STD Stories: Tales of What It’s Like to Contract a Sexually Transmitted Disease

People who contract STDs may feel incredibly isolated and alone at first. They have an infection or disease which automatically makes them a bigger risk to date, not to mention for intimacy.

For these people, it can be immensely helpful and heartening to hear stories from others who went through the same anxieties, stresses, isolation, and symptoms. These can be wonderful resources to help people with STDs find ways to deal with their health.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has a website called The Naked Truth, which is devoted to providing information, help, and support for people, especially young people, who may be dealing with a sexually transmitted disease, or people who think they may have one.

The website features testimonials from real people who have dealt with all kinds of situations – from cheating boyfriends to irresponsible one-night stands, to long chains of people who passed on an STD, to people who contracted an STD the first time they ever had sex.

These stories help illustrate the wide variety of situations where STDs were not expected or even considered – a complete shock to those who contracted them.

STD Testing Could Have Prevented It: Amber’s Story

According to The Naked Truth, Amber was a seventeen-year-old teenager when she caught syphilis. She had gotten it when she had sex for the first time with her boyfriend, a guy she had known and trusted for years.

The two of them had actually talked about safe sex beforehand, including preventing pregnancy. However, they neglected to talk about STDs and safe sex in that particular context. Despite this omission, they planned on being together for a long time, and both felt ready.

Amber knew that her boyfriend had had sex before, but she didn’t notice anything unusual, so she wasn’t worried. However, days later, she discovered sores on her body that didn’t go away. She was reluctant to tell her boyfriend because she was worried about blame — if he would somehow blame her. She also wondered if he knew he had an STD and kept it from her on purpose, or if he didn’t have one at all and would break up with her because of the incident.

As it turns out, Amber’s boyfriend had gotten sores after being with his last girlfriend, as well as other symptoms, like fevers and strange rashes. However, they had gone away, so he had stopped worrying about them. He said he didn’t think he had gotten it from his last girlfriend, either, because she had told him that she had only ever been with guys who promised that they had been tested.

Both Amber and her boyfriend ended up getting tested, and both were positive for syphilis, which is easily treatable. The boyfriend told his ex-girlfriend about the positive results; she got tested and ended up positive for syphilis, too.

The Problem and the Takeaway

If Amber’s story sounds familiar, that’s because, statistically, she, her boyfriend, and the ex-girlfriend are not alone. According to CNN, young people age 15 to 24 are those who are most at risk for contracting an STD. In 2015 alone, the most reported infections for chlamydia and gonorrhea were among this age group. For chlamydia, they accounted for two-thirds of all reported cases. For gonorrhea, they accounted for approximately half of all reported cases.

It’s additionally really easy to see where in Amber’s story she and her boyfriend went wrong. They had a responsible discussion about safe sex before they ever got intimate, but they neglected to discuss sexually transmitted diseases and the possible risk, let alone if either of them ever had STD testing.

What’s even more alarming about the story is the total cluelessness displayed by Amber’s boyfriend and the ex-girlfriend. Amber’s boyfriend had very strange symptoms, but he never got them checked out. On top of this, he believed his ex-girlfriend when she said she had only been with people who promised they had been tested.

What naïve teens probably don’t understand is that hormonal teenage boys will promise pretty much anything if sex is involved – even if they’re empty promises.

This is a lot of promising and a lot of believing with no action involved – an incredibly dangerous combination. Naturally, it led to a chain of syphilis passed from a random teenager to the ex-girlfriend, to Amber’s boyfriend, and, finally, to Amber.

What is the takeaway? All of this could have been avoided with proper STD testing.

Had Amber and her boyfriend been aware of the risks of STDs, they probably would have been equally careful about them as they were with the risk of pregnancy. Syphilis, in particular, is totally treatable and curable. In fact, had any of the teens been aware, the chain of transmission could have stopped much earlier.

In Amber’s case, even though she was responsible about sex in many ways, she was still not immune to an STD. It was her first time, and she still was not immune to an STD. She was young, still a teenager, still in high school, but she still was not immune to an STD.

Why STD Testing is So Important

For teens and adults in Plano, TX, getting tested for STDs could mean the difference between serious health problems down the line or getting cured. Especially for syphilis cases, when left untreated, the infection can lead to crippling deformities and mental problems (which doctors say Amber’s boyfriend narrowly avoided, according to The Naked Truth). For pregnant women, syphilis can damage their reproductive systems and cause their babies to be born with deformities.

Luckily, because the three teens in the story above were treated, each of them was cured and able to move on with their lives. The key to knowing one needs treatment, however, is getting tested in Frisco, TX, as well as Plano, TX.

STD Testing: What to Expect and More

Without a doubt, the best way to take charge of sexual health is to get STD testing. Even if one is not sexually active, it’s a smart move because sexually transmitted diseases can be spread even without sexual contact with another person. Sometimes, all it takes is a kiss or skin-to-skin contact.

