Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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Casual sex or a one night stand can be very exciting. No strings attached sex can be pleasant for someone not keen on a relationship, or frustrated with one, but it is absolutely essential to ensure that one uses protection.

Even the most cautious people are driven in to acting impulsively under the spell of seductive hormones. Good sense often goes out of the window at such times. But just that one time of being careless, lazy, or impulsive, could have a devastating effect. There are many sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and infections (STI). Some of them can be an annoyance, some painful with long lasting effects, while some others can be quite deadly.

Birth control isn't good enough

So you are on birth control, and you think it is just this one time. How bad can it be? The answer is very very bad indeed! Here is a story about a rather cautious woman, who gets a wee bit carried away in the moment.

Women are often warned of the dangers of getting pregnant and asked to abstain from sex. But what is less spoken of, are the dangers of contracting an STD. Most forms of birth control only protect against pregnancy.

The only forms of birth control that protect against STDs and STIs are the male and female condom.

Even the diaphragm does not protect against STDs and STIs.

And while on the subject of condoms, some teenagers trying to be extra careful, sometimes use two condoms (called double bagging), but this actually reduces the effectiveness of condoms, as the friction between the condoms can cause a tear. Similarly when male and female condoms are used simultaneously, they can get stuck together causing them to slip.

Some women, especially teens, afraid of getting pregnant, favor oral sex. Many are not aware that STIs can occur through oral sex too, although the risks are lower. Even in case of oral sex, it is best to use protection. This link has many suggestions for reducing the risk of STI with oral sex.

STIs and the effect on women

STIs affect both men and women and perhaps the most frightening of all STIs is human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). But some of STIs affect women more severely than men, sometimes causing infertility. Here are some examples.

Human papillomavirus

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STI. It can be asymptomatic and cause no trouble at all, or it can cause warts, or it can cause cancer. In women, HPV can cause cervical cancer, but the strains of HPV that cause warts and the strains that cause cancer are different. It is however important to get those regular pap tests, so HPV is detected early and measures are taken to prevent cancer. According to this link a DNA test is recommended, along with a pap test to evaluate for high risk types of HPV in women over 30.

There is a vaccine for HPV which is best suited for girls between the ages of 11 and 12. Men and women can get vaccinated until the age of 26.

Gonorrhea and chlamydia

Gonorrhea and chlamydia are sexually transmitted bacterial infections. 50 to 70 percent of people having gonorrhea also have chlamydia.

While men usually show symptoms of gonorrhea early, women remain asymptomatic, or show subtle symptoms, that can be confused with other conditions for a while, making timely detection difficult. Sometimes, for women, the symptoms go away even though the infection remains.

Both gonorrhea and chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics, but the treatment cannot reverse damage already done to reproductive organs. If left untreated, these STIs can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and eventually lead to infertility or an ectopic pregnancy.

Can never be too careful

Female anatomy puts women at greater risk than men, for STIs, as female genitals are thinner and more delicate than their male counterparts. So women should be particularly careful to avoid unprotected sex, unless it is with a trusted long term sexual partner.

At the start of any sexual relationship, even a long term one, like an arranged marriage, parties may not yet know everything about each others sexual history, so it is best that both parties get tested before having unprotected sex. Yes it is not exactly sexy, but it is best for the long term sexual health of the couple.

I am thrilled to be participating in the A to Z blogging challenge 2018.

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Tags: health, safety, sex, social, women, teen, AtoZ Challenge