April 20th, 2011 | Published in STD Questions & Answers
In recent years, STD transmission rates have climbed throughout the country, particularly among males and females aged 15 to 24. Many of the most common STDs are asymptomatic which contributes to the spread of infection. Therefore, relying on symptoms for diagnosis is ineffective, and the only way to accurately detect STDs is through specific STD testing. While regular screenings and open dialogue about STDs can be helpful in minimizing public risk, regularly employing safe sexual practices is a key component in preventing STDs.
How are diseases transmitted during vaginal and anal intercourse?
The most common STDs such as Chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis, and genital herpes can all be transmitted during vaginal and anal intercourse. When the mucous membrane covering the vaginal or anal opening comes into contact with infected semen or vaginal fluid, disease can be passed from one person to the next.
How are diseases transmitted during oral intercourse?
During oral sex, infected semen or vaginal fluid can penetrate the mucous membranes in the mouth or enter the bloodstream if the recipient has sores or open cuts in his or her mouth. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, and syphilis can be transmitted orally. Additionally, if a person with cold sores on the lips performs oral sex on a partner, the recipient runs the risk of contracting herpes in its genital form.
How are diseases transmitted during sex play?
Although STDs like Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV can only be spread through sexual intercourse, whether oral, genital or anal, genital herpes or syphilis can be spread via skin-to-skin contact alone. If the genitals of an infected person touch those of his or her partner, then the disease can be transmitted, even if herpes symptoms aren’t present at the time.
How are diseases transmitted while kissing?
Most STDs cannot be transmitted via saliva. Infections like Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV, for example, cannot be spread by kissing alone. It’s possible, however, to contract oral herpes by kissing an infected individual experiencing a cold sore outbreak. Furthermore, in some cases, oral herpes can be spread even when symptoms haven’t surfaced.
How are diseases transmitted when condoms are used?
Regular condom usage significantly reduces the chances of contracting STDs like Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV. Genital sores from herpes or syphilis, however, can reside on surfaces not typically covered by condoms, such as the scrotum, thighs, or anus. Condom usage can reduce the spread of syphilis or the herpes simplex virus, but cannot fully prevent against these diseases.
Can safe sex prevent STD transmission?
Engaging in safe sexual practices can significantly reduce the likelihood of contracting STDs. The consistent use of condoms during all forms of sexual activity, including oral sex and foreplay, can help prevent the spread of infection, as can limiting sexual contact to a single, monogamous partner who has received an STD test and is confirmed to be free of infection.
For the purpose of preventing STDs, safe sex encompasses the following tactics:
- Using condoms to reduce the risk of transmitting STDs
- Avoiding skin-to-skin contact in the genital area with partners who have not been tested
- Avoiding sexual contact or taking added precautions when genital or oral cuts and sores are present
- Maintaining mutually monogamous relationships
- Performing regular STD testing
Can STD testing reduce the spread of infection?
As most widespread STDs are asymptomatic, only an STD test can accurately confirm or rule out infection. Since STDs like Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are curable via antibiotics, those who test positive can get treated and therefore avoid passing infection on to their sexual partners. Additionally, knowledge of a confirmed infection may prompt carriers to both warn their partners about the risks of engaging in sexual activity and utilize protection more diligently.
Common misspellings for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis include: klamydia, clamidia, chlamidia, clymidia, klamidia, gonorrhoea, gonorrhoeao, ganaria, gonnorhea, gonorrhea, sifilis, syphillis, and siphilis