For the first time in almost ten years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show significant increase of certain sexually transmitted infections. With chlamydia and gonorrhea ranking highest on the list of contracted diseases, individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 account for almost two thirds of reported cases. Many studies suggest that the rise in STIs is due to the lack of funding for public health clinic, resulting in less cases receiving treatment. Protect yourself from contamination by learning about different types of infections and proper prevention techniques.
Types of Sexually Transmitted Infections
You are always at risk for sexually transmitted infections without proper protection. With over 30 different types of organisms that can cause an STI, it is important to know the three different categories of STIs – bacterial, parasitic, and viral.
The most popular bacterial STIs are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Bacterial infections are contagious through unprotected anal, vaginal, or oral sex and are curable with antibiotics if diagnosed within a certain amount of time. Statistics show that one in every four women and one in every seven men will contract one of these diseases each year.
Common viral STIs include genital herpes, HIV/AIDS, and genital warts. These diseases, once contracted, have no cure. There is treatment available for palliative care, but infected individuals remain contaminated for the rest their lives and will always be a threat to the sexual health of future partners.
Parasitic STIs spread through microscopic parasites, which can lay dormant for up to six months. This dormant period leads infected individuals to spread diseases to their partners unknowingly. This category covers infections like Trichomoniasis, pubic lice and scabies. Even though these infections are treatable, individuals who contract parasitic STIs are at risk for return infections.
If you are not going to abstain from sexual activity, the best way to protect yourself from harmful STIs is by practicing safe sex. Safe sex includes limiting your number of sexual partners and regularly using condoms to protect your body against dangerous diseases. Some STIs have preventative vaccinations available, like hepatitis B and some strains of HPV. Unfortunately, many STIs spread through non-sexual encounters that involve an exchange of infected blood or tissue through open wounds, kissing, breastfeeding, or even childbirth.
Undiagnosed sexual diseases put you at risk for infertility, chronic pain or even death. To catch infections early, regular testing is recommended for individuals who are sexually active and/or experience any symptoms listed.