The New Sexual Revolution
In Canada, some of the highest rates and increases in sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STI or STD) are in young people 15–24 years of age. There are now 50 known STDs , several of which are chronic, life-long infections. Presently, over 70 million people in the U.S. alone are infected or have been infected with an STI or STD.
STDs & STIs: What are they?
An STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) is an infection that does not show any physical signs or symptoms. It is contracted from another infected person through sexual activity. It becomes an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) when symptoms appear. It’s important to remember that not all infected people will have signs or symptoms. The problem is that some of these STDs can cause a lot of damage and can be passed to your partner without your knowledge. You do not have to have symptoms to be contagious; you can spread the disease at any time.
Condoms do not provide complete protection from an STI. The best way to avoid any STI/STD is to practice sexual chastity while unmarried. Chastity/Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to protect yourself. Here are the most common symptoms for some STD’s:
Caused by bacteria, chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics, but if left untreated, this infection can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Symptoms include:
- Burning when urinating
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Pain in lower abdomen or back
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Infects at least 50% of sexually active men & women at some point in their lives. Some strains of HPV may lead to cancer. There is no cure for HPV, but there are treatments for warts and pre-cancerous changes in the cervix.
Is sometimes hard to detect because many people do not suffer from symptoms for years. Without treatment, Syphilis may cause damage to internal organs, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones & joints.
Caused by microscopic parasites. Symptoms include:
- Itching in the genital area
- Strong odour coming from the vagina
- Fluffy yellow-green vaginal discharge
Some people have no symptoms, while others experience:
- Blisters around the genitals or rectum
- Swollen glands
- Infection of the mouth and lips
These blisters can come and go up to 4-5 times a year, often called “outbreaks”, and may be fatal to a baby if the mother has sores at time of delivery.
Caused by bacteria. Symptoms in women are usually mild or absent, but if left untreated can lead to PID which can cause severe abdominal pain, may lead to infertility, or ectopic pregnancy. There are some strains that respond to antibiotics, but some strains are developing a drug resistance. Symptoms in men include:
- White, yellow or green discharge from penis
- Burning sensation when urinating
Hepatitis B & C
Are serious diseases that attack the liver. They may cause Cirrhosis, lifelong infection, Liver cancer, Liver failure, and possible death. A vaccine is available, but only effective if received prior to contact with this disease. Some people have no symptoms while others experience:
- Yellow skin
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Loss of appetite
HIV & AIDS
Human Immunodeficiency Virus & Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
The most deadly of STI’s. There is no cure for HIV or AIDS. AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since it was first recognized in 1981. Symptoms of HIV or AIDS:
- Dry cough
- Profuse night sweats
- Rapid weight loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Spots or unusual blemishes on tongue
- Memory loss
- Other neurological disorders
- Blotches on skin