Weekly Wellness

Weekly Wellness

by Laura Dillavou

Honesty is an important quality, especially when it comes toyour sexual health. By being open and honest with your partner, youeliminate any elements of negative surprises, such as a sexuallytransmitted disease. There are many different types of STDs outthere, some more common than others. The following is a compilationof four popular STDs. All information is from http://www.cdc.gov, awebsite from the Center of Disease Control about genital herpes,syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV.

Genital Herpes

Affecting over 45 million people, genital herpes is spread byskin to skin contact, or by saliva. There are two types, HSV-1 andHSV-2. A sign for HSV-1 would be small blisters around the mouth.The carrier for HSV-2 can have very indiscriminate signs of thedisease, such as a few sores on or around the genital or rectumarea. Physicians can identify the disease by sight, blood tests, orby a sample.


This disease has three stages, each with a more negative effecton the body than the last. Syphilis can be spread by oral, anal, orvaginal sex. When in the first stages, it is very hard to identify,because of the few visible symtoms. This is when it is most likelyto be transfered. Early signs include small sores, known aschancres that appear around the genitals and anus. Later signsinclude a reddish-brown rash and physical ailments, such asheadaches, weight loss and tiredness.The good news is that syphiliscan be treated with a single shot of penicillin, if caught withinthe first year of infection. For a disease with so many sideeffects, the treatment is one of the most simple out there.


A disease with long term effects is gonorrhea. This disease,transmitted through oral, anal, and vaginal sex, can have verysevere effects on the health of the infected individuals,especially women. Some of the effects of untreated gonorrhea arepelvic inflammatory disease, tubal infertility, ectopicpregnancies, and chronic pelvic pain. Alarmingly, the primecarriers for this disease are females between the ages of 15-19 andmales between 20-24. The Center for Disease Control sees thehighest rates in urban and southern areas. The easiest way to helpprevent spreading this disease is by using a condom. Sincegonorrhea is spread through bodily fluid, not contact, the use of acondom greatly reduces the contact and spread of disease-carryingorganisms.


HIV, the most severe STD, is a disease that has plagued Americafor the last two decades. HIV, spread through sexual contact, iseven more dangerous when paired with a STD. Those who have an STDare two to five times more likely to acquire HIV, and those withHIV, when infected with an STD, have a greater chance of passing onthe virus to another person.

Obviously, there are many preventative measures that the nationhas taken on this issue, including public awareness, HIV educationin schools, and free testing at some health centers. Although thereis no cure for HIV, early treatment through many combinations ofdrugs can help slow the disease to the point of AIDS. Currently,HIV/AIDS has claimed almost one million lives around the world.(aegis.com)

The most obvious way to avoid these sexually transmitteddiseases, and many others, is to completely abstain from sexualactivity. For the many who don’t consider that an option,contraceptives, like the female and male condoms are the mosteffective tool in combating the spread of infection.

The most important thing to remember is to be honest with yourpartner. They have the right to know. If the tables were turned,knowing beforehand could have prevented you from getting thedisease, you should give them that option.

If you are concerned that you may have contracted a STD, centerslike Planned Parenthood offer testing at a low cost.Take care ofyour sexual health, because it’s one thing you will never getback!