STD Quick Facts
Did you know that April is STD Awareness Month? Most people don't. It can be an uncomfortable topic to talk about, but being aware about STDs and the harm they can cause is very important.
What is an STD?
STD stands for sexually transmitted disease. You may also hear the term STI, which means sexually transmitted infection. We use these terms interchangeably. STDs are diseases that are transmitted through sexual activity. Chlamydia, herpes, and gonorrhea are some of the most common STDs.
Are STDs fatal?
Most STDs are not fatal; they can be treated through medication. However, some of them have no cure and you will have it for the rest of your life. HIV and AIDS are examples of STDs that have no cure. Even though you probably aren't going to die from an STD, if they go untreated they can cause some serious harm to your health. For instance, women who have untreated STDs can experience infertility (unable to have children):
What are symptoms associated with an STD?
There are a lot of different kinds of STDs, so symptoms will vary. If you have been sexually active, there's a chance you have an STD but will not experience any symptoms. It is important that you get tested for STDs if you've been sexually active and think you might have one. Some common symptoms include:
rash or itching around genitals
burning sensation when you pee
foul smell and unusual discharge
How can I avoid getting an STD?
The only 100% way to prevent STDs is to abstain from (not participate in) sexual activity, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Reducing your number of sexual partners is also crucial to preventing STDs; it's also important that you be honest about your test results with others, and ask them to be honest about theirs.