Hello #MomentumLovers! I'm Dr. Drai a board-certified OBGYN, sexual health expert, and founder of Momentum Intimacy. Through my FDA-approved condom & lubricant line called Momentum, I help people improve their intimacy and have a more satisfying sex life.
It's Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) awareness month and there is no better time to talk about keeping you safe during sex. While a healthy sexual relationship can provide intimacy and excitement, it is important that you make mature and healthy decisions before engaging in sex. Though the topic of STDs can be difficult for some, the practice of safe sex is no longer a matter of preference, but of necessity and survival.
We are all very aware of modern contraceptive methods. As effective as these methods are, most protect you from only one kind of risk: unintended pregnancies. But, unplanned parenthood is not the only risk that comes with unsafe and unprotected sex. Practicing unsafe sex also puts you at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Since condoms are the only known and proven birth control method that protects against sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs and STIs), a lot of sexual health information can go a long way in keeping yourself safe and uninfected.
What are Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
These are diseases and infections that can be contracted by having unsafe and unprotected sex with an infected partner. Contrary to popular belief, STDs are not only transmitted via vaginal sex. Anal, oral, and vaginal sex are potent means of transmitting these viruses and bacteria. Viruses and bacteria that trigger these diseases and symptoms are transmitted through the bodily fluids exchanged during intercourse like saliva, vaginal fluids, and semen, among others. Sharing non-sterilized needles with other people is also a common cause of the spread of STDs. Blood is also a potent transmitter of these bacteria and viruses especially if it finds its way into open lesions or sores.
What are the different kinds of STDs?
Generally, there are two kinds of STDs: curable and non-treatable. Curable STDs, which are bacterial, are often treated by using antibiotics and other medications. Common examples of curable STDs include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and vaginal infections. Keep in mind, however, that left untreated, there can be other physical complications to these diseases.
Non-treatable STDs are viral infections and diseases that progress over time and develop complications. While most are lifelong conditions, some can be fatal and cause death. Treatments and therapies are often administered not only to treat the infections but for minimizing the symptoms and fortifying the body's resistance against complications. Some of the known non-treatable STDs include genital herpes, Hepatitis B, genital warts, and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV.
What are the symptoms of STDs?
Symptoms of STDs may vary among individuals and the gravity of the infection. However, some of the common symptoms include:
- foul penile discharge
- burning pain while peeing
- foul smell and changes in vaginal discharge
- pain during sex and around the lower abdomen
- blisters, sores, lesions, and rashes in the mouth, anus, or genital areas
It is also possible to have no symptoms with STDs. Do not be deceived by mere appearances. Even the healthiest-looking person can be infected by an STD. If one observes any, a combination, or all of the above symptoms, medical attention should be immediately sought.
Key STD Facts
There are lots of misconceptions and wrong ideas about STDs that can potentially cause trouble. Below are some facts on STDs that can make detection and treatment easier:
- A person can contract more than one STD at a time. An STD does not make a person immune from other sexually transmitted infections or the same infection. In some cases, having an STD can make a person more prone to contracting more infections or having a relapse.
- STDs do not discriminate. Sexually transmitted diseases can infect anyone from an adolescent to an aging drug dependent; all it takes is one unprotected indiscretion.
- STDs are common. There are millions of people who are infected with STDs or carry an infectious strain. Most of these people are not even over the age of 30.
Early detection and treatment of STDs is very important to avoid serious infections that may lead to long-term or permanent damage. When left untreated, STDs may cause infertility and can be passed on from a pregnant mother to her unborn child. Sexually Transmitted Diseases can be easily passed onto sexual partners and can aid in the transmission of HIV.
One of the surest ways to avoid an STD is by sexual abstinence. But you don't have to be chaste just to be free of the dreaded STD. The practice of safe sex can greatly help in minimizing your risk of STDs. Use condoms with each sexual encounter. Make sure to sanitize sex toys before and after use. Observe genital hygiene routines, as well as keeping your hands clean at all times. It is best to consult your professional health care provider for advice on getting tested for STDs.
Thank you for reading this #MomentumLovers! As always...I'm Dr. Drai a board-certified OBGYN, sexual health expert, and founder of Momentum Intimacy. Through my FDA-approved condom & lubricant line called Momentum, I help people improve their intimacy and have a more satisfying sex life.