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Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)


While it is normal and healthy for people to enjoy active sex lives, it is important to realize that there are more than 30 sexually transmitted diseases that have the potential to turn sexual contact into an unpleasant, and in some cases deadly, activity.

Many people, when they think of STDs, think of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), a presently incurable disease, first identified in 1981.

Currently there is no medical treatment to prevent the spread of the AIDS virus. There are effective treatments for reducing the severity of some AIDS symptoms and for preventing or treating the opportunistic infections which occur when the body's normal immune system is compromised as a result of the AIDS virus.

Millions Affected by STDs

Some of the other STDs that effect millions of people around the world each year include chancroid, chlamydia, genital pediculosis, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, herpes, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and venereal warts.

Although contracting one of these diseases is not as life threatening as contracting AIDS, the impact they can have on your lifestyle, relationships, and psychological well-being is enormous.

All STDs are contracted by having sexual contact with someone, who in many cases may be unaware that they are carrying a sexually transmittable disease.

Practicing Safe Sex

Practicing safe sex is the single most important step anyone can take to prevent contracting or spreading STDs. However, there are no 'safe sex' methods that are 100 percent effective.The only 100 percent 'safe sex' method is sexual abstinence!

'Safer sex' methods can, however, prevent or lower the risk of contracting an STD infection, including AIDS. These methods include masturbation of yourself or your partner without exchanging semen or vaginal fluids. Touching and kissing of nipples, back, feet, hands, legs, face and ears can be a safe and enjoyable intimate experience.

Any vaginal or rectal intercourse should occur only with the use of a latex condom. Safer oral sex should include the use of a condom, or dental dam. Fingering of the penis, vagina, or anus is safest from risk of STDs when using a condom, dam, or finger cot.

With the exception of AIDS and Hepatitis B, STDs can usually be treated easily if diagnosed early. Therefore, it is imperative that anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to someone with an STD contact a health professional immediately for diagnosis and treatment. Women could see their gynecologist and men their urologist or their primary care physician or nurse practitioner. Dermatologists are also adept at identifying and treating STDs, since many of the symptoms include skin lesions, rashes, and warts.

Resources

Women and men also have the option of going to the local Planned Parenthood clinic for confidential treatment of STDs. The Planned Parenthood clinic in your area (USA) can be found by calling (800) 230-7526. In addition, the National STD Hotline at (800) 227-8922, provides information about free or low-cost clinics near you, and answers questions about treatment, transmission, and prevention of STDs. Internet information on STDs is available from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Copyright 2002 Sinclair Intimacy Institute


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