Are You Having Safe Sex? Top Tips for STDs Protection

Last modified: August 2, 2019

Richard Honaker M.D.
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Abstract and Article Review By: Dr. Richard D. Honaker, M.D.

Abstract: Sexually Transmitted Diseases are on the rise, especially for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis. In women, these infections can often not cause any symptoms, yet cause damage. The danger this causes for patients and their babies is significant, and there are important things you can do to prevent and treat these infections.

The frequency of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis occurrence shot up in 2016, which is the third year in a row, reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The data comes from the CDC’s annual report on sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs.

With such results, there has been more encouragement for practicing safe sex for everyone, especially women. There are over two million cases of the three reported STDs in the past year. This is the highest number ever according to the CDC.

Chlamydia Increased to 1.6 Million Cases, According to CDC Report

Most of the cases were chlamydia, exceeding 1.6 million. Chlamydia infections increased by 4.7 percent in one year, gonorrhea18.5 percent, and syphilis increased by 17.6 percent.

These sexually transmitted diseases can be treated successfully by taking antibiotics for a certain number of days. If left untreated, however, these could lead to severe health conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and stillbirths.

Despite suspecting that there is indeed an increase, some experts have actually questioned if the statistics represent an accurate rise in infection cases of all sexually transmitted diseases.

What is the Root Cause of the Rise in STDs?

What could be causing this significant increase in the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases may not be clear yet. Disregarding proper safe sex measures could be the reason.

More people could be engaging in sexual activities with no condoms at all, or having multiple partners. Although there is not enough evidence yet that condom usage has lessened, this may be the underlying issue.

While more data is still being gathered, here are some of the basics that you should know to avoid contracting STDs, and to practice safe sex.

The STD Risk

Everyone who engages in sexual activity could be at risk for sexually transmitted diseases. The risk becomes higher for those who have a variety of sexual partners, without practicing safe sex.

According to the CDC’s director of STD prevention, those who are aged 15 to 24 are the majority of the reported chlamydia and gonorrhea infections.

Approximately half of all the new cases of STDs occurred in the same age bracket. Researchers have also found that one out of four sexually active adolescent women have an STD.

This demographic also had an increase in syphilis cases. This is a serious concern as mothers with syphilis could pass on their disease to their babies while pregnant.

Such transfer may be rare, but there have been 628 reported cases with an increase of 27.6 percent since 2015. The cases have actually resulted in 40 deaths, and other complications among newborns.

Pregnant women and their partners should therefore enforce stricter safe sex protocols to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases, and thus protect their newborns.

Staying Safe When it Comes to Sex

Since sexually transmitted diseases at times don’t exhibit symptoms, sexually active people are advised to have annual screenings. In terms of certain STDs, the CDC stated that everyone aged 13 to 64 should be tested for HIV at least once, and if they have high-risk lifestyles, have an annual test.

For chlamydia and gonorrhea, the CDC suggests annual testing for all sexually active women under 25, and for women 25 and older who have a recent or new partner.

Women who are pregnant must be screened for HIV and syphilis. If they are at risk for chlamydia and gonorrhea, then they should be tested for these sexually transmitted diseases as well.

Being outside of the traditional age groups doesn’t mean that you’re safe. STDs in older women are also rising.

As long as you have a healthy sex life, you should still get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. It would also be better if you ask your new partners regarding their testing history.

Safe Sex Practices You Need to Know

  • Condoms, use them whenever appropriate. They can help minimize the risk of STDs and HIV. This is the easiest measure that you can take to practice safe sex.
  • Protect the young ones. Have your sexually active kids vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Get proper treatment. If you’ve just been diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis, you will have to take antibiotics. The CDC recommends that your partners should get treatment as well.
  • Be truthful with your doctor. You should never withhold your sexual behavior from your healthcare practitioner. Sex is a human need that has to be satisfied, so you don’t have to be ashamed of talking about it with someone who can give you proper advice.

If discussing STDs with your healthcare provider is a frightening endeavor, know there is always help. You can talk to a doctor for free online with our free Dr. Chat and get your safe sex answers. It is 100 percent private, and you can do it from the comfort of your home.

Do you have an STD? Find out by contacting us today with our free Dr. Chat!

Submitted by Dr. Richard Honaker:

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

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