STD Brochure - written by Harvard Medical School STDs...

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STDs Sexually Transmitted Diseases www.patientedu.org written by Harvard Medical School
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2 3 t’s the problem you don’t want to think about. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) affect both men and women. Antibiotics and vac- cines can help control many diseases, but STDs are more troubling than ever. About 19 million cases occur in the United States each year, nearly half of them in teens and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24. And with the rise of HIV/AIDS, STDs have joined the ranks of killers. Luckily, STDs can be prevented and treated. General Considerations What are STDs? STDs are infections that you get by having sex. Sex between a man and a woman is how most STDs are spread, but they can also be spread by oral sex, anal sex, or contaminated drug needles and blood prod- ucts. Pregnant women can also transmit STDs to their newborns. More than 30 different infections can be transmit- ted sexually. The most important ones are listed in Table 1 (see right). This brochure will cover basic guidelines for the prevention and diagnosis of STDs. I Table 1 Major STDs in the U.S. Gonorrhea Syphilis Chlamydia Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) HIV/AIDS Genital herpes Human papilloma virus (HPV) Hepatitis A, B, and C Caused by bacteria viruses Trichomonas vaginitis* *bacterial and yeast vaginitis may also be transmitted sexually parasites
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4 5 The following people should be tested for STDs: • Anyone who has been exposed to an STD • Men or women with symptoms of an STD, such as genital sores or ulcers • Men with discharge from the penis or burning on urination • Women with vaginal discharge, burning, or itching • Women with lower abdominal pain and fever • People who are at high risk, even without symptoms, such as: people who have unprotected sex; young, sexually active women; men who have sex with men; and illicit drug users • Pregnant women Several types of screening tests are available. They include: Blood tests for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis Urine tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea Bacterial cultures for gonorrhea Pap smears for cervical cancer caused by HPV Patients with positive results should receive appropriate counseling and treatment. Personal physicians and public health officials should expedite testing and treatment of sexual contacts. Who Gets STDs? Anyone who is sexually active can get an STD, but some people are at much higher risk than others. Risk factors include: • Having multiple or new sexual partners • Having unprotected sex • Living in a large city • Having contact with sex workers • Men who have sex with men • Illicit drug use • Having a previous STD Screening for STDs It is important to diagnose STDs early for two reasons: 1 To start treatment as soon as possible 2 To prevent spreading the infection to others
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6 7 Preventing STDs The only sure way to prevent STDs is not have sex or only have sex with one partner who is healthy. It sounds simple, but it doesn’t stop millions of
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course SCWK 140 at San Jose State.

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STD Brochure - written by Harvard Medical School STDs...

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