When you are a teen and decide to become sexually active, the thoughts leading up to the experience of having sex probably far outweighs the thought of catching a sexually transmitted disease.
You may decide- “it could never happen to me.” Unfortunate for many, the reality and consequences of your decision to be sexually active can become clear very quickly. Have you ever heard the saying- “It only takes once.”? Well the saying is true- it takes once to get pregnant, and it only takes once to catch an STD.
–Only Trashy people get STD’s– You couldn’t be more wrong. STD’s don’t discriminate, whether you are a doctor, trash collector, rich, poor, CEO, or student. If you are engaged in sexual relations, you can get an STD regardless of your position in life.
–If your partner has an STD, you’ll see it– Really? There is often no sign that a person has an STD. Many STD’s aren’t visibly detected even by a doctor without testing for them properly. For women, most of these diseases infect the birth canal, cervix, and uterus without any outward detection possible by a sexual partner. If sexually active women fail to be tested regularly, they could even become infertile due to scar tissue in the birth tract caused by an undetected STD.
–You can avoid STD’s by having oral or anal sex– False! Viruses or bacteria that cause STD’s can enter the body through tiny cuts or tears in the mouth and anus as well as the genitals, while others spread only from skin to skin contact like herpes and HPV.
–Once you’ve had an STD, there’s no chance of getting it again– False! There are many STD’s that you can get more than once like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Remember too, Herpes and HIV are life-long STD’s with no cure.
Simply put, STD’s are physical consequences linked to the commission of sexual sin via pre-marital sex. Keep in mind too that there are also emotional and psychological consequences with this kind of sin that are not covered on this page. When you’ve made the choice to have a sexual relationship, you’ve decided to overlook God’s ways and laws because of the pressure of a boyfriend/girlfriend, lust, desire, or you have been deceived to believe that sex equals love. This is a common mistake for teens, but it is a mistake that can be avoided initially, and even corrected after realizing and enduring the consequences of pre-marital sex. If you are in a sexual relationship and you have decided you want out- and you from this day forward want to follow God’s ways, please see the “Sexually Active” page of this website for further guidance. If you have had sex once, we urge you to be tested as soon as possible. The problems that come with STD’s could effect your entire future, so please, we urge you to see a doctor today. Your health and your future is important to DYP! We will list some resources available to you at the end of this page.
What does God’s Word Say?
There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:18-19 – The Message Translation
-Young people aged 13–24 made up about 17% of all those who received a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS in 2008.
-Although 15–24-year-olds represent only one-quarter of the sexually active population, they account for nearly half (9.1 million) of the 18.9 million new cases of STDs each year.
-Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infections account for about half of STDs diagnosed among 15–24-year-olds each year. HPV is extremely common, often asymptomatic and generally harmless. However, certain types, if left undetected and untreated, can lead to cervical cancer.
-Forty-four percent of females aged 13–19 in 2009 had received one or more doses of the vaccine against HPV; 27% had completed the recommended three doses.
-All 50 states and the District of Columbia explicitly allow minors to consent to STD services without parental involvement, although 11 states require that a minor be of a certain age (generally 12 or 14) to do so. Thirty-one states explicitly include HIV testing and treatment in the package of STD services to which minors may consent.
Additional Statistics and STD Information:
Chlamydia, often misspelt Clamidia, is one of the most commonly reported bacterial sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Global Chlamydia statistics show that an estimated 92 million new chlamydia infections occur each year, affecting more women (50 million) than men (42 million). Chlamydia is caused by the bacterium chlamydia trachomatis. This bacteria can infect the cervix in women and the urethra and rectum in both men and women. Occasionally chlamydia can also affect other parts of the body, including the throat and eyes. Chlamydia often has no symptoms, especially among women. If left untreated, chlamydia can cause serious problems later in life.
Chlamydia Symptoms– usually appear between 1 and 3 weeks after exposure but may not emerge until much later. Chlamydia is known as the “Silent” disease as in many people it produces no symptoms. It is estimated that 70-75% of women infected with Chlamydia are asymptomatic (have no symptoms) and a significant proportion of men also have no symptoms. Those who do have symptoms of Chlamydia may experience the following:
–Female Symptoms– An increase in vaginal discharge caused by an inflamed cervix, the need to urinate more frequently, pain while passing urine, pain during sexual intercourse or bleeding after sex, lower abdominal pains, and irregular menstrual bleeding.
