Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Infections
What is an STD/STI?
An STD/STI is a sexually transmitted disease/infection. Recently, people have come to prefer the using the term “sexually transmitted infection” instead of “sexually transmitted disease.” We will refer to them here as sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
How do you get an STI?
STIs are primarily transmitted during sexual activity and spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. A few STIs can be spread through contact with blood that is infected (HIV and hepatitis B).1
Can I get an STI through oral sex?
Yes you can. Studies on oral sex have shown that you can contract syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV, HPV, genital herpes, Chlamydia, and possibly hepatitis C.2 This is why we define sexual activity as oral, anal, and vaginal sex. While some may say it’s a “safe alternative,” oral sex does not protect you from the physical consequences of STIs.
How many people have STIs?
It is estimated that in the United States 19 million STI infections occur on a yearly basis.3 To put that in perspective, if we took everyone from the state of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa, we would still be short 1.2 million people!4 And that’s only how many people are infected every year, not the people who were previously infected.
For teenagers alone, approximately 1 in 4 sexually active teens contracts an STI every year.5
Will they ever go away?
It depends on the type of STI. Bacterial and parasitic infections, like Chlamydia, can be treated with oral antibiotics. Viral infections, such as Genital Herpes, HIV, or HPV cannot be cured.6
Do condoms prevent getting one?
Condoms can reduce the transmission of an STI, but they cannot prevent transmission fully. Remember, the only 100% way of preventing a sexually transmitted infection is through abstinence.
What about specific STIs?
If you are looking for information about specific STIs, please follow the links listed below.
Genital HPV: http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm
Genital Herpes: http://www.cdc.gov/std/Herpes/STDFact-Herpes.htm
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: http://www.cdc.gov/std/PID/STDFact-PID.htm
STD during Pregnancy: http://www.cdc.gov/std/STDFact-STDs&Pregnancy.htm
Should I get tested?
Everyone who is sexually active outside a mutually committed, monogamous relationship (marriage) should get tested. There is simply too much at risk to go without knowing.
Nearly 750,000 girls age 15-19 experience an unplanned pregnancy in the United States every year.7 Of these teens that parent, less than half (17 or younger) ever graduate from high school, and for those who do graduate, less than 2% earn a college degree by the time they are 30.8 Teen pregnancy is not uncommon and it’s difficult.
Most of us will know a friend who faces an unplanned pregnancy during his/her teenage years. This is yet another great reason to choose abstinence. Abstinence is the only 100% sure method of preventing pregnancy. Protecting yourself against unplanned pregnancy is a great way to insure the future you want to create for yourself.
Afraid You May Be Pregnant?
If you or someone you know is concerned she may be pregnant, there is help. No one should have to face an unplanned pregnancy alone. First Care Pregnancy Center is a safe place for individuals who are seeking compassionate support as they consider their options. First Care Pregnancy Center provides support through free pregnancy tests, free limited ultrasound, and confidential decision-making counseling with licensed social workers.
Emotional Effects of Sexual Activity
Most people think only of the physical consequences of sex, but even if a physical consequence is not experienced, you will most likely experience some sort of emotional pain. When you have sex with someone, there is an emotional bond that takes place. When that bond is broken, damage is done and it hurts.
Some emotional effects of a broken sexual relationship include feeling:
- guilty or regretful
- angry and hurt
Read real life stories of people who have experienced some of these feelings, but have chosen to start over by choosing secondary virginity.
Link between suicide and depression and sexually active teens:
- Sexually active girls are more than three times more likely to be depressed than girls who are not.9
- Boys who are sexually active are more than twice as likely to be depressed as those who are not.10
- Sexually active girls are nearly three times more likely to attempt suicide than girls who are not sexually active.11
- Sexually active teenage boys are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than boys who are not sexually active.12
1 Palo Alto Medical Foundation, “Sexually Transmitted Infections,” (2008), http://www.pamf.org/teen/sex/std/.
2 Disease information: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Fact Sheets found at:http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/dstd/disease_info.htm, accessed 11-19-08.
3 Kjersten Oligeny and Linda Klepacki, “STD Quick Facts,” Focus on Social Issues, (2005),http://www.citizenlink.org/pdfs/fosi/abstinence/STD_Fact_Sheet.pdf.
4 US Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/.
5 Kaiser Family Foundation, “U.S. Teen Sexual Activity,” (2005).
6 Palo Alto Medical Foundation, “Sexually Transmitted Infections,” (2008), http://www.pamf.org/teen/sex/std/.
7 The Guttmacher Institute, “Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States,” (2008).
8 The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy,http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/national-data/default.aspx, accessed 11-19-2008.
9 Robert E. Rector, Kirk A. Johnson and Lauren R. Noyes, “Sexually Active Teenagers Are More Likely To Be Depressed And To Attempt Suicide,” Heritage Center for Data Analysis (2003).