Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphilis, HPV, herpes and HIV/AIDS are all sexually transmitted diseases. Many of these diseases can be cured with simple antibiotics if diagnosed quickly, but there is no known cure for herpes or HIV/AIDS. Most sexually transmitted diseases are spread through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex and via the sharing of dirty hypodermic needles.
No Obvious Symptoms
Numerous people are infected with a sexually transmitted disease but are not actually aware of it. Chlamydia and gonorrhea, for example, often don’t cause any physical symptoms when a person is first infected. If there are any symptoms such as genital discharge or a burning sensation while urinating they are often mistakenly thought of as a sign of something less serious such as a bladder infection. Syphilis and HIV/AIDS are very serous sexually transmitted diseases that can eventually lead to death. Both syphilis and HIV can remain inactive in a person’s bloodstream for years without causing a problem. In fact about one firth of the people infected with HIV in the United States don’t even know they have it, which is one of the reasons why approximately 56,000 individuals in this country are newly infected with the virus each year.
Long Term Damage
If sexually transmitted diseases are left untreated they can do permanent and significant damage to an individual’s reproductive and overall health. For example, some STDs harm the reproductive organs and cause infertility and most can be passed from mother to unborn child. Some strains of Human Papilloma Virus can lead to cervical cancer in females. Syphilis can eventually lead to internal organ damage, paralysis, blindness, dementia and death. If the HIV virus develops into AIDS it slowly reduces the efficiency of the immune system so that an infected person suffers from all manner of pulmonary and gastrointestinal infections, develops tumors and skin legions and ultimately succumbs to an AIDS-related ailment.
In the USA and western Europe the spread of sexually transmitted diseases has increased in recent years, perhaps because younger generations are not old enough to remember the widespread panic caused by the first incidences of AIDS in the 1980s. Young people also make the mistake of thinking that sexually transmitted diseases are only spread via male homosexuals and drug users. In fact anybody can become infected by and spread an STD. There are a few ways that a person can avoid contracting a sexually transmitted disease. For example, you can abstain from having sex altogether or make sure you always use a condom. Another way to avoid STDs is for you and your partner to undergo tests and, after clearance, stay in a reciprocally monogamous relationship. Avoid using drugs or becoming intoxicated so that you will not lose your inhibitions and have unprotected sex, and never share hypodermic needles with other people.