The rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) had been decreasing for decades, but according to the CDC, the rates have been rising again in recent years. Specifically, chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea rates have all jumped up by tremendous amounts, which is bad news as these diseases are beginning to become drug resistant.
The rising rates are the result of a culmination of events. The first is that people are becoming more sexually active in general, which increases the risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases. Another issue with the rising STD rates is that people are not taking preventative measures. Finally, this data does not account for STDs that go undiagnosed, and people affected in this way are much more likely to experience negative outcomes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some recommendations that have been proven to be effective against STDs. First, people who are abstinent have virtually no risk of catching the disease because they are not having sex. Both men and women should receive the HPV vaccine and the Hepatitis B vaccine, both of which protect against STDs. To receive these vaccines, one should talk to a healthcare practitioner.
People who are sexually active should maintain a low number of sexual partners to avoid contracting an STD, and they should be tested often so that partners can be informed. Sexually active people may also consider a monogamous sexual relationship because an STD cannot enter a sexual relationship exclusive to two people. Finally, using latex male condoms is an incredibly reliable way to prevent STDs. Those who have latex allergies can buy non-latex condoms, but these condoms break more often.
The CDC also has recommended some guidelines regarding testing for people who are sexually active. In life, every adult (even abstinent people) should get tested for HIV once. Women who are younger than 25 or older with many sexual partners should get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea at least once a year. Pregnant women should get tested for hepatitis B, HIV, and chlamydia at the start of pregnancy, and more tests should be considered for at-risk women.
Gay and bisexual men should be tested once a year for syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia; although, those who have frequent or anonymous sexual partners should consider more frequent testing intervals (like every 3 to 6 months). Additionally, HIV testing should be considered for men who have sex with men every 6 months. Anyone who has unprotected sex or injects drugs should also be tested for HIV every 6 months. Finally, heterosexual men should get tested for STDs at least once a year.
If you are experiencing potential symptoms of an STD, there are online symptom checkers that will help you decide to get tested. If you test positive, you should comply with treatments to help your body get rid itself of the infection or keep symptoms under control. You also need to communicate with partners, so they can decide if they want to continue a sexual relationship with you.
It is important to keep young people and elderly people informed on STDs. These populations are at high risk of getting STDs. In keeping these people informed, the rates of STD infection will begin to fall again. People will have a better understanding of the risks involved with being sexually active, and they will better know how to prevent contraction and get help when they need it. Through education, prevention, and treatment, the rate of STDs can fall again.