While needing and having sex is a fact of life, the increasing levels of sexual liberation and tolerance for irresponsible sexual behavior have resulted in the rise of unconventional practices and growing acceptance of sexual orientations that were once considered taboo. This is not to pass judgment to those who prefer to experiment in their sexual affairs, but this liberal attitude and behavior could lead to serious consequences if guidelines to a pleasurable and safe sexual activities are not observed and met. The same is also true with the general public who lacks proper understanding and appreciation of sexual health issues and standards which could lead to neglect their partners’ sexual rights.
A sexual encounter should entail not only physical pleasure but social and moral responsibility. The lack of responsibility for one’s sexual behavior can result in unexpected consequences such as unwanted pregnancy, a situation that may lead to emotional and psychological complications. Engaging in unprotected sex can also expose both sexual partners to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Oftentimes, we judge by mere appearances. However, even the nice, healthy-looking person beside you can be afflicted with a sexually transmitted disease without you or that person knowing it. Though some STDs may produce obvious symptoms, most STDs are asymptomatic infections that do not show noticeable signs and symptoms. Thus, the “silent” infection. These cases are only diagnosed through testing. However, there is no widespread program that requires routine check-up. Moreover, there seems to be a lack of public awareness about the dangers of contracting STDs, even in the age of HIV and AIDS. The social stigma of having or even discussing the subject of STDs keeps people from acquiring more information about STD and other sexual health concerns from their health care professionals.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases are diseases caused by by viruses, bacteria and parasites and can easily be transmitted through body contact during sex. Sometimes, STD takes a long time to display any kind of symptoms. The following are some of the most common STDs that affect sexually active individuals:
Chlamydia is caused by bacterial infection. It is the most common treatable bacterial STD but if not given proper attention may cause serious problems later in life. It often infects the cervix in women while the urethra, rectum and eyes can be infected in both sexes. Symptoms may show up at anytime between 1 to 3 weeks after exposure, or it can also be delayed for indefinite period of time.
Gonorrhea – is a bacterial infection that is sexually transmitted and can infect the cervix, urethra, rectum, anus and throat. Symptoms may show up at anytime between 1 and 14 days after exposure and more noticeable in men than in women. However, it’s possible to have infection without having obvious symptoms.
Crabs or Pubic Lice – are small, crab shaped blood-sucking parasites that live on pubic hair but can also be found wherever there is hair such as in the armpits, on the body and even in facial hair such as eyebrows. Crabs or pubic lice can also survive away from the body. They may be found in clothes, bedding and towels. You can have crabs and not know about it until after 2 to 3 weeks when you experience some itching. Crabs are mainly passed on through body contact during sex, but they can also be passed on through sharing clothes, towels or bedding with someone who has them.
Genital Herpes – is caused by the virus called herpes simplex and affects the mouth, genital area, the skin around the anus, and fingers. After the first outbreak of herpes is over, the virus hides away in the nerve fibers and remains totally undetected without causing any symptom. Symptoms usually appear one to 26 days after exposure and last for two to three weeks. Symptoms include an itching in the genital or anal area, small fluid-filled blisters that can burst and leave small sores which can be very painful, urine discomfort, and a flu-like illness, backache, headache, swollen glands or fever.
Genital Warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), small fleshy growths found anywhere on a man or woman’s genital area, or on different parts of the body, such as the hands and anus. After you have been infected with the genital wart virus, it usually takes between 1 and 3 months for warts to appear on your genitals. They may occur singly or in groups. They may itch, but are usually painless. Often there are no other symptoms. If a woman has warts on her cervix, this may cause slight bleeding or, very rarely, an unusual colored vaginal discharge.
Gut Infections are bacterial infections that can be passed on during sex, causing diarrhea and stomach pains. Infection can be prevented by using condoms, dental dams or latex gloves. Sex toys should be thoroughly cleaned after use and hands washed after any contact with feces. Anti-diarrhea treatments and antibiotics can be used for treatment.
Syphilis – is a common bacterial infection that may also be passed from an infected mother to her unborn child. The signs and symptoms of syphilis can be difficult to recognize and may take up to 3 months to show after having sexual contact with an infected person. The primary and secondary stages are very infectious.
It is very important that STD is detected and treated in order to avoid serious infections which can lead to long-term or permanent damage. Abstinence is the surest thing to avoid STD. The practice of safe sex can greatly help in minimizing risk from STD. Always use condoms during sexual intercourse or other contraceptions. Observe genital hygiene routines, as well as keeping your hands clean at all times. Consult with your professional health care provider for advice on sexual health matters.