Despite heavy campaigns in the 90s and early 2000s about safe sex, instances of many sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, continue to increase. For instance, the state of Rhode Island saw a 79 percent increase in cases of syphilis in the period between 2013 and 2014. Here is what you need to know about STDs, such as syphilis, and what you can do to prevent them.
How Are STDs Contracted?
Sexually transmitted diseases are contracted when a person comes into direct contact with infected body fluids, such as semen and blood. Not only does that mean during anal and vaginal sex, but also oral sex. Mothers who are infected with certain STDs can also impact their unborn children.
If undetected, some STDs could have serious implications over a long-term period. For instance, syphilis can cause heart problems, blindness, and even death.
How Can You Prevent STDs?
The most obvious method of preventing the spread of STDs is to abstain from sex. However, practicing safe sex can help decrease your chances of contracting a disease. Safe sex includes practicing monogamy and using condoms during sex. Condoms and dental dam should also be used during oral sex to prevent the transmission of a disease.
Using lubricants is important. Without the proper lubrication, the integrity of the condom can be compromised and it can tear. Lubricants can be purchased in most pharmacies.
Another method of lowering your risk of contracting STDs is to avoid risky behaviors that can affect your judgment. This can include using excessive amounts of alcohol or engaging in drug usage.
Ideally, you should undergo STD testing at least once a year. STD testing should be considered part of your annual health examinations. Even if you are in a monogamous relationship, it is worth it to be tested. If you are a female, it is also important to undergo regular pelvic examinations. Your gynecologist can recommend how often you should be examined.
Learning the truth about prevention methods is also crucial. Misconceptions about disease prevention can lead to unsafe sexual practices. For instance, the idea that douching immediately after sex will help protect a woman against STDs is one of the most common misconceptions.
Most sexually transmitted diseases are curable, but prevention is best. By taking the necessary precautions now to lower your risk, you can avoid the experience of having to take medications and suffering the symptoms of a disease.