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Sexually Transmitted Diseases      
  sexual healing · safe sex · stds

   People are constantly asking us how to find out if a partner has an STD. Well, unless your potential bedmate sports an obvious below-the-belt bump or lesion, or is oozing nasty liquids, there's no way to tell if he or she has an STD. IF there were other signs, then everyone would look for them and there wouldn't be millions of new infections every year.

   Here are the most common one and symptoms. Remember, if you are sexually active you should get tested for chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV and HPV type specific, every six months. If you don't you are putting both you and your partner at risk. AND ALWAYS USE A CONDOM!

Chlamydia-- Chlamydia is transmitted mainly during vaginal or anal sex (unlikely, but possible, during oral sex) Chlamydia is especially dangerous because in women it very often has no symptoms, but if left untreated, it can leave a woman infertile. The disease can cause scarring of the fallopian tubes, sterility, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, or chronic pelvic pain. Burning during urination or an unusual discharge may be the only symptoms. Men with chlamydia usually do experience this burning. It is important that infected men inform all of their recent partners. Chlamydia is easily treated with antibiotics. How Common? 4 million new cases are reported a year; 2.6 million of these are women. Help: CDC National STD Hotline, 800-227-8922.

Genital Warts (HPV)-- The human papillomavirus virus (HPV) causes genital warts, which come in several shapes and sizes. Some look like common warts you might get on your hand or foot; some are as small as a pinhead; some are flat. Genital warts are very common and are spread through skin-to-skin contact. If you or your sexual partner have warts that are visible in the genital area, you should avoid any sexual contact until the warts are treated. Unfortunately for women, warts may be so small they can't be seen, or they may infect the cervix or vaginal walls, making them almost impossible to detect without a doctor. If left untreated, HPV can cause cervical cancer. In men, warts usually appear as bumps on the penis head or shaft, or on the scrotum and can itch. Women may also notice bumps on their labia. Genital warts are a viral infection, so they can come back after the initial treatment. How Common? Approximately five and a half million people are infected with HPV every year in the United States. Help: HPV Prevention Resource Center, 877-HPV-5868.
See some suspicious bumps down there? Soak them in vinegar for a few minutes. If they turn white, they are probably warts; if they don't react, you should still get them checked out by a doctor right away, just to be sure.

Gonorrhea-- Women may have mild or confusing symptoms, or no symptoms at all. Pain in the lower abdomen, unusual discharge, or a urinary tract infection might be the only tip-offs. We must stress that any pain or unusual symptoms involving your reproductive organs should be checked by a doctor--don't wait until it becomes serious. Men might notice a thick discharge from their penises and feel burning during urination. Gonorrhea can infect the throat and be spread through oral-genital contact. It can cause sterility, arthritis, heart problems, and disorders of the central nervous system. In women, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to ectopic pregnancies, or the formation of abscesses. It is treated with antibiotics. How Common? 360,076 new cases in 1999; it's now up 11% among girls 15 to 19. Help: CDC National Hotline, 800-227-8922.

Herpes-- Herpes are a viral infection generally transmitted through sex, but it can also be transmitted through oral-genital contact. Symptoms in men and women include an itching or burning in the genital area, followed within a day or so by the appearance of painful sores on the genitals. Urination may be painful. The sores, during an initial outbreak, can last for a couple weeks. Although nothing can cure herpes, there are effective medications that can reduce the frequency and severity of the outbreaks. With medication and proper diet and exercise, it is possible to go for years without an outbreak. How Common? 45 million Americans are currently infected and there are some 1 million new cases a year. Help: National Herpes Hotline, 919-361-8488.
You can now order herpes medication online. You can buy Acyclovir and Valtrex from an online pharmacy. You can compare prices at

A trial vaccine has been found to reduce chances of getting gential herpes by 75%. The only catch to this as-yet-unavailable cure is that it only works for women who don't get cold sores...

Genital herpes now affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men in the US. A recent study found that using condoms regularly can reduce a woman's chance of getting gential herpes from an infected man by 75%. Forgo oral sex if either one of you has a cold sore-- the oral strain can cause the genital variety as well.

HIV and AIDS-- AIDS is an incurable viral infection that doctors think is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It can be transmitted only through the exchange of bodily fluids such as blood, semen, and vaginal secretions. The disease is ultimately fatal, yet more and more people are living for years with HIV and not becoming ill. They are, however, infectious. HIV antibodies usually appear in the bloodstream three to eight weeks after infection, though it may take up to six months for them to show. How Common? HIV now infects less than one million people in the United States, but close to 34 million people worldwide. Of the nearly 6 million new cases expected this year, only 40,000 will occur in the U.S. Help: CDC AIDS Hotline, 800-342-AIDS. Get Tested: If you don't want to deal with going to a clinic, buy a test online... it comes in a discreet box.

Preliminary research conducted by the UT Medical Branch in Galveston found that 3 vaginal lubricants- Astroglide, Silken Secret, and Vagisil Intimate Moisturizer- significantly reduce the number of HIV-infected cells and free-floating HIV in samples of infected semen. The lubes manage to do this in less than five minutes and continue to fight HIV for eight hours. And since lubricant helps keep a condom from breaking, you have all the more reason to use it!

A new test that's currently on the market can determine in a mere 20 minutes if you have the virus that causes AIDS, thereby eliminating both the long wait and the necessity of a follow-up appointment to find out your status. If the results from this test, known as OraQuick, turn out to be positivie, they must be confirmed by an additional test.

Syphilis-- Syphilis causes rashes and sores on the genitals and elsewhere, and can be transmitted through contact with these rashes or through sexual contact. The symptoms of syphilis go through four stages as the bacteria that cause it spread and develop in the body. In the first stage, a chancre (a circular, painless and firm sore) might appear on the genitals anywhere from 9 to 90 days after infection. It can also appear elsewhere in the body. During the second stage, which occurs weeks to months after infection, rashes on the body may develop then disappear; joints may ache; fever and headache might occur. Rashes indicate that the microbes have traveled through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to every tissue and organ in the body. This can go on for years. Late in the progress of the disease there are no outward symptoms. In the end, syphilis can cause blindness, madness, and death. It can be treated at any time with antibiotics. How Common? Nearly 40,000 new cases were counted last year. Help: CDC National STD Hotline, 800-227-8922.

Want some more information about STD's?
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