The Truth about STDs-STIs in Duluth GA
The Score Is Not Even: The Truth About STIs
When it comes to STIs, the complications of sexually transmitted infections disproportionately and profoundly affect women: Undiagnosed and untreated STI or STDs can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy, and impact the health of babies when pregnant women are infected. STI risks for women are unique and higher than for men, and the permanent damage associated with these infections will be primarily for her. Because of this, it is crucial to receive STI screening before becoming sexually active with your partner. Remember: the truth is abstinence is the only means that is 100 percent effective to protect yourself from STDs and STIs.
STIs Are Inherently Sexist And Racist.
The reality is that women will always pay the higher price regarding STIs, and this is especially true for younger women. This is because the young female’s cervix (where many infections occur) is still developing, making it more supple, like a sponge. What does a sponge do? It absorbs spills. Now carry that metaphor over to the absorption STIs. Scary! All women, regardless of age, are at greater risk of becoming infected with an STI than men. In any sexual situation, the person who is entered is at greater risk for infection. Another consideration is that bacteria and viral infections can cross the thin lining of the vagina more easily than the penis. Racial inequities exist, too: Black, Native American, and Pacific Islander women face higher STI rates than white and Asian women.
Breaking It All Down.
Chlamydia is a common STI that infects both men and women and is easily treatable with antibiotics. Unfortunately, one of the problems with Chlamydia is that frequently there are no symptoms. Clearing an infection quickly reduces the problems it creates and is why STI testing is so important.
The Risks: Chlamydia can cause severe and permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system, making it difficult or impossible for her to get pregnant later. Chlamydia can also cause a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy – a pregnancy that occurs outside the womb.
What To Do: If you are a sexually active woman younger than 25 years, you should get a test for Chlamydia every year. If you are an older woman with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners, or a sex partner who has an STD, you should get a test for Chlamydia every year. Abstinence is the only means that is 100 percent effective to protect yourself from STIs.
PID – Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is a severe condition that affects a woman’s reproductive system. If a woman has Chlamydia once, there is about a 20 percent chance it will result in Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Each subsequent infection further increases a woman’s risk.
The Risks: According to the CDC, 1 in 8 women with a history of PID experience difficulties getting pregnant. Currently, there is no testing that identifies PID. Left untreated, it can result in scar tissue forming outside and inside the fallopian tubes, ectopic pregnancy, and long-term pelvic/abdominal pain.
What To Do: If you have any of the symptoms common to PID, (fever, pain in your lower abdomen, an unusual vaginal discharge with a foul odor, pain or bleeding when you have sex, burning sensation when you urinate, or bleeding between periods) you should discuss them with your medical provider to eliminate the possibility of PID: Again, abstinence is the only means that is 100 percent effective to protect yourself from STIs.
HPV – Human Papillomavirus Virus
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus, and 100 known strains of HPV have been identified. Infections can be treated, viruses cannot. The CDC estimates that there were 43 million HPV infections in 2018. In that same year, there were 13 million new infections. HPV is so common that almost every person who is sexually active will get HPV at some time in their life, and often symptoms don’t arise until years after infection. Health problems related to HPV include genital warts and cervical cancer.
The Risks: In addition to genital warts, HPV can cause cervical and other cancers, including the vulva, vagina, penis, or anus. It can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (called oropharyngeal cancer). Almost 35,000 men and women get HPV cancers in the United States every year. However, these statistics only account for the number of people who sought treatment for genital warts and may not reflect the actual numbers. Additionally, more than 4,000 women die from cervical cancer each year—even with screening and treatment.
What To Do: There is no treatment for the virus itself. However, there are treatments for the health problems that HPV can cause: Genital warts can be treated by your healthcare provider or with prescription medication. If left untreated, genital warts may go away, stay the same, or grow in size or number. Cervical precancer is treatable. Women who get routine Pap tests and follow up as needed can identify problems before cancer develops. Other HPV-related cancers are also more treatable when diagnosed and treated early. Prevention is always better than treatment. Gardasil is a vaccine that targets four strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), but remember there are 100 known strains out there. In other words, the vaccine can reduce your risk, but it doesn’t eliminate the threat. Bottom line: abstinence is the only means that is 100 percent effective to protect yourself from STIs.
Unpacking The TRUTH
The score is not even. Women are going to pay the highest price. When talking about STIs, she is the one bearing the most significant part of the consequences. Biologically, women are easier to infect and easier to damage. It is not fair, but it is true. The only way to avoid STIs is NOT to have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If this is an option you would like to explore further, Obria Medical Clinics offers Optimal Health Services through life coaching. If you are concerned that you might have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease, our clinic provides STI testing and treatment. For more information about life coaching and STI testing and treatment, visit Obria Medical Clinics in Lawrenceville, or call or text 770 338-1680.