Pregnancy is not the only thing to be concerned about after having sex. STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) are common. Some can be cured. Some cannot. Many have lifelong effects.
HPV (human papillomavirus) is the primary cause of cervical cancer. At least 50 percent of sexually active men and women aquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. Most HPV infections have no signs or symptoms; therefore, most infected people are unaware they are infected, yet they can transmit the virus to a sex partner.
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States. Any sexually active person can be infected with Chlamydia. The greater the number of sex partners, the greater the risk of infection. Because the cervix of teenage girls and young women is not fully matured, they are at particularly high risk for infection.
In women, symptoms of gonorrhea are often mild, but most women who are infected have no symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems.
There are still over 1 million people living with HIV in the United States. About one-fourth of those have not yet been diagnosed and are unaware of their infection.
Sex is a big deal. Know the facts. Make informed decisions. Respect yourself.
Source: Medical Institute (www.medinstitute.org)