At this time, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States are at a record high. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2 million cases of three nationally reported STDs (chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis) were reported in the United States in 2016, the highest number ever. With STD rates increasing, it’s important to know how you can prevent STDs and learn the risks of not seeking treatment. According to Laura Silver, NP-C, PPG – OB/GYN, Maternal Fetal Medicine & Neonatology, prevention is key.
What are the most common types of STDs?
The most common STDs diagnosed include chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes and human papilloma virus (HPV). There are other STDs, including HIV, which are on the rise in the Fort Wayne area. The statistics on STDs are concerning and should prompt us to become more proactive in protecting our own health.
What is the best way to prevent STDs?
They are definitely preventable if you take the proper precautions. Abstinence is the only way to 100 percent avoid STDs. If you and your partner choose to have sex, it is always smart to both be tested prior to intercourse to assure there is no infection present to pass to one another.
Condoms should be used with every sexually encounter to reduce the chance of transmitting infections. We recommend proper education on how to use a condom as they are often used incorrectly, therefore making the condom ineffective.
Another important way to prevent STDs is for women to stay up to date on their annual exams and routine screenings. We strongly recommend women receive a pelvic exam once they become sexually active. We also encourage women to receive a pelvic exam annually or any time there is a partner change.
Once a woman reaches the age of 21, we recommend regular pap smears. A pap smear screens for HPV changes that could progress to cervical cancer.
What are the risks associated with untreated STDs?
STDs can be present without any signs or symptoms. This is why routine screenings are essential. Untreated STDs can lead to many health complications, including pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical cancer and future infertility, among other things.
If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact your Parkview Physicians Group – OB/GYN physician.