I Would Know if I had an STD, Right?
The truth is, most people don’t really think bad stuff will happen to them. STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) just happen to other people in statistics. And you are pretty smart. You would know if your boyfriend or girlfriend had an STD, right? And wouldn’t you know if you have one because you would have some symptoms?
HPV, HIV, and Chlamydia often have no symptoms in the early stages. By the time a person has symptoms, it is often too late to prevent serious damage, and they may have unknowingly spread the diseases to many other people. You cannot tell by looking at a person that they have an STD. The bottom line is that if you are sexually active, you might have an STD!
3 Common STDS that may have no symptoms:
HPV (human papilloma virus or genital warts) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. This virus can be transmitted even while wearing a condom the correct way because of skin to skin contact. It is often hard to see genital warts in skin creases, under pubic hair, or internally in the vagina or on a woman’s cervix. Some strains do not present with any warts but are still contagious and can do long term damage. HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer. HPV can also lead to penile, anal, and oropharyngeal (back of the throat) cancers so men are also at risk for future health problems from this virus.
HIV: HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. The CDC estimates there are around 50,000 new cases of HIV in the United States each year. Many people don’t have any symptoms when they first become infected with HIV or they may have some flu like symptoms which disappear. An infected person may not have symptoms for 9-10 years; however, they are still contagious during that time. If discovered early, HIV can be managed effectively with medications preventing the onset of full blown AIDS for many years.
Chlamydia: Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is treatable with antibiotics. Our patients at True Care are almost always shocked when told they have a positive result for chlamydia. They had no reason to suspect anything was wrong because they had no symptoms. If not discovered early, chlamydia often progresses to something called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which causes scarring and damage to the woman’s reproductive tract. Sometimes PID can prevent a woman from conceiving children in the future.
If you are sexually active, be smart and get tested for STDs. True Care offers chlamydia and gonorrhea testing and treatment for our pregnancy test patients. The Natrona County Public Health department offers full STD testing for both men and women. If you want to get tested and need help to pay the costs, go online to http://knowyo.org/get-tested/ to get a voucher for no or low cost STD testing in Wyoming.