Venereal diseases are referred to as Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that transmitted through sexual intercourse with another infected partner. Hence a person with no signs of being infected may transmit and potentially infect others putting the rest in danger (Cook & Larson, 2007). There are many means of transmitting the disease and the commonly known STDs include AIDS, gonorrhea, genital herpes, Chlamydia, and syphilis.
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Many STDs are transmitted through mucous membranes because they allow pathogens into the blood. Since the head of a penis is a mucous membrane, it can be able to transmit pathogens unlike the skin making the probability of one getting an STD through unprotected sex much higher than non sexual contact such as shaking hands, coughing, sneezing, or hugging. This is because the germs that cause STDs die quickly outside the human body (Cook & Larson, 2007). Although mucus membranes are in the mouth, it's not easy for one to get an infection but on the other hand one can get an infection through oral sex because of the genital fluids. Herpes simplex and HPV are the only exceptions that can be transmitted through direct skin. A person is capable of spreading the disease depending on the type of STD even if the symptoms are not visible. For instance, one can spread Herpes through blisters. The risk of getting a transmitted disease is therefore determined by the individual's sexual behaviors that involve bodily fluids (Cook & Larson, 2007). It's impossible to contract a sexually transmitted disease from a person who does not have the disease. Also, during pregnancy the mother can transmit an STD to her child through breastfeeding often causing serious and life-threatening complications for the infant. Doctors advocate the use of condoms as a reliable way of reducing the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease but the only absolute way is abstinence. Some viral diseases like AIDS and hepatitis B are spread by direct exposure to infected blood (Shafer & Moscicki, 2006). They can be transmitted by way of sexual contact or through nonsexual means such as the sharing of needles for drug use.
Despite therapeutic and diagnosis advances, sexually transmitted diseases still remain high in many places in the world. Traditional sexual restraints, especially in women have been eliminated by the ever charging sexual moves and the general use of contraceptives. In addition, both the physicians and the patients have a difficult time in openly dealing with sexual issues and the fact that funding for the control of the STDs is uniformly inadequate. Another issue is that people have been misusing antibiotics and thus creating drug resistance bacteria.
This has particularly led to a serious problem in the United States because of the Sexually transmitted diseases issues. Under the Institute of Medicine, which is an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, it states that STDs are prevalent and if this tread continues it will constitute to a "hidden epidemic". This is brought about by the fact that majority of the Americans have the lack of enthusiasm in that they do not openly address their problems regarding sexual health issues. America is now experiencing the highest number of STD infection in the industrialized world with about 12 million new cases on a yearly basis and that translates to a staggering $17 billion in health care costs each year.
The most commonly found sexually transmitted disease in the United States is Chlamydia. It's a bacterial infection that is affecting at least four million Americans annually and is one of several STDs that if left untreated can lead to infertility and death because it causes inflammation in a woman's reproductive tract. The various types of STDs have different effects for example; Genital herpes creates discomfort and blistering while the human papilloma virus may cause cervical cancer while AIDS impairs the body's immune system. The youth are the most vulnerable to the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases because they account for 3 million cases reported of STDs annually. This adds up to the fact that one out of every four sexually active teenagers acquires a new STD each year and this makes the women to be at a much greater risk. The treatment and prevention measures in place are somewhat limited because the sexually transmitted diseases are becoming resistant to antibiotics and hence making them (Antibiotics) futile against viral STDs. Health measures are in place to provide measures that will prevent the spread of STDs for there are vaccinations for STDs that are still in the research stage. Sexual behaviors should be promoted so that they can reduce risky sexual activities among the youth.
The effective way of preventing any sexual transmission is by avoiding any contact that will lead to the transfer of infected blood or any sexual activity with an infected person, but abstinence remains the most effective way. Therefore, sexually active partners should get tested for STIs before being intimate with each other. Prevention is the key in avoiding diseases that are incurable such as HIV & herpes because they establish permanent infections on the immune system. Thus engaging in sexually activities with multiple partners is risky because condoms sometimes do break. Those that advocate for abstinence criticize sex education in schools for including the term "safe sex," arguing that it is misleading in that it gives the youth a false sense of security about sex rather than discourage them from indulging in sexual activity. Therefore, abstinence does eliminate the risk of getting pregnant and contracting diseases and hence majority of people agree that the best way of preventing sexually transmitted diseases is by abstinence. Also, indulging sexual activities at an early age and with prostitutes generally increases one's chances of contracting STDs. According to Debra W. Haffner on the issue of Sexuality Information, she is of the idea that the U.S. education council should not only embrace abstinence but other forms of preventing STD because many Americans are engaging in sexual activities. Studies carried out set the average age of an American teenager when they do experience their first intercourse as sixteen years old while two-thirds of the seniors are sexually experienced prior to graduation.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases do reflect the differences between those who highlight sexual restraint and those who emphasize condom use as a method of risk reduction. Hence the issue of condoms and abstinence has been controversial among the educators and health activists. When condoms are used properly they act as a barrier in the areas that they cover and thus leaving the uncovered areas prone to many STI's. But in the case of HIV; the sexual transmission routes involve the penis mostly because HIV cannot spread through unbroken skin. When a condom is properly worn, it will shield the penis from the anus and vagina effectively thus stopping HIV transmission. Condoms may do little to prevent transmission of viruses like Herpes and HPV which invade the skin and mucous membranes. Therefore condoms are designed, manufactured, and tested to never fail if used properly so long as they are latex since there hasn't been any documented case of an HIV transmission caused by an improperly manufactured condom.
The following steps must therefore be observed in order to prevent a condom from bursting; one should not put the condom on too tight at the tip so as to leave room for ejaculation which is approximately 1.5 cm (3/4 inch). Failure to adhere to this may cause the condom to snug. When a condom is worn too loose it can slip off and fail to act as a barrier. Also by avoiding spilling of a condom that has already been worn whether one has ejaculated or not, even for a second, is a good preventative measure for STDs. Condoms that are made of substances other than latex, should be avoided as they do not protect against HIV infection.
Lastly the use of oil based lubricants should be completely avoided because oil eats holes in the latex condoms thus placing one in the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. The above guidelines perpetuate the common misconception that condoms aren't tested and that one can get an infection when using a condom. In order to best protect oneself and the partner from STI's, the old condom and its contents should be assumed to be still infectious and should therefore be properly disposed of. A new condom should be used for each act of intercourse, as multiple usage increases the chances of breakage, defeating the primary purpose as a barrier.
In conclusion sexually transmitted diseases should be avoided at all cost because they are cause of misery in the lives that they affect and in case one is affected it is important to consult a physician immediately.
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