–Male Symptoms– A white/cloudy and watery discharge from the penis that may stain underwear, burning sensation and or pain when passing urine, and pain and swelling in the testicles. Men are more likely to notice Chlamydia symptoms than women, though they too may be asymptomatic.
How is Chlamydia Transmitted?– Unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone that is infected, from a mother to her baby during vaginal childbirth, or by transferring the infection on fingers from the genitals to the eyes, although it is rare for this to happen.
Complications of Chlamydia if left untreated
Female Complications– Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)- an infection of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. PID increases the future risk of ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy outside the womb) or premature birth. If the fallopian tubes are scarred, it can also lead to infertility. Cervicitis- an inflammation of the cervix. Symptoms include yellowish vaginal discharge and pain during sex. In long term Cervicitis the cervix becomes very inflamed and cysts can develop and become infected leading to deep pelvic pain and backache.
Male Complications– Epididymitis- Painful inflammation of the tube system that is part of the testicles which can lead to infertility. Urethritis- inflammation of the urine tube causing yellow or clear pus-like discharge to collect at the tip of the penis. Left untreated it can lead to a narrowing of the urethra which can affect the ability to urinate easily and can potentially cause kidney problems. Reactive Arthritis- symptoms include inflammation of the joints, urethra and eyes.
Herpes is caused by the HSV-1 (orally acquired) and HSV-2 (genitally acquired) viruses. Symptoms usually appear within 2 to 7 days after exposure and last 2 to 4 weeks.
Herpes Symptoms– Both men and women may have one or more symptoms including: itching or tingling sensations in the genital or anal area; Small fluid-filled blisters that burst leaving small painful sores; Pain when passing urine over the open sores (especially in women); Headaches; Backache; Flu like symptoms including swollen glands and fever
Subsequent outbreaks are usually milder and last for a shorter period of time, usually 3 to 5 days. The sores are fewer, smaller, less painful and heal more quickly, and there are no flu-like symptoms. Subsequent outbreaks, or primary outbreaks in people who have had the virus for some time but have previously been asymptomatic, usually occur during periods of stress or illness when the immune system is functioning less efficiently than normal.
How is Herpes Transmitted?– vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex (HSV-1 or HSV-2), kissing (HSV-1 only). Herpes is most infectious during the period when itchy sores start to appear on the skin during an outbreak. But even if an outbreak causes no visible symptoms or breaks in the skin, there is still a risk of the virus being passed on to another person through skin contact. There is no cure for the herpes simplex virus and treatment is not essential, as an outbreak of genital herpes will usually clear up by itself. A doctor may however prescribe a course of antiviral tablets to reduce the severity of an outbreak. The antiviral tablets work by preventing the herpes simplex virus from multiplying. Once the initial outbreak of herpes is over, the virus hides away in the nerve fibers adjacent to the infection site, where it remains dormant, causing no symptoms. It is possible for the dormant virus to be ‘reactivated’ in some people, in which case it travels back down the nerve to the skin surface.
Recurrences of genital herpes vary from person to person in frequency. Some will never experience an outbreak again, whilst others may have milder recurrences more than 6 times a year. Because these recurrent infections are milder, they often do not require treatment. When receiving treatment for genital herpes, the doctor or health advisor will discuss the genital herpes infection and answer any questions. They will also want to know about any partners the patient has had sexual contact with within a recent period, as they will also be at risk of having genital herpes and should be tested.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
Genital warts, caused by some types of HPV (human papilloma virus), can appear on the skin anywhere in the genital area as white or flesh-colored, smooth, small bumps, or larger, fleshy, cauliflower-like lumps. There are more than 100 different subtypes of HPV, and around 30 of them specifically affect the genitals. Other HPV subtypes cause warts to grow on different parts of the body, such as the hands. Not everyone infected with HPV will develop genital warts. Some people will be infected with a strain that does not produce warts, or they will remain asymptomatic (i.e. no warts will appear), even though the virus is present in the skin or mucous membranes around the genital area, or on the cervix in women. Those who do go on to develop genital warts will usually notice them 1 to 3 months after initial infection.
