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Sexual Health

Do condoms make sex safe?

Condoms make sex safer. There is still a significant risk of picking up an STD even with condom use. There's a 20% risk of becoming pregnant using condoms only. Condoms are most effective for blocking the transmission of HIV- about 85% effective if used consistently and correctly. For other STDs such as Chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, and HPV, the rate of effectiveness is much lower.

The CDC Birth Control Methods reports that:

  • "The surest way to avoid transmission of STDs is to abstain from sexual intercourse, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and you know is uninfected."
     
  • "Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS."
     
  • "Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission" of other STDs such as Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital herpes, HPV.

What is the safest form of birth control? The only way to be 100% sure you won't get pregnant is to not have sex!  

STD/STI 

STDs and Abortion

For women preparing for an abortion or who receive a negative pregnancy test untreated STDs can have implications on your future reproductive health.  For this reason we will make sure you have appropriate education and referrals available. Some testing can even be done in the privacy of your home. Women who plan to continue their pregnancy will receive STD testing as part of their prenatal care. STI-STD Facts 

What is a STD? STI-STD Facts 

STD stands for Sexually Transmitted Disease which can be contracted through any type of sexual activity. It is also referred as an STI or sexually transmitted infection. For the purposes of common vernacular we will use the term STD.

Many women never get tested because they have no symptoms or don't realize how common they are. The statistics are staggering. There are more than 25 major STDs, including many that have no cure.

Do I need to get tested?

If you ever have been sexually active it is important to get tested. This means vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Any sexual activity puts you at risk. Many Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Sexually Transmitted Infections do not have symptoms until damage to your body has already been done.

Take an Online STD Quiz

Click here to take an online STD quiz.

Which STDs are stopped by using condoms?

  • Condoms provide the best (though not complete) protection against HIV.
  • They are less effective protecting against herpes type 2, trichomonas, gonorrhea and chlamydia.
  • Condoms provide little protection against bacterial vaginosis and HPV (the most common STD).

Source: Cates, W. Jr. & Stone, K.M. (1992, March/April). Family Planning, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Contraceptive Choice: A Literature Update-Part I. Family Planning Perspectives, 24(2), 75-84

Over 65 million Americans are now infected with an incurable STD. Each year, 29 million more become infected with STDs, and almost 4 million of these are teenagers.

STDs can be identified by the following common symptoms:

  • unusual discharge from the penis or vagina
  • a burning feeling when urinating
  • growths, sores or itching in the genital area
  • lower abdominal pain
  • dark urine
  • skin rashes or sores
  • yellow eyes
  • fever
  • headache
  • nausea
  • joint inflammation and enlarged lymph nodes

It is important to understand that many STDs have no obvious symptoms, or only very mild symptoms, but still may affect your reproductive health and ability to conceive in the future. It is critical to treat them as early as possible to avoid permanent damage.

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