Sexual Responsibility is making smart choices regarding your sexual health and whether or not you are ready to become sexually active. If you do make the choice to be sexually active you need to be prepared for what comes along with the experience. You need to be physically, emotionally, and mentally ready to make the choice to be sexually active. You need to remember to always practice safe sex and always use a condom each and every time. You should remain monogamous (1 partner), and you should have a long talk with your partner about sexual responsibility and condom use to be sure that you are both ready to take the step to becoming sexually active.
In addition to making, you need to be informed on the many types of Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs) that you can obtain if you practice unsafe sex as well as running the risk of unplanned pregnancy. Be sure you know your partner and that you think with your brain and not your heart. Your heart may be telling you one thing, and your brain may be telling you another. Remember if you have doubt it is always best to wait and talk about your concerns with your partner. Communication is very important and it helps build trust in the relationship.
Common Sexually transmitted infections
- Genital Warts (caused by HPV)
- Hepatitis B
- Pubic Lice (crabs)
*Many people with STDs have no symptoms. If you think you need to be tested for a STI, take a few minutes and visit www.stdwizard.org and take a short survey to determine if you have put yourself at risk for acquiring a sexually transmitted disease.
sexually transmitted infection facts:
It is called the silent STD. Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States, with about 4 million new cases reported each year. These are usually no early symptoms of chlamydia, which in part explains the high incidences of the disease. You can get chlamydia from unprotected vaginal. oral, or anal sex with an infected partner. Chlamydia can causes infertility in both men and women. The good news is, it can be cured with antibiotics.
Prevention: Many health care providers recommend that all persons who have more than one sex partner, especially women under 25 years of age, be tested for chlamydia infection regularly, even if they have no symptoms. Using condoms during sexual intercourse may help reduce the transmission of chlamydia.
Symptoms: There are frequently there are none. Common symptoms include genital discharge, bleeding between periods, low-grade fever, painful urination or intercourse, and conjunctivitis.
Treatment: Generally one dose of antibiotics administered at the Health Center. Be sure to tell sexually partners, so they can be tested and treated.
Genital Warts (caused by HPV)
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is an infection that causes genital warts. In men, warts may grow on the penis, near the anus or between the penis and scrotum. In women, warts may grow on the vulva and perineal area, in the vagina and on the cervix. In some cases, HPV is the reason a Pap smear is abnormal.
The warts may be small, flat, flesh-colored bumps, or tiny cauliflower-life bumps. The warts vary in size and may even be so small that you can't see them. In women, they can lead to cancer of the cervix and in men, they can lead to cancer of the penis.
Prevention: The only way to make sure you don't get HPV is to avoid having sex at all, or to have sex only with someone who does not have HPV and is only having sex with you. Just because you can't see the warts does not mean that your partner doesn't have HPV. The infection can have a long incubation period, meaning months can pass between the time a person is infected with the virus and the time a person notices warts in the genital area
Treatment: If you notice warts in your genital area, see your health care provider. The warts can be removed, but the viral infection itself can't be cured. The virus goes on living inside your skin. This is why the warts often return after they have been removed, and you may need to have them removed again.
* Remember using a condom does not protect your from acquiring HPV*
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection transmitted by sexual contact. Caused by a bacterium, neisseria gonorrhoeae, gonorrhea grows and multiples quickly in moist, warm areas of the body including the reproductive tract, the mouth and the rectum. Although in women the cervix is the usually site of infection, the disease can spread to the reproductive organ, resulting in Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, and eventually, sterility, if not treated.
Prevention: Use a condom correctly and consistently during vaginal, rectal, or oral sex.
Symptoms: Over 50% of women have no symptoms, especially in the early stages of the infection. Common symptoms include: painful or burning urination, yellow or bloody discharge from vagina or penis, abdominal pain, bleeding between periods, redness and swelling of the genitals, and burning or itching of the vaginal area.
Treatment: Antibiotics! Be sure to finish all of your pills, even if the symptoms resolve. If you have gonorrhea, all your sexual partners should get tested and treated if infected, whether or not they have symptoms.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is hardy and easier to catch than you might realize. HBV is found mainly in blood and body fluids. Hepatitis B virus can survive on surfaces for up to one month, which in some instances can increase your chances of infection.
