Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) is a broad term for a set of infections or conditions. The term STD is also used to refer to a specific set of diseases. There are over 100 STDs. Some STDs can have multiple causes, making them hard to treat at times. It is estimated that well over half of all STDs occur in women. To promote sexual health, the National Prevention Strategy and Healthy People program advocate increasing access to STD treatment, emphasizing sexual health awareness and promoting regular screening for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV/AIDS.
Sexual Transmitted Diseases in Women
To determine whether a woman has an STD, a physician will usually order a brief pelvic exam and ask questions about sexual history. Along with asking questions about sexual history, doctors will also look for indicators of other conditions that may be related to the current condition. Doctors could not always accurately diagnose STD; in some instances, they could miss the infection, leading to an untreated condition.
Newer testing methods allow doctors to more confidently screen for STD. Because of the sensitivity of STDs, it is often difficult for some women to discuss their personal sexual history with clinicians. Most clinics offer STD services to patients free of charge; however, not all offer this same level of service to all patients. In addition, since many STDs affect women mostly at reproductive age, not all clinics offer STD exams or treatment. Some only provide treatment, such as HIV/AIDS. Because of this uneven distribution of services, many women may go undiagnosed for months or even years.
Most women do not contract HIV, but women can be infected with STDs even when they are not pregnant or trying to become pregnant. An estimated 53% of women get infected with HPV during pregnancy, and nearly half of pregnant women develop some form of STDs. Syphilis is also highly prevalent in pregnant women, especially in black women. However, STD rates decline significantly in women after delivery because their babies usually have the infection waned out by the time they give birth. Numerous other sexually transmitted diseases affect both men and women, including Chlamydia in males and females, Hepatitis B in males and females, and genital herpes in both genders.
Sexual Transmitted Diseases in Men
Men, too, face some confidentiality concerns regarding STD. Men who have sex with other men (MSM) are particularly affected by stigma and stereotyping. Some men do not want to disclose their status, risking rejection from their female partner or employers. However, recent advancements in STD prevention and treatment have resulted in greater awareness among men regarding STDs. Many MSM provides STD testing and treatment, and several even offer STD diagnosis and STD prevention.
Men have a slightly higher risk of contracting many STDs than women. However, men can still contract some STDs, such as genital warts. The majority of STD’s are transfer through sexual intercourse. Men can also spread hepatitis B and HIV through sexual intercourse. Unfortunately, men are rarely diagnosed with these diseases, making treatment more difficult for them.
Men can contract gonorrhea through unprotected sex, and there is a greater prevalence of gonorrhea in women than in men. Gonorrhea is one of the most common STD. A person must have an initial infection before he can be diagnosed with gonorrhea. If left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to severe complications such as infertility and polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS for women. In the United States, is the leading cause of gonorrhea infection in men, with nearly half of all newly diagnosed gonorrhea cases being male.
STD Healthcare Providers
Sexual healthcare providers deal with many sexual health issues daily. Sexual healthcare providers work closely with patients and their partners to address the needs of specific sexual health issues, ranging from bacterial vaginosis to prostate cancer. Because these issues affect both men and women, they work with partners to create individualized treatment plans. STD treatment is available for both men and women. STD treatment often involves both prescription medications and medical procedures.
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