5 Key Ways People Can Protect Themselves Against STDs

5 Key Ways People Can Protect Themselves Against STDs

Sex­u­al­ly trans­mit­ted infec­tions are ris­ing, hit­ting a record 2.3 mil­lion U.S. cas­es in syphilis, gon­or­rhea and chlamy­dia in 2017. Accord­ing to a Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion press release, this is 200,000 more cas­es than in 2016.

The agency’s research shows that the num­ber of STD cas­es rose between 2013 and 2017, and doesn’t appear to be slow­ing down. The agency report­ed 1.7 mil­lion chlamy­dia cas­es – 45 per­cent of them not­ed in females between 15 and 24 years of age. Gon­or­rhea case num­bers have risen 67 per­cent. There has been a 76 per­cent increase in the num­ber of pri­ma­ry and sec­ondary syphilis.

Jonathan Mer­min with the CDC said the rise in STDs is a step back­ward in fight­ing sex­u­al­ly trans­mit­ted infections. 

Of the three com­mon types, gon­or­rhea is the most dan­ger­ous because it has led to a rise in antibi­ot­ic-resis­tance strains. While using both azithromycin and cef­tri­ax­one works, there is a still a pos­si­bil­i­ty that gon­or­rhea could become com­plete­ly antibiotic-resistant. 

Uni­ver­si­ty of Alaba­ma Pro­fes­sor of Infec­tious Dis­ease Trans­la­tion Research Dr. Edward Hook said that the gon­or­rhea bac­te­ria – gono­coc­cus – could very well become antibi­ot­ic-resis­tant. While new treat­ments and antibi­otics are avail­able, there has been a slow­down in their development. 

If an STD has not be diag­nosed and untreat­ed, they could lead to var­i­ous health prob­lems like ectopic births, infer­til­i­ty, still­births, etc. Syphilis could cause opti­cal issues along with sores and rashes. 

How Can Peo­ple Pro­tect Them­selves From STDs

More than half of all STD pro­grams on a local and state lev­el saw their bud­gets cut, which has reduced the num­ber of peo­ple get­ting screened and the hours clin­ics can stay open. This is why experts stress the need for pre­ven­ta­tive methods. 

Cen­ter for Sex­u­al­i­ty and Health Dis­par­i­ties Direc­tor Rob Stephen­son said it’s impor­tant peo­ple think about pre­ven­tion instead of after-sex response. Stephen­son said there are sev­er­al ways in which this can be done such as hav­ing pri­ma­ry care doc­tors and health care providers talk to patients about pre­ven­tion. Anoth­er is to teach sex edu­ca­tion ear­ly to help young adults learn how to pre­vent STDs. 

Some of the things the CDC rec­om­mends include:

  • Absti­nence – refrain­ing from any type of sex­u­al activity. 
  • Con­doms – Using con­doms dur­ing sex can pro­tect peo­ple from the major­i­ty of STDs. How­ev­er, HPV and her­pes can pass via skin contact. 
  • One Part­ner – Stay­ing monog­a­mous or hav­ing sex with one part­ner is one way to reduce the chances of STDs. 
  • Test­ing – Get test­ed reg­u­lar­ly to ensure that you are in good sex­u­al health. 
  • Vac­ci­na­tions – Be sure to get vac­ci­nat­ed from STDs such as HPV.

What Are Some Treat­ments For The Com­mon STD Infections?

  • Chlamy­dia – Antibi­otics tak­en once or over the course of sev­en days. 
  • Gon­or­rhea – Depend­ing on the gon­or­rhea type, doc­tors may do both a shot and pill to help peo­ple cure their gon­or­rhea. Again, pills may be tak­en once or over the course of a week. 
  • Syphilis – For this STD, peni­cillin is the most com­mon treat­ment giv­en, but for peo­ple aller­gic to it, there are oth­er alter­na­tives to cur­ing syphilis.

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