Let’s Talk About STIs and STDs: Understanding the Risks to Keep You Safe – Did you know drinking alcohol or using drugs increases your risk of developing STIs and STDs? Why is that? Find out all the answers to your biggest questions and take the Prepare Before You’re There quiz right here on Newsymom!
This is Public Health is brought to you in partnership with the Tuscarawas County Health Department.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are important topics to discuss for anyone who is sexually active. These infections can have both immediate and long-term consequences for your health and well-being. But don’t worry, we’re here to break it down for you so you can understand the risks and take steps to protect yourself.
What are STIs and STDs?
First things first, let’s clarify what STIs and STDs are. STIs are infections that are transmitted through sexual contact, including vaginal, oral, and anal sex, as well as skin-to-skin contact with infected areas. STDs, on the other hand, are infections that have progressed and may cause symptoms. Some common examples of STIs and STDs include human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
What increases my risk of developing an STI or STD?
One of the biggest risks for contracting STIs and STDs is engaging in unprotected sexual activity. Using condoms consistently and correctly is a simple but powerful way to protect yourself. Condoms act as a barrier that prevents the spread of infections during sexual contact. So remember, always use condoms or other barrier methods during sex to reduce the risk of STIs and STDs.
High-risk sexual behaviors
Another risk factor is engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors. This includes having unprotected sex with a partner who has a known infection, engaging in risky sexual activities such as anal sex without proper precautions, or having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which can impair judgment. It’s important to be aware of these risks and make informed choices about your sexual activity.
Having multiple sexual partners also increases the risk of STIs and STDs. The more sexual partners you have, the higher the likelihood of encountering someone who may have an infection. It’s important to remember that not all STIs and STDs show obvious symptoms, and some can be transmitted even if a person appears healthy. Therefore, practicing safe sex, such as using condoms, and getting regular screenings if you have multiple partners is crucial.
Having sex young
Starting sexual activity at a young age also poses a higher risk for STIs and STDs. Adolescents and young adults may face challenges such as a lack of sexual education, limited access to healthcare, and higher rates of risky sexual behaviors. It’s important for young people to be educated about safe sex practices, the importance of regular screenings, and the potential risks associated with early sexual activity.
Having sex with someone that has a history of STIs or STDs
Moreover, engaging in sexual activity with individuals who have a history of STIs or STDs can also increase the risk of infection. It’s crucial to have open and honest conversations with your partner(s) about their sexual health history and to practice safe sex, such as using condoms consistently, to reduce the risk of transmission.
Get Screened for Better Reproductive Health!
Getting regular screenings for STIs and STDs is essential. Many STIs and STDs can be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms that can easily be overlooked. Regular screenings, especially if you engage in high-risk sexual behaviors or have multiple sexual partners, can help detect infections early and prevent further transmission. The Tuscarawas County Health Department can help in the following ways:
Call them at (330) 343-5555 x. 1740 or 1810 to make an appointment! Vow to make the change to prioritize your reproductive health: practice safe sex, have open and honest conversations with your partner(s), get regular screenings, and make informed choices about sexual activity. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to STIs and STDs, so take control of your sexual health and stay safe.
The Tuscarawas County Health Department wants you to encourage and practice safe sex and reproductive health screening! Follow along on Facebook (@tchdnow) to stay up to date on the latest news in reproductive health.