Since the 1960s, society has become more comfortable with promiscuous sexual encounters, which has driven up the amount of people infected with sexually transmitted diseases. Some diseases require very little treatment to eliminate, whereas others are lifelong conditions. Educating yourself about the most commonly-occurring STIs is the first step towards prevention.
Anogenital warts are small bumps that appear around the infected individual’s genitals and anus. Over 100 strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) can cause warts, so you are very likely to come in contact with this STI at some point. Infection starts with sexual contact, but you may not see evidence of warts for weeks or months after the original interaction. Most of the time, warts will not cause discomfort, but they are very contagious. To treat warts, you can choose from a number of chemical or physical treatments, which will eliminate the outbreak for good.
Chlamydia is an infection that is caused by bacteria, called Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia is transmitted through semen or vaginal fluids of a person who has chlamydia. Symptoms that men should watch out for include pain while urinating, penile discharge, and pain in relation to the penis. Treatment should begin quickly to avoid further spread, but you will also need to notify any sexual partners you have had within the last six months about your diagnosis, allowing them to be treated quickly. Once treated, chlamydia is cured, until you have sex with someone else that has the bacteria.
Herpes is spread through skin-to-skin contact with any area of the body of an infected person. There are two types of herpes strains; type 1 affects the mouth, genitals, and other parts of the body, whereas type 2 only causes genital herpes. Herpes never goes away, but outbreaks can be treated. If you are having an outbreak, avoid sexual activities with your partner. However, even without an outbreak, you can still pass along the virus to your partner.
How to Protect Yourself
With over half a million people in the UK suffering from some type of STD or STI, you should know how to protect yourself from becoming infected. First, you should have full disclosure with your partner, with an open line of communication about each other’s sexual history. Secondly, if you choose to take someone home for sexual activity, whether it is a one-night stand or a long-term relationship, wear a condom. In the event you think you may have contracted an STI, visit your local health clinic or doctor immediately for testing.