Sexually transmitted diseases are no secret in our society. The numbers are, in fact, quite staggering:
Facts About STD's
“One in two sexually active persons will contract an STI by age 25. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 20 million new STIs occur every year in this country, half of those among young people aged 15–24,” reports the American Sexual Health Association. “CDC estimates that undiagnosed STIs cause 24,000 women to become infertile each year. The total estimated direct cost of STIs annually in the U.S. about $16 billion.” (1)
Despite this, only about 12 percent of people were tested in that same time period. The obvious result of this is that people pass on diseases to their partners without ever knowing that they have them. This is potentially devastating; in addition to causing infertility and sterility, some STDs make it more likely for people to contract HIV, while others can pass easily to babies during the birthing process, causing potentially life-threatening complications.
Clearly, we need much better education in our country to avoid this. Yet the decades-long push toward sex education still seems relegated to middle and high school classrooms, and that’s just not enough. The first step is to understand how these diseases pass, so we can avoid their transmission. Which leads many people to wonder, How do you get an STD?
There are two basic answers to this question. First, there is the actual medium through which STDs pass from one to another, e.g. bodily fluids and points of contact. Second, there is the behavior that makes the sharing of STDs more likely.
STD Ways & Behaviors
Let’s take a look at the five most common ways to pass STDs and the five most common behaviors that make transmission more likely.
Vaginal sex is arguably the most traditional form, and a form that most heterosexual couples practice regularly. Between trusting partners who have both been thoroughly tested, there’s no risk of transmission. However, the sexual fluids that pass from partner to partner during vaginal sex carry a wide variety of STDs.
The delicate lining of the anus and rectum create a high potential of entry for STDs. This is true for bloodborne diseases such as HIV or hepatitis C, as well as diseases that can pass through sexual fluids, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. Because of this, gay men are likelier than the rest of the population to have certain STDs.
Most people don’t know that oral sex can also pass on the majority of common STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), HIV and trichomoniasis. All of these are potentially serious diseases, and just because you avoid vaginal and anal sex does not mean you are safe from them.
The variety of activities lumped in the “outercourse” category make a thorough examination of them impossible for our purposes. Suffice it to say, this is any form of contact that involves genital to genital contact without penetration, between both heterosexual and homosexual couples. It also involves hands, behinds and the rest of the body.
Hand and Mouth Contact
Mouth to mouth contact can spread a variety of STDs, notably herpes simplex 1 (oral herpes) and herpes simplex 2 (genital herpes). Mouths infected with chlamydia and gonorrhea can develop pain and sores, as well as sore throats. In babies, transmission of the mother’s vagina during birth to the baby can result in pneumonia and serious conjunctivitis in the eyes. Adults who rub their eyes with hands coated in sexual fluids can also have eye trouble, from weeping and pus to inflammation and redness.
While exact numbers are hard to come by, credible health sources report that condom use lowers the chances of STD transmission hugely. The holes in condom material is small enough to block the smallest STDs, including HIV. Using them is an enormously helpful way to reduce disease – and conversely, failing to use them increases your chances significantly. (2)
The problem with multiple partners isn’t that it’s morally wrong. As long as you have this worked out with your partners so that no one gets hurt, there’s no problem. However, whether or not you have the emotional side of this equation nailed down, it’s critical you’re aware of the physical side. Multiple partners simply make it more likely that you’ll be unable to determine the source of any given STD. That’s a problem, because not only will you have a hard time tracking the origin of a disease and getting important information, you’ll also have more trouble alerting past partners of potential issues. Ideally, you should move from one partner to the next, testing in between each one.
Sex While Drunk or High
Many committed couples enjoy having sex while under the influence, and that’s fine. However, making decisions about new partners when you’re not sober is problematic. You’re likelier to forget protection, put it on incorrectly, make poor choices and put yourself at risk, even if there is no actual penetration. Try to hook up with people for the first time while sober.
Intravenous drug use is extremely dangerous for a number of reasons, not least because it can pass STDs such as HIV and hep C. If you have to do IV drugs, check with your city or county health department and see if they have a needle program where you can at least get clean hypodermic needles for each use.
Remember, current figures estimate that only about 12 percent of people have been tested for STDs. That’s far too low a number, and single-handedly explains the epidemic proportions of most of these diseases in the United States and beyond. The answer is to know whether or not you have an STD, so you can cease or manage sexual activity accordingly. Many STDs are curable, and many others are manageable with information, so make that your priority.
Get a Home Test Kit
One of the best ways to get the info you need is home testing. That way, you can test regularly in the privacy of your own home, and only go through the hassle and expense of a doctor’s appointment if absolutely necessary. That’s exactly what iDNA helps you do. Using the same techniques and methods used by physicians, our tests are extremely accurate and affordable at the same time. We offer quick results and guidance throughout the entire process, so you’re never on your own.
It’s time to take control of your sexual health, so don’t wait any longer to order a At Home STD Test Kit from iDNA today and make testing a regular part of your health regimen!
- (1) Statistics. (2019). Retrieved from http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/statistics/
- (2) Condom Fact Sheet In Brief. (2013). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/brief.html