HPV Symptoms: If symptoms do appear then the infected person may notice pinkish/white small lumps or larger cauliflower-shaped lumps on the genital area. Genital warts can appear on or around the penis, the scrotum, the thighs or the anus. In women genital warts can develop around the vulva or inside the vagina and on the cervix. If a woman has warts on her cervix, this may cause slight bleeding or, very rarely, an unusual colored vaginal discharge. Warts may occur singly or in groups. The warts may itch, but they are usually painless. Sometimes genital warts can be difficult to spot. In severe cases, it is possible for genital warts to spread from the genitals to the area around the anus, even if anal intercourse has not occurred.
Occasionally, people can confuse skin problems caused by other STDs (such as genital herpes, syphilis or molluscum) with genital warts. Other people may become very worried because they mistake perfectly normal and non-infectious lumps and bumps for genital warts. Conditions that may be confused with genital warts include:
–Pearly penile papules – small white or skin-coloured bumps that, when numerous, appear in a ring around the edge of the head of the penis. More rarely, similar papules may be found on the vulva.
–Angiokeratomas – bright red or purple spots that look a little like blood blisters.
–Sebaceous glands (also known as ‘Fordyce spots’) – hard white, yellowish or skin-coloured little bumps that may be found all over the skin of the penis and scrotum in men, and the vulva in women. Sebaceous glands produce a substance called sebum, which keeps the skin healthy.
–Pimples or spots – caused by blocked sebaceous glands. Pimples and spots can form just as easily around the genital area as they do on the face, and may become sore and inflamed in a similar way.
How is HPV Transmitted?– Genital HPV is transmitted by genital skin-to-skin contact, or through the transfer of infected genital fluids. This is usually during vaginal or anal sex, but it is also possible to pass it on through non-penetrative sexual activity. In rare circumstances, a woman can pass HPV on to her baby during vaginal child birth.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrheoae. Gonorrhea affects both men and women and can infect the cervix, urethra, rectum, anus and throat. Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and the global gonorrhea statistics show that an estimated 62 million cases of gonorrhea occur each year, affecting more women than men. Gonorrhea is easily curable but if left untreated it can cause serious health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to abdominal pain and ectopic pregnancy in women. Untreated, gonorrhea can also lead to infertility, meningitis and septicaemia.
Gonorrhea Symptoms– Symptoms of gonorrhea infection may appear 1 to 14 days after exposure, although it is possible to be infected with gonorrhea and have no symptoms. Men are far more likely to notice symptoms as they are more apparent. It is estimated that nearly half of the women who become infected with gonorrhea experience no symptoms, or have non-specific symptoms such as a bladder infection.
Female Symptoms– A change in vaginal discharge; it may appear in abundance, change to a yellow or greenish color, and develop a strong smell; A burning sensation or pain whilst passing urine; Irritation and/or discharge from the anus.
Male Symptoms– A white or yellow discharge from the penis; A burning sensation or pain whilst passing urine; Irritation and/or discharge from the anus.
How is Gonorrhea Transmitted?– Gonorrhea is passed on through penetrative sex, including: vaginal sex; anal sex; oral sex – oral sex can either transmit gonorrhea from the genitals to the throat of the person giving the stimulation, or it can pass an infection from the throat to the genitals of the person receiving stimulation.
Female Complications– Gonorrhea can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), an inflammation of the fallopian tubes (the tubes along which an egg passes to get to the womb), which increases the future risk of ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy outside the womb) or premature birth. If a woman is pregnant and has gonorrhea when giving birth, the infection may be passed on to her child. The baby could be born with a gonoccocal eye infection, which must be treated with antibiotics as it can cause blindness. It is better for the woman to get treatment before giving birth.
Male Complications– Gonorrhea can cause painful inflammation of the testicles and the prostate gland, potentially leading to epididymitus, which can cause infertility. Without treatment, a narrowing of the urethra or abscesses can develop after time. This causes considerable pain and problems whilst urinating.
