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 Health Hint #254
Basic Facts about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Excerpted from "A Year of Health Hints"
365 Practical Ways to Feel Better and Live Longer

There's only one way to guarantee you'll never get a sexually transmitted disease: Never have sex. Limiting your sexual activity to one person your entire life is a close second, provided your partner is also monogamous. A third line of defense includes avoiding sex with people at risk for carrying STDs, avoiding certain sexual practices (see Tip 261), and using a condom for protection.

But first, here are some basic facts about STDs.

Signs and symptoms.
Each STD has its own set of symptoms, but a discharge from the penis or vagina, pain when urinating (in males), and open sores or blisters in the genital area are typical of most STDs. In some cases, the early stages of an STD produce no detectable symptoms. And you can have more than one STD at the same time. Gonorrhea and chlamydia, for example, are often contracted simultaneously.

How STDs spread.
STDs are transmitted through intimate sexual contact.

Fast response counts.
If you suspect you have an STD, see a doctor as soon as possible. Your sexual partner(s) should also be contacted and treated, if necessary.

Outlook for cure.
Some STDs can be treated and cured with antibiotics. For others such as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), there is no cure. Prevention is the only treatment.

Possible complications.
Depending on the infection, STDs can cause serious, long-term problems like infertility, central nervous system disorders, or in the case of AIDS, death.

No "shots" for prevention.
At present, no vaccines exist to prevent STDs.

Repeat episodes.
Once you've had an STD, you can get it again. You don't develop an immunity once you've been exposed.

Parents don't have to know.
A minor does not need parental consent to receive treatment for an STD.

 About The Author
This article has been taken from Healthier at Home® – Your Complete Guide to Symptoms, Solutions & Self-Care, a book published by......more
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