpes
can be transmitted even when a person has no symptoms.) For most people,
the frequency and severity of outbreaks decline over the years, but
especially in the early years, medication may be helpful.
Acyclovir (brand name Zovirax) has been around for several years. For
people with frequent and severe recurrences, it can be taken regularly,
which may reduce the likelihood of a recurrence. More often, it is taken
at the onset of symptoms, which reduces their severity.
The disadvantage of acyclovir is that it may need to be taken 5 times
per day for 5 to 10 days to reduce symptoms and 1 to 4 times per day
to suppress recurrences. The price tag can amount to about $5 per day.
Two newer medications on the market include famciclovir (Famvir) and
valacyclovir (Valtrex). Both are effective in combating the symptoms
of recurrence. Additionally, recent studies have come out showing that
one can reduce the outbreak and even transmission without an outbreak
by daily dosing in a prophylactic, or preventative, fashion.
At least four other antiviral therapies are in clinical trials now.
You can find out more about them on the Internet at Center
Watch - Clinical Trials Listing Service. For the foreseeable
future, though, the best herpes therapy is to avoid it in the first
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