Every April, the American Sexual Health Association works to raise awareness of STDs, or sexually-transmitted diseases, by bringing to light the fact that STDs remain a very clear and present danger to women’s health.
Here at Women’s Healthcare of Princeton, we want to join this effort by outlining a few numbers and facts -- and most important, some ways to take charge of your health with preventive measures. We believe that, through awareness, we can help our patients in Princeton, New Jersey, avoid sexually-transmitted infections.
STDs: A look backward
For hundreds of years, STDs were swept under the carpet because of moral issues and the stigma surrounding any illness related to sexual behavior. In the 1980s, however, the conversation took center stage on a global level as HIV/AIDS swept indiscriminately through many populations, leaving a swath of destruction in its wake.
As the medical world lobbied to raise awareness and fought to get a handle on HIV/AIDS, STDs slowly began to emerge as a valid health concern, a concern that could be easily prevented or treated. Sexual education classes made room in between discussions on avoiding teen pregnancy to cover protection against STDs, and women began to feel more comfortable seeking the counsel of their doctors.
Here at Women’s Healthcare of Princeton, we want our patients to understand that our goal is to help them avoid and treat STDs by providing an atmosphere free of judgment and long on compassion, education, and discretion. Because, the fact is, we’ve still got a long way to go when it comes to STD awareness and prevention.
STDs by the numbers
To give you an idea of the extent to which STDs still wreak havoc on the American population, the following are a few sobering numbers:
- Each year, 20 million new cases of sexually-transmitted infections are reported
- Medical costs for STDs exceed $16 billion annually
- Approximately 110 million Americans are infected with STDs
And there’s no end in sight, as the incidences of many of these infections continue to rise. To wit:
- Cases of chlamydia increased 4.7% between 2015 and 2016 to almost 1.6 million
- Gonorrhea numbers have climbed 18.5% since 2015 to 468,514 in 2016
- Cases of syphilis rose 17.6% to 27,814 in 2016
Our goal in providing these numbers isn’t to strike fear, but to help you understand the work that still needs to be done to help prevent the spread of STDs.
Women and STDs
For women, the most common sexually-transmitted infections include:
- HPV, or the human papillomavirus
While these infections may not be life-threatening, if left untreated many of them can lead to more serious health complications down the road, including infertility.
Get checked and protect yourself
When it comes to sexually-transmitted infections, our mission is to ensure you’re properly screened and you understand exactly how they’re spread and how to best protect yourself.
Let’s start with testing, which is one of the most powerful tools you have in fighting sexually-transmitted infections. Most STDs are easily treated, but we can’t treat you if we don’t know whether you’re infected. We encourage you to sit down with us and be frank about your sexual activity so that we know what to look out for and what to test for. Most tests are incredibly easy -- just a swab or blood or urine test.
When it comes to STDs, knowledge is power, and the more we intervene before an infection becomes a full-blown medical problem, the better. And, perhaps most important, we can discuss ways to prevent you from becoming infected in the first place.
Of course, the only way to achieve 100% protection is through abstinence. But we understand that you have a life to live, and we work with you to figure out ways to prevent infection if you’re sexually active. From condoms to proactive testing, you have the ability to limit your risks considerably.
While the awareness and education surrounding sexually-transmitted infections have come a long way, there’s still much work to be done, and we’re here to help. Please call us for a confidential consultation, or use the online booking form to schedule an appointment, and we’ll formulate a plan that meets your goals and guards your health.