What Every Sexually Active Woman Should Know About STDs

Did you know that chlamydia is the leading sexually transmitted disease in the United States?

When people think of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), they often think of the most common maladies such as gonorrhea, HIV, and herpes. However, there are more than 25 well-documented, highly contagious STDs that can prove detrimental to the health of women.

We, the team of OBGYN doctors and health care providers at Women’s Health Associates of Southern Nevada (WHASN), Las Vegas, believe that education is key to reducing infection rates and promoting safe sexual practices. Here are the top five things we believe every sexually active woman should know about STDs.

1. Women run a higher risk of contracting STDs

There are times when life doesn’t seem to be fair, and this is one of those times. Women’s anatomies are simply more susceptible to infection compared to men’s. There is no fail-proof way for women to completely eliminate the risk of contracting an STD, but female condoms do help lower the risk.

2. STDs have various transmission methods

A lot of people have the misconception that there must be penetration in order for one to catch an STD. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Any sexual activity — petting, touching, kissing — can all place you at risk of getting infected by one or more STDs. Syphilis and herpes for example, can easily be transmitted simply by genital touching.

3. Some STDs are asymptomatic

STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HPV are often easy to notice quickly, and therefore, those afflicted typically get started on a course of treatment as soon as the symptoms appear — discharges, genital warts, and pain when urinating. Things become difficult and often complex with asymptomatic STDs. These STDs often wreak havoc in the body because you’re not aware of their presence. This is why we recommend women come in for regular screening at our Las Vegas clinic.

4. Keep HPV on your radar

HPV is one of the top three STDs that sexually active men and women are likely to contract at some point in their life. HPV is notorious for causing a range of cancers, such as vaginal, cervical, anal, to vulvar. HPV is spread through anal, oral, and vaginal sex, and from mere skin-to-skin contact. 

 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises that women, particularly between the ages of 11 and 26, be vaccinated against HPV. If you’ve got genital warts and are worried you may have contracted HPV or HPV-related cervical cancer, contact our office to schedule an appointment for a pap smear and other related STD testing. 

5. Not all STDs are curable

We have come a long way in terms of cures and treatments for most STDs. It is possible to be cured of certain STDs such as syphilis and gonorrhea. It’s not the same for viral STDs like HIV and HPV however. While you have a right to exercise your sexual freedom, you also have a (legal) responsibility to inform your sexual partners of your sexual health. Failure to inform your partner prior to sexual contact is a criminal offense in certain states across the country. 

Want to learn more about STDs and safe sexual practices?

Women’s Health Associates of Southern Nevada (WHASN) believes it’s every woman’s right to have  reliable, up-to-date information that allows her to make safe sexual decisions. If you would like to talk to someone about STDs, schedule an annual screening, or discuss any gynecological issues, or family planning, don’t hesitate to book an appointment now.

 

Let us know in the comments how you and your girlfriends stay safe out there.

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