Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are spread by
sexual contact involving the genitals, mouth, or rectum. STDs can also be spread
from a pregnant woman to her fetus before or during delivery. STDs, which
affect both men and women, are a worldwide public health concern.
By Ellen Seidman
It's 8 a.m., and I'm caught up in the get-the-kids-to-school shuffle: shoes, breakfast, knapsacks, and no, you can't bring the vacuum cleaner for show-and-tell. Suddenly, I catch my husband giving me a funny look. "What?" I say, wondering if I have toothpaste on my cheek. "Do you know what today is?" Dave says with a wistful smile.
Um. Wait. Oops. Today is our ninth wedding anniversary. I knew it was coming up, but kid stuff had taken over my brain — signing up for swimming lessons,...
Some STDs, such as HIV, can take
up to 6 months before they show up in a test such as a culture or blood test. Genital herpes and the
human papillomavirus (HPV) can be spread when symptoms are not present. Even if
you and your partner have been tested, use condoms for all sex until you and
your partner haven't had sex with another person for 6 months. Then get tested
symptoms of STDs, such as unusual discharge, sores,
redness, or growths in your and your partner's genital area, or pain while
Don't have more than one sex partner at a time. The
safest sex is with one partner who has sex only with you. Every time you add a
new sex partner, you are being exposed to all of the diseases that all of their
partners may have. Your risk for an STD increases if you have several sex
partners at the same time.
Use a condom every time you have sex. A condom is the best way to
protect yourself from STDs. Latex and polyurethane condoms do not let STD
viruses pass through, so they offer good protection from STDs. Condoms made
from sheep intestines do not protect against STDs.
water-based lubricant such as K-Y Jelly or Astroglide to help prevent tearing
of the skin if there is a lack of lubrication during sexual intercourse. Small
tears in the vagina during vaginal sex or in the rectum during anal sex allow
STDs to get into your blood.
Avoid douching if you are a woman,
because it can change the normal balance of organisms in the vagina and
increases the risk of getting an STD.
Be responsible. Avoid sexual
contact if you have symptoms of an infection or if you are being treated for an
STD or HIV. If you or your partner has herpes, avoid sexual contact when a
blister is present and use condoms at all other times.
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
April 8, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
April 08, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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