Note: Once gonorrhea has been successfully treated it will not come back unless the person becomes reinfected.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidium. The infection is usually sexually transmitted, in which case it is called venereal syphilis. It may also be passed from an infected mother to her unborn child, in which case it is known as congenital syphilis. Syphilis has been uncommon since penicillin become widely available in the 1950s, although global syphilis statistics show that an estimated 12 million new infections still occur each year
Syphilis Symptoms– The symptoms of syphilis are the same in men and women. They can be mild and difficult to recognize or distinguish from other STDs. Symptoms may take up to 3 months to appear after initial infection. Syphilis is a slowly progressing disease that has several stages. The primary and secondary stages of syphilis are very infectious.
Primary stage of Syphilis– One or more painless ulcers (know as chancres) appear at the place where the syphilis bacteria entered the body. On average, this will be 21 days after sexual contact with an infected person. Chancres may be difficult to notice and are highly infectious. The usual locations for chancres are: On the vulva (outside the vagina) or on the cervix (neck of the womb) in women; On the penis in men; Around the anus and mouth (both sexes). Without treatment, the ulcers take between 2 and 6 weeks to heal. If the infection is not treated at this point then it will progress to the secondary stage.
Secondary stage of Syphilis– If the infection has not been treated, the secondary stage of syphilis will usually occur from 3 to 6 weeks after the appearance of chancres. The symptoms often include: A flu-like illness, a feeling of tiredness and loss of appetite, accompanied by swollen glands (this can last for weeks or months); A non-itchy rash covering the whole body or appearing in patches; Flat, warty-looking growths on the vulva in women and around the anus in both sexes; White patches on the tongue or roof of the mouth; Patchy hair loss. During this stage syphilis is very infectious and may be sexually transmitted to a partner. These symptoms will usually clear up within a few weeks, but may re-occur for years. Treatment at any time during the first two stages of syphilis will cure the infection.
Latent and tertiary stages of Syphilis– If a person infected with syphilis has not received treatment during the first two stages of the disease then it will progress to the latent stage. The person will no longer experience any symptoms of the earlier stages, but their infection can still be diagnosed with a blood test. If left untreated, the infection may develop into symptomatic late syphilis, also known as the tertiary stage. This usually develops after more than 10 years and is often very serious. It is at this stage that syphilis can affect the heart and possibly the nervous system. If treatment for syphilis is given during the latent stage the infection can be cured. However, any heart or nervous-system damage that occurred before the start of treatment may be irreversible.
How is Syphilis Transmitted?– Syphilis can be transmitted through direct contact with a syphilis sore. The methods of transmission are: By having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the infection; From a mother to her unborn baby. Note- Syphilis cannot be passed on by sharing baths, toilets, towels or eating utensils.
Congenital Syphilis– Syphilis can infect a baby in the womb if the mother’s infection is not treated. This is know as congenital syphilis. If a baby becomes infected then there is a high risk of stillbirth or miscarriage. A newborn baby may not display any obvious symptoms of syphilis, but may develop serious complications within weeks if the disease is not treated. In many countries, blood tests for syphilis are given to all pregnant women when they visit antenatal clinics. Women may also be offered other tests for other STDs, such as an HIV test when pregnant. If a woman is found to be infected with syphilis, treatment can safely be given during pregnancy with no risk to the unborn baby.
Hepatitis B is similar to hepatitis A in its symptoms, but is more likely to cause chronic long-term illness and permanent damage to the liver if not treated. The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is very common worldwide, with more than 350 million people infected. Those with long term HBV are at high risk of developing liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.
How is Hepatitis B Transmitted?– Hepatitis B is most frequently passed on through the exchange of bodily fluids with an infected person. HBV is estimated to be 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV. HBV can be spread in the following ways: By unprotected (without a condom) penetrative sex (when the penis enters the anus, vagina or mouth) with someone who is infectious. Also by sex that draws blood with someone who is infected; By sharing contaminated needles or other drug-injecting equipment; By using non-sterilized equipment for tattooing, acupuncture or body piercing; From an infected mother to her baby, most commonly during delivery. Immunization of the baby at birth prevents the transmission of hepatitis B; Through a blood transfusion in a country where blood is not screened for blood-borne viruses such as HBV.