Hepatitis B attacks your liver and can make you extremely ill. Hepatitis B can be transmitted sexually, through infected blood and body fluids, contact with contaminated surfaces, and from mother to child during birth. The disease can lead to cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer.
Prevention:Hepatitis B can be prevented! The Hepatitis B immunization requires a series of 3 shots, but will last for at least 10 years. It may be necessary to receive a booster shot at some point. The immunization will prevent chronic hepatitis B infection and reduce the risk of primary liver cancer.
Herpes is a viral infection that can take two forms: fever blisters on the mouth or face (oral herpes, or HSV-type 1) or those appearing in the perineal area (genital herpes or HSV-type 2). Both forms are spread from skin-to-skin contact, either to the mouth or genital area. Herpes infection is lifelong, but outbreaks can be suppressed with medication.
Prevention: Frequently, people experience warning signs before an outbreak, when herpes is most contagious. These include a tingling, burning or itching sensation. That is a signal to avoid sexual contact of any kind until the outbreak is over, and all signs of sores and scabs have disappeared. Between outbreaks, condom use during vaginal, oral, and anal sex can help reduce the spread of herpes between asymptomatic people.
Symptoms: Most often when a person becomes infected with herpes for the first time, the symptoms will appear within 2-10 days. Sometimes people who have genital herpes don't know if because they never had any symptoms, or they don't recognize symptoms they might have, which can include blisters or open sores, pain, itching, and flu-like symptoms during the first episodes
Treatment: There is no known cure for herpes, there are treatments for outbreaks. There are oral medications and ointments that can be used to help lessen. The pain associated with the outbreak and even shortens the length of time of the eruption. Consider avoiding all sexual contact, including kissing during an outbreak of herpes. Be sure to tell your sexual partners so they can get tested and treated!
AIDS is a chronic, life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body's ability to fight off viruses, bacterial, and fungi that cause disease. HIV makes your more susceptible to certain types of cancers and to infections your body would normally resist, such as pneumonia and meningitis.
Prevention: There is no vaccine to prevent HIV infection and no cure for AIDS. It is possible to protect yourself and others from infection. Educate yourself about HIV and be sure to avoid any behavior that allows HIV-infected fluids - blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast mild - into your body, know the HIV status of any sexual partner, use a new latex condom every time you have sex, use a clean needle, get regular screenings, and always remember to make smart decisions.
Symptoms: The symptoms of HIV/AIDS vary, depending on the phase of infection. With early infection, you may have no signs or symptoms at all, although it is more common to develop a brief flu-like illness two to four weeks after becoming infected. Signs and symptoms may include:
- sore throat
- swollen lymph glands
Even if you do not have symptoms, you are still able to transmit the virus to others. Once the virus enters your body, your own immune system also come under attach. The virus multiples in your lymph nodes and slowly begins to destroy your helper T cells - the white blood cells that coordinate your entire immune system.
Once deadly, syphilis can now be easily and effectively treated. The problem is that many people do not recognize syphilis's early symptoms and do not seek out treatment. Of increasing concern is the fact that syphilis increases the risk of transmitting and acquiring the HIV virus that causes AIDS.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is marked by the appearance of a single sore, called a chancre, at the spot where the baterium entered the body. It can appear within 10 days to 3 months after exposure, the chancre may be painless, may occur outside the body or on the part of the body exposed to the partner's ulcer, such as the penis, vagina, cervix, tongue, lips or other part of the body.
Prevention: When properly used, latex condoms offer very good protection against syphilis.
Symptoms: Frequently there are no symtoms. Other common symptoms may include: painless sores ore open wet ulcers (chancres) on the genitals or inside the vagina, on the lips, or mouth, rashes and flu-like symptoms.
Treatment: Antibiotics are available. ~Be sure to finish all of your pills even if the symptoms resolve~. Tell your sex partner(s) to get tested and treated.
Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina that can result in discharge, itching and pain. The cause is usually a change in the normal balance of vaginal bacteria or an infection. Vaginitis can also result from reduced estrogen levels after menopause.
