Facing the uncertainty of a sexually transmitted disease can be scary. If you think you may have an STD, give us a call to talk to one of our nurses who can test you for a limited number of STDs*, or can refer you to other medical professionals for additional testing or treatment, if required. Just remember, no matter the diagnosis, you are never alone.

Please text or call 603-749-4441 to schedule an appointment if you think you may need to be tested for an STD.

 

How Do I Know If I Have An STD?

In many cases, an STD causes symptoms you may not even notice. The only way to be sure is to get tested. Signs and symptoms that might indicate an STD include:

  • Sores or bumps on genital areas, oral areas or around the anus
  • Painful urination
  • Discharge from penis
  • Unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding
  • Pain during sexual activity
  • Sore, swollen lymph nodes – especially in the groin
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Rash on trunk, hands or feet

 

How Can I Get An STD?

If you have had sex, you could be at risk for an STD. Anyone who is sexually active can get an STD.

STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases, can be contracted through sexual contact of any kind with an infected person. For many people, STDs don’t show symptoms for a long time, if at all. Even though you might not be exhibiting symptoms, you can still pass the infection to another person through sexual contact.

Twenty million new cases of STDs occur each year in the US, and half of all new STDs are contracted by people 15 to 24 years old. Although many STDs can be treated with medication, there are a variety of STDs that have no cure.

 

What increases my risk of getting an STD?

  • Sex, with or without a condom
  • Multiple partners
  • Prior STDs
  • Abusing alcohol or recreational drugs
  • IV drug use

 

Treatment

Early detection is key when it comes to treating STDs effectively. Some STDs can be treated and cured with medications; however, some cannot be cured. For those infections that are incurable, symptoms can be managed by other medications and treatments. Getting tested for an STD is easy and painless, and will ultimately benefit your health and safety as well as your partner’s.

 

What Could Happen if I Don’t Treat My STD?

  • Infertility
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Cervical and rectal cancer

 

How Can I Protect Myself Against STDs?

The most obvious way to prevent contracting an STD is to not have sex. If you choose to have sex, you will not get an STD if you only have one uninfected sexual partner for your entire life. If you choose to have multiple sex partners, make sure you talk to your doctor, get tested regularly and use a condom correctly every time you have sex. However, be aware that there is still a risk for STDs, even when using a condom which are not as effective as you might think when used to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Using a condom during sex can reduce the risk of transmitting or contracting certain STDs, but a condom never eliminates the risk entirely.

There are treatments that exist for some STDs, but not all. The only sure way to avoid all sexually transmitted infections is to abstain from any sexual activity. Keep an open dialogue with your partner about STDs and avoid alcohol and drugs, as they impair judgment and could cause you to do something you wouldn’t normally do.

 

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

 

Chlamydia*

Chlamydia causes a yellowish discharge, burning during urination, bleeding between periods, swollen or tender testicles. Many times, both men and women will not experience any symptoms. Chlamydia can be easily cured, but if left untreated, it can cause infertility in women.

Gonorrhea*

There are more than 3 million cases of Gonorrhea each year. It causes a yellowish discharge, burning during urination, and stomach pain. Often there are no symptoms, however it’s important to treat the infection early. Gonorrhea must be treated by a medical professional.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Vaginosis occurs when too much of a bacterium in the vagina is present. This causes a change in the natural balance of the structure. Bacterial vaginosis is not considered an STD, but having vaginosis puts women at an increased risk of getting an STD.

Genital Herpes

This virus causes a recurring skin condition that can cause irritation and blister-like sores in the genital area or mouth. Herpes is treatable, but it never goes away. You are most likely to spread the infection when an outbreak of sores is present around your genitals.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV affects the skin around the genital area, as well as a woman’s vagina or cervix and causes wart-like growths. Although HPV is treatable, it will never go away and could lead to health complications or cervical cancer.

Pubic Lice (Crabs)

Pubic Lice, often referred to as “crabs,” are tiny insects that live on or in body hair and cause severe itching and small red bumps. They can be treated by an over-the-counter lotion and anti-lice shampoo.

Trichomoniasis

This is caused by a parasite in the woman’s vagina or the man’s urethra. It causes itching, burning, irritation, redness, discharge, foul odor, frequent or painful urination, stomach pain and discomfort during sexual activity.

Syphilis

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can spread throughout the body. The first stage is a painless sore. The second stage is a rash, fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, and muscle aches. The final stage involves damage to the internal organs, including the central nervous system.

Hepatitis A, B, and C

Hepatitis A/B/C are infections of the liver caused by a virus. Hepatitis B can be a long-term illness resulting in liver failure and cancer. Hepatitis C is the most common long term blood borne virus in the U.S. and can lead to liver decay and cancer.

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is a virus that destroys the body’s ability to fight off infection. The disease results in weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, fever, dry cough, diarrhea, swollen lymph glands, memory loss/confusion, and depression. Sometimes there are no symptoms and there is no cure, but many beneficial treatments are available.

 

This information is intended for education purposes and is not a substitute for professional counseling and/or medical advice.

*Options provides STD testing and counseling at no charge for these STDs*

 

Text or call 603-749-4441 to schedule an appointment if you think you may need to be tested for an STD.

For more information on STDs, we encourage you to visit the following websites:

  • http://www.cdc.gov/std/
  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/home/ovc-20180594
  • http://thedailyrisk.com/documents/ATeensGuideToSTDs(1).pdf
  • http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/bchs/std/stdprevention.htm
References:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – CDC. (2015). Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Mayo Clinic. (2015). Patient Care + Health Information: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

 

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