STD Prevention Resources & Education
As a sexually active adult, one of the most important things you can do is get STD testing performed on an annual basis. Even if you haven’t had any known STD exposure, getting testing provides you and your current and/or future partners with the piece of mind of knowing your status. You can have these tests performed at any STD clinic.
How can you prevent STDs?
STD stands for sexually transmitted disease, even though they have recently been changed to STI, or sexually transmitted infection – it has less stigma and many of them can be treated and/or cured. Every year, close to 18 million people worldwide are diagnosed with an STD. This translates to almost half of all people having been diagnosed with an STD at some point in their life. Although STD’s are preventable, anyone who is sexually active can acquire them. In fact, one in four teenagers will be diagnosed this year alone. Left untreated, STD’s can lead to infertility, cancer or even death. However, STDs are preventable and avoidable with the right knowledge. Obviously, abstinence is the most foolproof way of not being exposed to STDs. However, it is not reasonable long term to assume that people will continue to not be sexually active. When you do become sexually active, maintaining a monogamous status with a partner who is also monogamous with you helps reduce the potential for developing STDs. Always have STD testing before becoming sexually active as well. Knowing your and your partner’s status can help you make decisions on method of protection and birth control. Also verify that your partner is not an IV drug user. IV drug use is one of the major risk factors for HIV transmission. Use condoms each time you have sex, especially with a new partner. STD transmission is significantly less with reliable condom usage. Female condoms are also a good option, although less readily available. Check with your local STD clinic for other options for protection and STD testing. See more here!!
Are there any vaccines available to help prevent STDs?
There are many STDs that have had vaccines develop to help reduce the rate of transmission worldwide. Both Hepatitis A and B have vaccines available at more STD clinics, although they may not be covered by your insurance and you may incur an out of pocket cost. The newest vaccine on the market to prevent STD transmission is the Gardasil vaccine. Originally developed to prevent the transmission of the four strains of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) most known to cause cervical cancer, they have since expanded to nine strains. This vaccine can be given to as young as 9 year olds and is meant to be administered before becoming sexually active to be more efficient at preventing HPV.
Although STDs are scary, they are also preventable by following safety precautions such as being careful when you are sexually active, getting any and all applicable STD vaccines, getting tested, and discussing STD status with any new partners before becoming sexually active.