The CDC Reports Love Bugs Are on the Rise: Here is What You Should Know
If you're sexually active, you should be aware that STDs that are sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise. Here's what you need to know on how to stay safe.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that chlamydia cases have risen by almost 3 percent or more since 2006. They say that women are one group who are at most risk for STDs. The director of the CDC's National Center for STD Prevention, Dr. Jonathan Mermin, MD, says that doctors need to step up their efforts to diagnose and treat STDs.
But what's especially scary is that if you're between 15 to 24, the CDC says you're at higher risk for contracting chlamydia and gonorrhea because more than 60 percent of the cases reported for these two particular STDs are within this age range.
If you're infected with chlamydia, there's a good chance you won't feel anything. Dr. Gail Bolan, director of CDC's Division of STD Prevention, says that both chlamydia and gonorrhea are often asymptomatic. But that doesn't mean you are safe – even if you don't feel anything wrong or don't get fevers, Dr. Bolan says that going untreated can make you infertile and lead to recurring inflammations in the pelvis throughout life.
How does chlamydia cause infertility? If the infection spreads to the fallopian tubes, it can permanently scar them or cause blockages, which make it harder for eggs to travel and make miscarrying more likely if successful fertilization occurs. Damage to the fallopian tubes can also cause premature birth and stillbirth.
That's why Dr. Bolan says that increasing diagnosis is key among healthcare providers. Pediatricians shouldn't be reserved about asking their teen patients whether they're sexually active, and should certainly be firm in asking parents to step out of the room for such questions. Since these STDs may cause no symptoms, people won't know they have them and that's why it's important to test for them during routine blood work and physicals.
It's important that doctors ask patients in a kind, nonjudgmental way whether they're sexually active or think they've become intimate with a partner who seems infected. Gaining a patient's trust may save their reproductive system. As a potential silent carrier, you should get tested for STDs routinely – it's better to be safe than sorry, and there's no shame in getting tested at all! In fact, getting tested for chlamydia requires a urine sample with results back in less than three hours.
Awareness is key! Even if you don't feel anything, you could have a silent infection trasmitted through sex. Get tested routinely and you might be saving your reproductive system.