April is STD Awareness Month, a critical time to raise awareness about sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs (also known as sexually transmitted diseases) are infections that can be spread by sexual contact with another person. With the exception of common colds and the flu, STIs are the most common contagious infections in the US, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Some STIs can cause serious health concerns if not properly diagnosed and treated. So, in the spirit of patient education and awareness, our gynecological healthcare providers wanted to share some tips about how common STIs can be prevented.
- Understand that your partner’s sexual history is as important as your own when trying to prevent STIs. The more partners you or your partner(s) have, the higher your risk of developing an STI will be.
- Having safe sex is essential, as any unprotected sexual contact with an infected person poses a very high risk of getting an STI. Use a latex condom during sex and make sure that it is being used properly. Despite popular belief, condoms that are lubricated with spermicides do not offer any extra protection against STIs.
- For women under the age of 26, getting a Human papillomavirus (HPV) immunization can help prevent one of the most common of all STIs. Hepatitis B vaccinations are also highly recommended.
- Avoid sharing towels or underclothing with other people.
- Wash properly before and after sexual intercourse.
- Undergo regular HIV testing during annual well woman exams.
Although some STIs cannot be completely cured, early detection and diagnosis can help effectively treat them and significantly manage their symptoms. That’s why practicing safe sex and receiving regular STI testing is so important for adults who are sexually active. For more information about STIs or to request a testing appointment today, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional tips, news, and details on our upcoming health and wellness events.