Hepatitis B cannot be spread through sneezing, coughing, hugging or coming in contact with the faeces of someone who is infected.
Hepatitis B Symptoms– Many people who become infected with HBV experience mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, but they may still carry the infectious virus and pass it on to others. When symptoms do appear they are similar to those of hepatitis A and may include: A short, mild, flu-like illness; nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; loss of appetite; weight loss; jaundice (yellow skin and whites of eyes, darker yellow urine and pale faeces); itchy skin. If symptoms become severe then a person with hepatitis B may be admitted to hospital. Most adults infected with the hepatitis B virus fully recover and develop life-long immunity. Between 2% and 10% of individuals infected as adults will become chronic carriers, which means they will be infectious to others and can develop chronic liver damage. Infected children, especially newborn babies, are much more likely to become chronic carriers.
Hepatitis Complications– If a person lives with hepatitis B infection for a number of years then they may develop the following complications: chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, liver cancer
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV is a virus. Viruses such as HIV cannot grow or reproduce on their own, they need to infect the cells of a living organism in order to replicate (make new copies of themselves). The human immune system usually finds and kills viruses fairly quickly, but HIV attacks the immune system itself – the very thing that would normally get rid of a virus. With around 2.6 million people becoming infected with HIV in 2009, there are now an estimated 33.3 million people around the world who are living with HIV, including millions who have developed AIDS.
What is the connection between HIV and AIDS? AIDS is caused by HIV damaging the immune system cells until the immune system can no longer fight off other infections that it would usually be able to prevent. If left untreated, it takes around ten years on average for someone with HIV to develop AIDS. However, this average is based on the person with HIV having a reasonable diet, and someone who is malnourished may well progress from HIV to AIDS more rapidly.
How is HIV Transmitted?– HIV is found in the blood and the sexual fluids of an infected person, and in the breast milk of an infected woman. HIV transmission occurs when a sufficient quantity of these fluids get into someone else’s bloodstream. There are various ways a person can become infected with HIV: Unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person: Sexual intercourse without a condom carries the risk of HIV infection; Contact with an infected person’s blood: If sufficient blood from somebody who has HIV enters someone else’s body, then HIV can be passed on in the blood; Use of infected blood products: Many people in the past have been infected with HIV by the use of blood transfusions and blood products which were contaminated with the virus. In much of the world this is no longer a significant risk, as blood donations are routinely tested for HIV; Injecting drugs: HIV can be passed on when injecting equipment that has been used by an infected person is then used by someone else. In many parts of the world, often because it is illegal to possess them, injecting equipment or works are shared; From mother to child: HIV can be transmitted from an infected woman to her baby during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding.
Certain groups of people, such as injecting drug users, sex workers, prisoners, and men who have sex with men have been particularly affected by HIV. However, HIV can infect anybody, and everyone needs to know how they can and can’t become infected with HIV.
HIV symptoms– Some people experience a flu-like illness, develop a rash, or get swollen glands for a brief period soon after they become infected with HIV. However, these are also common symptoms of other less serious illnesses, and do not necessarily mean that a person has HIV. Often people who are infected with HIV don’t have any symptoms at all. It is important to remember that a person who has HIV can pass on the virus immediately after becoming infected, even if they feel healthy. It’s not possible to tell just by looking if someone has been infected with HIV.
The only way to know for certain if someone is infected with HIV is for them to be tested.
If you are currently sexually active, we strongly encourage you to be tested immediately for STD’s. If you don’t protect your health, no one else will. Below are Private STD Testing Centers, Please call today!
Testing in 4 Easy Steps:
1. Order Your Test (Call StressFree STD Testing to order your test 1-877-605-3590)
2. Take Your Test (Visit one of the five patient service centers)
3. Receive Your Results (Receive your results on-line within 24-72 hours)
4. Consultation (Review your results with a staff Registered Nurse)
At the StressFree STD Testing link above, you are able to find testing centers in most major cities of the USA. Just click on the link, and other city links can be found in the right hand margin.