A sign of a loving commitment, a bout of physical pleasure, a moral and emotional minefield – sex is a lot of things to a lot of people. And although humans have played the game of love throughout the ages, the rules keep changing. On the one hand, an enlightened understanding of this instinctive act – which after all, ensures the survival of out species, has eroded the stigma that was once attached to it. On the other hand, social shifts have meant an increase in the incidence of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). To enjoy the benefits of sex, you need not only the right relationship but also the right information.
For all the positive factors associated with sex, there are negatives that everyone needs to know. Intimate contact usually entails the exchange not only of affection but also of bodily fluids. They may contain viruses and bacteria that carry STDs, which can have long-term effects varying from inconvenient to fatal. Some of the most common STDs are syphilis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, hepatitis B and Aids.
To detect STDs, you need to know the symptoms. If you notice any of the symptoms below and suspect a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), consult your doctor immediately.
• Syphilis – painless chancre, or open sore; enlarged lymph nodes; recurring fever and rash.
• Gonorrhea – Painful urination; discharge from penis or vagina; spotty vaginal bleeding; pelvic pain.
• Chlamydia – painful urination; discharge from penis or vagina; abdominal pain; itching in the urethra.
• Genital Herpes – Flu-like symptoms; painful, recurring genital blisters and sores.
• Genital warts – Irritation and itching in the genitals; soft, flat growths (warts) on the penis or vagina.
• Hepatitis B – Flu-like symptoms; jaundice; nausea and vomiting.
• AIDS – Various infections, including thrush, pneumonia, toxoplasmosis; swollen lymph glands; recurrent yeast infections.
The only surefire way to avoid these diseases is to abstain from sex or to have a mutually monogamous, long-term relationship with a disease–free partner.