What is an STD or an STI? Is there a difference?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are among the physical consequences of sex and/or sexual activity. You get them by coming in contact with an infected person’s mouth, anus, vagina or penis. STDs can be viral or non-viral. Non-viral STDs can be treated and cured if caught in a timely manner. Viral STDs are not curable, meaning they may be with you for life. Many of the symptoms of non-viral STDs may be treatable; however it is something that you may have to deal with for the long haul.

Top 10

1. About 50% of all STDs occur in people under age 25.
2. At least 1 out of 2 sexually active people get a genital HPV infection at some point in their lives.
3. Abstinence is the only reliable way to prevent STDs.
4. There are at least 25 different STIs, many of which are incurable.
5. Untreated STIs can cause Chronic Pain, Infertility, Cancer, and Death.
6. You can still get an STI such as herpes or HPV if you use a condom.
7. Girls on the pill are at an increased risk of contracting an STD.
8. In 2009, Chlamydia infection became the largest number of cases ever reported to CDC for any condition. (1,244,180 cases)
9. Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported disease in the United States.
10. 27% of gonorrhea strains are now multi=antibiotic resistant.
(Above information provided by Centers for Disease Control.)

Get the Facts Before You Act

If you are sexually active outside of marriage, you are placing yourself at an increased risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. Abstinence is the only way to prevent either of these events from occurring in your life.

Below is some educational information on STD’s.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) are on the rise in the United States. According to the Department of Health and Human Services over 65 million Americans are infected with an incurable STD with an additional 13 million more being infected every year. Most STD’s are spread through bodily fluids during sexual contact. However, some STD’s are spread through skin to skin contact and cannot be prevented by using a condom. It is important to note abstinence is the only way to prevent 100% of all STD’s.

There are currently more than 40 different types of STD’s. Some like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis can be treated with different antibiotics. Others, such as Genital Warts and Herpes, are incurable and stay with you for a life time. HIV, AIDS, and Hepatitis can be life threatening.

Teenagers and young adults who have become sexually active are among the fastest growing group of new cases of STD’s. The more partners you have, the higher your risk of contracting an STD.

“When you have sex with someone, you are having sex with everyone they have had sex with for the last ten years, and everyone they and their partners have had sex with for the last ten years.” C. Everett Koop, M.D., Former US Surgeon General

So, how high is your risk of contracting an STD? The following table assumes your partner has had the same number of partners as you.

1 partner = 1 exposure
2 partners = 3 exposures
3 partners = 7 exposures
5 partners = 31 exposures
6 partners = 63 exposures
7 partners = 127 exposures
8 partners = 255 exposures
9 partners = 511 exposures
10 partners = 1023 exposures
11 partners = 2047 exposures
12 partners = 4095 exposures

For more information on STD’s and lifestyle choices please come by to speak with one of our caring advocates. No appointment is necessary. We are located at 721 NE 4th St., Chiefland, Fl. 32626 or you can reach us by phone at 352-493-7773.

Questions and Answers

Can I get pregnant while using a contraceptive?
Yes. According to the Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of Planned Parenthood), up to half of unplanned pregnancies are conceived while using contraceptives. Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy and STDs.
Does having a sexually transmitted disease affect my pregnancy options?
Yes! When considering your pregnancy options, it is important to know if you have a Sexually Transmitted Disease. It is always best to be treated for a STD as soon as possible. Women who have an untreated STDs (like Chlamydia or Gonorrhea) are up to 25% more likely to develop Pelvic Inflamatory Disease (PID) and Can transfer STD in the birth canal during delivery causing premature birth, stillbirth, blindness, deafness, physical, and mental effects. It is important to be tested for STDs prior to making any decisions about the outcome of your pregnancy.

Can I get an STD if I am using contraceptives?
Yes.
“HPV, also known as Genital warts, is not preventable by any contraceptive, including condoms.” – From a Congressional Report by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
• Hormonal contraceptives (i.e. birth control pills, shot patch, ring) do not prevent STD’s. They actually alter the female genital tract, increasing a woman’s risk of contracting Chlamyida and HIV.
• Barrier contraceptives (I.e. condoms, diaphram, cervical cap) can increase vaginal irritation, increasing STD risk.

Is it true that I’m at higher risk for contracting STDs if I use hormonal contraceptives (the Pill, Depo, the Patch, etc.)?
Yes. You are at a higher risk for contracting at least three different STD’s:
HPV (Human Papillomavirus), which is a primary cause of cervical cancer. No contraceptives protect against it.
Chlamydia which is the most common STD. Use of hormonal contraceptives increases the risk of contracting Chlamydia.
Contraceptive use creates a genital environment that makes contracting HIV easier. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

Condoms prevent STI’s, right? How safe are they?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) put together 138 scientific studies from around the world and found that there is no clinical proof that condoms are effective in preventing several STI’s and only 85% effective in preventing the transmission of the HIV virus.
Also, people who use condoms have sex more often, increasing their risk of STD exposure.

Can I die from having an STD?
Yes. You can have an STD and experience no symptoms and therefore go untreated, which can lead to things like:
• Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). In women, PID may cause infertility and/ scarring of the genital tract. This can cause an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy growing outside of the uterus in which the baby almost always dies and can be life threatening to the mother).
• Cervical cancer, which can lead to death if undetected.
• Some of the viral STDs are infectious for life. Recurring symptoms can be treated, but not cured. Men and women who have any STD are up to five times more likely to contract HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
• AIDS kills your immune system. You don’t die from AIDS but from something your body was not able to fight off.