Many people infected with STDs do not experience symptoms, yet their pathogens can be passed on.  While yearly chlamydia tests are recommended for the sexually active, there are more than 25 other STD pathogens that are not regularly screened.  The sheer number makes it cost prohibitive to test for all.  Some tests require symptoms to culture or are unreliable with new infections.  A sexually active person may test negative for the STDs suspected but would not know if they are infected with others.

Untreated STDs can result in pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, pregnancy complications, even death.   Options for Women/Cornerstone offers free testing and treatment for the two most common STDs, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.

Young women are particularly at risk of contracting STDs because of their immature reproductive organs.  STDs may also progress more rapidly in young women.

Anyone with the following symptoms should seek immediate testing and treatment.   

  • Vaginal pain or itching
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Painful urination
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Small red bumps or blisters in genital or mouth areas
  • Warts in genital areas including thighs
  • Penile discharge

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states, “The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), are to abstain from sexual activity or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.”  

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Using condoms exactly as directed for every sexual activity (oral, anal, vaginal, and no penetration) from start to finish, will prevent HIV infection 87% of the time, but condom protection from other STDs range from 0 to 50%. (Source:  Meeker, Meg.  Epidemic, How Teen Sex Is Killing Our Kids. 2002, pp. 104-110)

Immunization against STDs is also promoted as a risk reducer, but currently is only available for HPV (Gardasil) which has limited results and a high rate of serious adverse reactions.  Also,  "Gardasil...not been evaluated for carcinogenicity or impairment of fertility."

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