(Information obtained from Preparing Adolescents for Young Adulthood (PAYA), Handbook for Skill Development, Massachusetts Department of Social Services – click here to visit website)
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's) are one of the risks you run when you have sex without the proper protection. There are a number of serious diseases that are spread by sexual contact -gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, etc. Many of them can be quickly and efficiently cured by a doctor or clinician but becomes quite dangerous if they are not treated.
Here are some facts you should know about STD's:
- In America, more than 12 million people get an STD every year.
- One in eight teens will contract an STD every year.
- STD's (including the HIV virus which causes AIDS) can be spread through all manners of sexual contact.
- You can be infected with an STD more than once and can even have more than one STD at the same time. Treatment for an STD does not make you immune from getting it again.
- You cannot develop immunity to any of these diseases, and there is no vaccine to prevent them. In the case of herpes, the disease is permanent and there is no cure.
- STD's cannot be contracted by sitting on toilet seats or touching door knobs. Most STD's need to occupy warm, moist places to survive, which is why they affect the areas they do and will not last long outside of/away from the human body.
- Statistically, the prime candidates for STD infection are between 15 and 24 years old and sexually active (often with more than one partner).
STD's can affect men, women, and children.
- A pregnant woman can infect her baby.
- STD's can result in infertility or sterility if left untreated. It is important to get treatment even if the symptoms of the STD go away. The STD will remain transmissible and may continue to affect the body until it has been treated. NO STD will go away by itself.
- Your risk of getting an STD increases with the number of sexual partners you have.
- A person who has been diagnosed with an STD must contact all his or her sexual partners so that they, too, can get the necessary medical treatment. Symptoms of STD's may not always be noticed.
- It is important that women have regular doctor's check-ups and pap smears in order to detect pre-cancerous conditions or possible STD's.
Prevention of STD's:
There is only one sure way to protect yourself against the risk of infection, and that is to have no sexual contact. Abstinence is the surest, safest, and most effective method of prevention. However, if you do have sex, you must protect yourself.
Protect Yourself! This is not the time to be shy. Young adults (under age 25) are quickly becoming the fastest growing at-risk age group, currently accounting for up to 50% of all new cases of HIV infection in the U.S. Talk beforehand with your partner about the type(s) of protection you will both use. If he or she refuses to use protection, then you refuse to have sex. Do not allow yourself to be used. The risk is too great.
Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) testing at a minimal cost. The Risk is not Knowing...
Maricopa County Public Health - HIV Services
Maricopa County Public Health - Hepatitis B
Maricopa County Public Health Clinic is located at 1645 E. Roosevelt Street, Phoenix, AZ 85006 and offers immunizations (or vaccines), testing services, control, prevention and disease management services