Top 10 STDs
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are some of the most prominent types of infections throughout the world. Both men and women can be impacted by STIs. Nearly half of all STIs occur in people who are under 25 years old. The can be exposure to an STI any time there is sexual contact, which can be genitals, oral, or anal. There is a higher risk for exposure for people who have more than one sexual partners or those who do not use condoms. It is also possible to spread some STIs through nonsexual contact, including needle sharing, through saliva, when having a baby or breastfeeding. The term sexually transmitted infection (STI) is used interchangeably with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Because there is an increased opportunity for STIs to be spread through travel and sexual activities, STIs are considered a worldwide public health concern. Some types of STIs are associated with an increased risk of some cancers and being infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is also possible for women to spread an STI to their baby. Many STIs do not have noticeable symptoms which result in faster spread of the infection. Testing for STIs is critical in the identification of an infection and treatment. Anyone who is sexually active should practice safe sex.
There are about 20 different STIs which have been identified. These infections can be from viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. The most common STIs include the following:
- Genital herpes
- Genital warts or human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Hepatitis B
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS
- Other types of infections including hepatitis A, cytomegalovirus, molluscum contagiosum, Mycoplasma genitalium, hepatitis
- C, and bacterial vaginosis
- Scabies and pubic lice
Fortunately, bacterial STIs can be treated and cured with an antibiotic. However, STIs from a virus typically cannot be cured. Bacterial STIs can be transmitted, even if the patients has been treated for and cured from it previously.
Teenagers and young adults who are sexually active are at higher risk for STIs. This is due to the biological changes which take place during the teenage years, which increase the risk for getting an STI. Additional factors which place someone at a higher risk for an STI include the following:
- Having unprotected sex
- Engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors
- Sexual intercourse with a partner(s) who engages in high-risk sexual behavior
If you think you may have an STI or may have been exposed to an STI, it is important to be tested and seek treatment immediately. Most local health departments, family planning clinics, and STI clinics offer confidential services for diagnosing and treating STIs. The early treatment of a bacterial STI can be cured and further complications can be prevented.
It is also important for parents of teenagers to talk about safe sexual behavior, testing, treatment and the risks associated with STIs. There are numerous resources available, including your family doctor, family planning clinics, and local health departments which can help you facilitate these discussions.
Some STIs can cause a serious infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes in women. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can create scar tissue which blocks the fallopian tubes. This can result in infertility, an ectopic pregnancy, pelvic abscess, or chronic pelvic pain.
Serious problems associated with STIs in pregnant women include miscarriage, low birth weight, premature delivery and infections in the newborn baby.
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