Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections you catch through sexual contact. The most common on college campuses include genital warts, chlamydia, and genital herpes.
Most bacterial STDs, like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis, are relatively easy to cure with antibiotics if caught early. Viral STDs, like genital warts, genital herpes, and even AIDS are technically incurable but are controllable.
You do not need to feel guilty, ashamed, or embarrassed if you think you have an STD. But if you do have these feelings, do not let them prevent you from getting treatment. STDs do not go away by themselves, and in many cases relatively quick, painless treatments are available.
No one is immune to STDs. Everyone who is sexually active can get or transmit an STD. It is not who you are that makes you vulnerable to an STD - it is what you do. Reduce your risk by protecting yourself.
Making Sex Safer - What You Can Do
To eliminate risk, abstain form sexual contact (penetrative or touching without penetration). Some STDs, including HPV, HSV, molluscums, and chancroid can be spread by touching - either genital to genital or hand to genital - so massage and mutual masturbation can be risky.
If you are sexually active, you can lower your risks in the following ways:
- Form a monogamous relationship in which you and your partner make an agreement to be faithful sexually and stick to it. Avoid sexual contact (penetrative or touching without penetration) until you are reasonably sure - through testing and examination - that you and your partner are free of STDs. Be aware that there are limitations to the value of testing, as latent bacteria and viruses can be present without visual evidence or even positive testing.
- Use condoms made of latex or polyurethane (not "skins"). While condoms do not provide 100 percent protection, they do provide the best protection now available. If possible, also use a vaginal spermicide containing nonoxynol-9 to create an additional barrier against some STDs. Women who feel hesitant about providing condoms and insisting on their use need to remember that many STDs are more dangerous for them - females have fewer obvious symptoms and a higher risk of health consequences.
- Despite the limitations already noted, include STD testing as part of your regular medical checkup , especially if you have changed partners or have more than one partner. Do not wait for symptoms to appear, as a large percentage of those who have an STD are unaware of any symptoms.
- Learn the common symptoms of STDs (for those that have symptoms), and seek medical help immediately if any suspicious symptoms develop - even mild ones - or if your sexual partner suspects he or she has had contact with an STD.
- Do not use drugs, including alcohol , in potentially intimate situations. Drugs inhibit your ability to make decisions.
Antibiotics and Antivirals
Bacterial STDs are usually treated with an antibiotic. Antiviral medications are available for only a few viral STDs. The treatment will be most effective if you do the following.
- Follow instructions in the prescribed manner.
- Avoid sexual contact until you have completed the entire treatment, even if your symptoms disappear before the treatment is finished.
- Notify your current sexual partner (and any previous partners) so that they can be treated. All partners should be treated at the same time to guard against reinfection.
- AIDS Information for Students, Faculty, and Staff
MTSU Student Health Services urges EVERYONE to become more aware of the number one health problem of the nation.
So You Want To Be Tested for STDs
You should be tested for a sexually transmitted disease if:
- You have: bumps, blisters near your sex organs/rectum, pain in pelvic region, burning or itching in or around sex organs, pain with sex, bleeding between periods, or unusual discharge.
- Your sex partner is being tested or treated for STDs.
- You are between the ages of 18-25, talk with your provider and consider being tested for STDs regularly.
- Had sexual intercourse without protection/condom
- Have had more than 2 partners in last 6 months
- You are an IV drug user.