The most common types of vaginitis are:
- Bacterial vaginosis - this type of vaginitis results from growth of one of several organisms normally present in your vagina, upsetting the natural balance of vaginal bacteria.
- Yeast Infections - A naturally occurring fungus called Candida albicans usually causes this type of vaginitis. An estimated three out of for women will have a yeast infection in their lifetimes.
- Trichomoniasis - This type is caused by a parasite and is commonly transmitted by sexual intercourse.
- Atrophic vaginitis - This type results from reduced estrogen levels after menopause. The vaginal tissues become thinner and drier, which may lead to itching, burning, or pain
Symptoms: Common symptoms may include:
- change in color, odor, or amount of discharge from your vagina
- vaginal itching or irritation
- pain during intercourse
- painful urination
- light vaginal bleeding
Treatment: When to see a doctor? If you have new vaginal concerns and
- You have never had a vaginal infection
- You had vaginal infections before, but these concerns seem different
- You had multiple sex partners or a recent new partner
- You have completed a course of over-the-counter anti-yeast medication and your symptoms persist, you have a fever, or you have a particularly unpleasant vaginal odor
Pubic lice, commonly refered to as "crabs" are small, crab shaped creatures which attach themselves to human hairs. Crabs usually live in the pubic hair, but can sometimes be found in axillary or armpit hair, facial hair, or even eyelashes. Pubic lice occurs when adult lice lay eggs on the hair shaft close to the skin.
Symptoms: It is possible to be infested with pubic lice and have no symptoms. More commonly itching occurs, which worsens at night. pubic lice are difficult to see because of their location and appearance. A rash or faint bluish spots might be noted at the site of bites.
Transmission: Pubic lice are usually transmitted through direct physical contact, especially of the genital areas. Occasionally transmission can occur through contact with an infested person's sheets, towels, or clothes, as they can survive without a human host for one to two days. Lice can not jump from person to person, nor can they be transmitted to or by animals.
Treatment: Because pubic lice and their eggs are not affected by ordinary soap and water, you health care provider will recommend a medication to destroy the lice. A single treatment is almost always effective
Prevention: Once the lice have been destroyed by treatment, it is important to take the following measures to prevent re-infestation:
- Put on clean clothing following treatment
- Machine wash all clothing (especially undergarments), towels, bed linen and any items that have come in contact with the skin since the onset of symptoms. Items that cannot be laundered may be dry cleaned, or wrapped in a plastic bag for 30 days.
- Sanitize the bathroom and shower. You may use bathroom cleaner, a 70% alcohol solution or bleach. You may also purchase a spray product to use on a mattresses, upholstery and carpeting.
Scabies is an itchy skin condition caused by tiny, eight-legged burrowing mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. The presence of the mite leads to intense itching in the area of its burrow. The urge to scratch may be especially strong while you are in bed at night.
Scabies is contagious and can spread quickly through close personal contact in a family, child care group, school class, or nursing home. Because of the contagious nature of scabies, health care providers often recommend treatment for the entire group that may have become exposed.
Symptoms: Common symptoms may include:
- itching, often sever and usually worse at night
- thin, irregular burrow tracks make up of tiny blister or bumps on your skin
The burrows or tracks typically appear in folds of your skin. Though almost any part of your body may be involved, scabies are most often founds:
- between fingers
- in armpits
- around the waist
- along the insides of wrists
- on the inner elbow
- on the soles of the feet
- around breasts
- around the make genital area
- on buttocks
- on knees
- on shoulder blades
Treatment: Scabies treatment involves eliminating the infestation with medications. Several creams and lotions are available. The medication is usually applied all over your body from your neck down, for at least an eight hour period of time. The medications will kill the mites promptly, but you may find that the itching doesn't stop entirely for several weeks.
Prevention: To prevent re-infestation and to prevent the mites from speading to other people, take these steps:
- Clean all clothes and linen. Use hot, soapy water to wash all clothing, towels and bedding used at least two days before treatment. Dry with high heat. Dry clean items that you are unable to wash at home.
- Starve the mites. Consider placing items you can't wash in a sealed plastic bag and leaving it in an out-of-the-way place, such as in your garage, for a couple of weeks. Mites die if they don't eat for a week.