The last thing you need during the COVID-19 quarantine is concerns over whether you have contracted a sexually transmitted infection or disease (STI/STD). With all this extra time on your hands, it’s natural to start having low levels of anxiety about health concerns.
Maybe you have heard how common some sexually transmitted infections and diseases can be. According to We Ascend, 50% of all new STIs/STDs are found among young adults, even though they only represent 25% of the sexually experienced population. The annual number of new infections is roughly equal among young men and young women, but women bear the burden of most of the negative consequences of STIs/STDs.
We don’t want you to worry. A Woman’s Place Medical Clinic is here to empower you with information and support you. Let’s start with the basics. Here are the most common questions we are hearing right now from women, along with our honest, transparent answers.
What puts me at risk for STI/STDs?
STIs and STDs are transmitted through sexual contact and are caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. There is a wide variety of sexually transmitted infections and diseases. They are all treated differently, so it’s essential to know which STI/STD you may have.
Most STIs/STDs are present without any symptoms, which makes it difficult for women to know they are infected. However, other STI/STDs can be very painful.
The five most common STIs/STDs among teen girls are:
What if I suspect I have an STI/SDI during the COVID-19 shutdown?
While many other clinics have closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, A Woman’s Place Medical Clinic has remained open for limited medical appointments. We’re operating first with a telehealth consultation. When you call one of our local clinics, you can talk to a staff member about your concerns.
The Center for Disease Control recommends that all sexually active people receive STI/STD testing and get treatment right away if the test is positive. Our medical clinic is always free to women who need our services, and we are happy to start with a phone consultation with you at no charge. If we feel you may have an STI/STD, we will refer you for a safe, private appointment at our clinic nearest you for an in-person examination.
How would I treat an STI/STD?
Treatment for STI/STDs vary depending on the type. Both you and your partner need to get tested and treated before having any further intimate contact to know for sure that neither of you has an STI/STD. This is one of the most reliable ways to avoid STIs.
No matter what type of STI/STD you may have, treatment will include the practice of abstinence to avoid spreading the disease to others.
How can I prevent an STI/STD?
The surest way to avoid spreading and contracting STI/STDs is to practice abstinence. This means not having vaginal, oral, or anal sex. To eliminate all risks of contracting or spreading STIs/STDs requires being 100% abstinent from sexual activity.
Not only does abstinence eliminate physical threats, but it also helps to eliminate the mental, emotional, and socioeconomic consequences of casual sexual activity. Abstinence is the only way to avoid the psychological, emotional, and physical risks that come from sex outside of the parameters of a committed relationship.
Before you say, “Abstinence? That’s so old school!” realize this:
When abstinence is implemented for smoking, alcohol abuse, and drug use, it has proven to be a successful approach; yet, it is frowned upon by much of society when it comes to sex. In the book Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children, Dr. Freda McKissic Bush’s research concluded that the chemicals released in the brain during sex are as addictive as other substances. If that is true, then it stands to reason that refraining from sex is the best option for the wellbeing of women (and men).
Doesn’t safe sex prevent STI/STD?
The term “safe sex” is misleading. Sometimes even when practicing safe sex, you can still get an STI/STD. While some infections are carried in body fluids like semen, vaginal fluids, and blood, others can be passed just from skin-to-skin touching with an infected body area.
What if I test positive for an STI/STD?
Not to worry. Many STI/STDs are curable, and all are treatable. It’s important to talk to a medical professional if you think you might have an STI to learn when you should seek testing and treatment.
Call us for a telehealth consultation for a telehealth consultation and learn more about reducing your risk of contracting an STD or STI. We are happy to talk with you about healthy relationships and how to move forward after diagnosis. Your visit and test results will be held in strict confidence.
*Young adults stats from We Ascend: https://weascend.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Quick-Facts-2019-1.pdf?x51996
CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey | Data Summary and Trends Report