Physicians Series Brochure: STDs

YES, WHEN TWO PEOPLE HAVE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE, they are having intercourse with everyone with whom they both have ever had intercourse, because many sexually transmitted diseases have no symptoms and are very difficult – if not impossible – to cure. SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES (STDs) are increasing in the U.S. and many are at epidemic proportions. Most are spread by sexual intercourse, oral sex and anal sex. Many STDs can seriously damage you forever. People who have one STD generally have acquired more than one and have dramatically increased their chances of acquiring HIV. The best way to avoid contracting STDs is to avoid sexual activity outside a faithful monogamous marriage.   The STD rate among teenagers and young adults is high. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that two-thirds of all STD cases occur among persons under 25 years of age (Hidden Epidemic, 1996). Many of these diseases cause long-term, adverse effects. Women’s health and future ability to bear children can be jeopardized. More babies are born with birth defects from STDs than all the children stricken with polio in the 1950s (Hager H. Gayle, MD, MPH, Dir. CDC Center for HIV/STD, 1/98).   The CDC report that STDs infect 3 million teens or more each year because many cases of STDs among teens go unreported. 80 percent of those STD-infected have no symptoms and may not realize they are infected (Safe Sex, J. McIlhaney, MD). Teens compose 10% of the population but contract 25% of the STDs each year (MISH, 7/97). Between 100,000 and 150,000 American women become sterile each year because of STD-related infections (American Social Health Association, 1994; CDC, 1994 Annual Report). There...