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STD Awareness Month: Starting With a Common One—Chlamydia

by Gina Colonette, sexual health blogger


April showers bring May flowers—and STD Awareness. How are you celebrating STD Awareness Month? Hopefully not with an STD! In honor this month’s festivities, let’s dig into STD facts each week. I’m going to get to the most popular one first. It seems chlamydia and gonorrhea are a favorite amongst Americans; let’s start with exhibit C!

There were 1.5 million cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in 2009. New York State came in at No. 10 for total number of chlamydia cases in 2009. I’m not sure congratulations are in order. In 2005 there were 45,391 cases of chlamydia and 63,882 in 2009. The CDC says more people are being tested for chlamydia these days, but that doesn’t seem to be helping the situation.

Chlamydia is very common among people our age, under 26. There are often no symptoms, which is why sexually active women need to be tested every year. Men need to be tested when they have symptoms.

If you do have symptoms they may be one or more of these:

Women

  • Unusual vaginal discharge.
  • Burning while urinating.
  • If you’ve had anal sex there may be bleeding, pain or discharge.

Men

  • Discharge from penis.
  • Burning around the opening of your penis when you urinate.
  • If you’ve received anal sex there may be bleeding, pain or discharge.

On the bright side, this STD is curable with antibiotics. You need to take all of your medicine to wipe it out. If your partner needs to be treated as well, he or she will need another prescription.

If chlamydia is left untreated, it can cause long-term effects in women. It can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Although you may not be interested in pregnancy right now, PID can make it difficult for you to become pregnant. If you are pregnant PID can cause health problems during your pregnancy.

The key to preventing yourself from contracting this STD comes down to three things:

  • Practice abstinence.
  • Don’t have sex with an infected person.
  • Use condoms correctly every time.

You’d think talking about STDs would get old, but not when half of the new STD infections are contracted by people ages 15-24. This disease may be curable but that shouldn’t make you interested in getting it. Keep yourself protected and enjoy STD Awareness Month STD free!

Get on Twitter and learn how you can keep yourself STD free here!

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