Health: Sexual health is the best protection against STDs

By Elizabeth Slayton/Franklin CountyHealth Department, Published:

Increasing numbers of some sexually transmitted diseases give reason as to why sexual health is a very important topic to discuss. Having sexual health can help a person avoid having complications such as contracting a sexually transmitted disease. As it is with most things, prevention is easier than the cure.

STDs can be transmitted by oral, vaginal, or anal sex, and they cause infections in the rectum, mouth and sex organs. Some of these diseases may cause sexual and reproductive organs to be infected while others can cause a general body infection. If left untreated, some STDs can cause damage to reproductive organs, infertility and passage to your partner.

People with STDs may or may not present with symptoms; many people have no symptoms with their STD. There are things to watch for in regards to these diseases. Symptoms that women may experience include: pelvic pain, vaginal burning or itching, vaginal bleeding that is not a period and a rare vaginal discharge or smell.

Men may experience a discharge from the penis. Both sexes may experience frequent urination, burning during urination, flu-like symptoms, and sores around the rectum, mouth or sex organs.

If a person is experiencing symptoms, it is important to get checked for a STD; it will not heal itself. For a person to be able to heal they must get treated; some STDs can be cured while others cannot, but they all should be treated. The majority of health departments have STD clinics; private providers also treat STDs. Antibiotics can treat many STDs.

There are things that can be done to help prevent an STD. The most preventative thing that can be done is not having sex. To help prevent acquiring an STD when having sex, it is important to use a latex condom that has a water-based lubricant.

Knowing symptoms of STDs is important to be able to recognize if your partner has them. If your partner has STDs, it is important to wait until after the treatment has been given and the recommended wait time has passed.

The Franklin County Health Department offers services for STD testing and examinations as well as the medications needed to treat an infection. The clinic is located at 100 Glenns Creek Rd. The phone number is 502-564-7647. Same day appointments are available and all walk-in patients may speak to a nurse immediately. 

More information can be accessed from the Center for Disease Control at 800-232-4636. 

Souces: Mehring, P. (2009) Sexually transmitted infections; Porth, C. M., & Matfin, G. (2009); Pathophysiology: Concepts of altered health states (8th ed.; pp. 1166-1180), Philadelphia: Lippincott; and Hiatt, J., Clark, K., and Nelson, M. (2009). STD facts brochure, ETR Associates.

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