Not only are STDs contagious, but they can also harm your health and wellness. STDs require medical attention and should be treated as soon as possible to avoid negative health impacts.
What Is an STD?
A sexually transmitted disease or STD is a pathogenic infection caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites that spread from one person to another and can cause harmful health effects. These infections may go unnoticed or mimic other conditions. If you are at risk of acquiring an STD, testing and treatment are necessary to maintain good health.
How Are STDs Spread?
STDs are typically spread from one person to another through sexual contact. Sometimes, STDs can spread from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy and birth or from those who share infected needles.
Who Is At Risk?
Anyone who participates in sexual conduct is at risk of contracting an STD. However, an increased risk occurs when:
- Having unprotected sex.
- Having sexual contact with multiple partners.
- Having a history of STIs.
- Being forced to engage in sexual activity. Dealing with rape or assault is difficult, but seeing a doctor as soon as possible is important to receive screening, treatment, and emotional support.
- Misuse of alcohol or use of recreational drugs. Substance misuse can inhibit judgment, making you more willing to participate in risky behaviors.
- Injecting drugs.
- Being young, ages 15-24
What Are The Symptoms and Complications?
Many times symptoms go unrecognized or remain silent. If you are at risk, getting tested is essential in knowing about infection, and seeking immediate treatment is necessary.
Depending on if symptoms do present and the type of infection, some signs and symptoms may be:
- Sores or bumps on the genitals or in the oral or rectal area
- Painful or burning urination
- Discharge from the penis
- Unusual or odorous vaginal discharge
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Pain during sex
- Sore, swollen lymph nodes, particularly in the groin but sometimes more widespread
- Lower abdominal pain
- A rash over the trunk, hands, or feet
Complications that can arise are:
- Pelvic pain
- Pregnancy complications
- Eye inflammation
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Heart disease
- Certain cancers, such as HPV-associated cervical and rectal cancers
Where Can I Go For Free Testing?
If in doubt and unsure if you are at risk of having an STD, don’t delay; schedule with the Pregnancy Resource Center today! Testing is a service we provide cost-free, in a judgment-free zone. The PRC of Glenwood Springs does not perform or refer for abortion.
All appointments are completely confidential and free. Protecting your health is important to us, and you deserve the answers and peace of mind.