It’s also best to know one’s sexual health status before beginning a new sexual relationship. Not only does this establish mutual trust, it additionally helps both parties feel safe when the relationship is monogamous.

It’s especially urgent to get tested if one is already sexually active, or if a person suspects they might have an STD. In these cases, the person shouldn’t delay.

When to Get STD Testing

There are plenty of good reasons to get tested for STDs, and lots of them have to do with personal health and safety as well as protecting the person’s partners, loved ones, friends, and family.

People should get tested before starting a new sexual relationship. This lets both parties know where they stand at the outset, and gives them peace of mind. They should also get tested if they have had sex without protection (such as a condom). People who have symptoms of STDs need to get tested right away (burning during urination, itching, sores on the genitals, and discharge are all common symptoms that should not be ignored, as STDs can damage the body if left untreated).

Where to Get Tested in Plano, TX

There are lots of options when it comes to where to get tested for STDs in places like Plano and Frisco, TX.

Local Health Clinic

A local health clinic can provide testing for STDs at a lower cost than most other options, as they charge based on the person’s income and family size. This is a great option for those who don’t have a primary care provider, or who don’t have insurance.

Health Care Provider

Some people have a designated health care provider whom they prefer to see for their medical needs. They can call up the office and ask for an appointment for STD testing – it’s as simple as that.

Family Doctor

If the person doesn’t have a healthcare provider, they can always fall back on their family doctor. Talking with siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or some other family member to get the needed information can be a good way to get support, which can be essential when dealing with an STD and the possible accompanying anxiety, fears, and symptoms.

Guidance Counselor, Advisor, or School Nurse

If one doesn’t know where to go to get tested or is unsure about the process, they can turn to a trusted professional who will help them find the resources they need. Counselors can also help walk the person through how to talk to their family and tell other people in their life.

What to Expect When Getting Tested

Many clinics offer same-day, next-day, or walk-in appointments. For the latter, patients are seen on a first-come-first-served basis. This makes it convenient to go get tested whenever free time presents itself; however, wait times can be long depending on how busy the clinic is that day.

For most private doctors and health care providers, appointments usually need to be made at least a few weeks in advance for testing, although some may be able to squeeze in a patient earlier depending on what season it is and how many other patients they are seeing.

STD Tests: The Exam, Questions, and Procedures

There is no one test that covers all STDs. Different infections require different types of testing. For instance, for bacterial infections like chlamydia, the test center will have to do either a urinalysis (test a sample of urine) or a swab of the genitals. For some viruses, like HPV or HIV, a blood sample taken from the arm will have to be tested.

Before the doctor or health professional administers a test, however, they will interview the patient and pinpoint their symptoms, if they have any. Here are some topics for questions that a doctor may ask during the exam, before testing:

  • Medical history questions
  • Sexual history questions, including the last time the person had sex
  • Number of sexual partners
  • Symptoms, if any
  • Drug use history, if applicable

These questions and the examination will help the health care provider decide what STD tests would be best for the person.

Here is a list of the types of tests that may be done:

  • A swab from the inside of the mouth
  • A swab from any sores or discharge
  • A swab from the urethra (where urine is emitted), genitals, or anus
  • A blood sample
  • A urine sample
  • An examination of the genital area and/or anus for physical signs of STDs

When to Expect the Test Results

Generally, samples from an STD test are sent to a lab, where they are analyzed. This usually takes a few days to a few weeks to complete. However, some tests offer same-day results, and the person will know the outcome the day of their visit.

If a person tests positive for an STD, the office or clinic will usually call or send a letter. Most will call and ask the person to come back to discuss their options and begin treatment.

Many clinics offer the service of partner notification. This is where the clinic calls any of the person’s sexual partners and informs them of their possible risk of infection without revealing the identity of the person with the STD.

Get Tested in Frisco, TX, and Get Peace of Mind

Getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases is often made out to be much more stressful than it really is. The truth of the matter is that testing is relatively simple if one knows where to go and what resources are available to them. If a person needs help finding this information, they can also ask a trusted professional or family member for assistance. In the end, the important thing is to get tested, and there are lots of options for doing so.

Dating and STDs: How to Tell a Partner the Truth

With an STD, life may feel very different than before the disease. People may feel subject to stigma, judgments, and stereotypes. They may be hesitant to reveal their STD to anyone, especially potential romantic partners, for fear of rejection.

It can be hard to date and find the right person with an STD – but it’s not impossible. The right person will still want to be with someone who has an STD because of all of their great qualities. The STD will be just another part of life to deal with, and in exchange, they’ll get a partner who is willing to brave the hard stuff with them – symptoms, treatment, STD testing, and finding ways to be intimate safely.

Broaching the Subject of a Sexually Transmitted Disease with a Potential Partner

The right time to tell a date about an STD will be different for everyone. The main thing to keep in mind is that this is not something one should just blurt out whenever the mood strikes them. It’s a delicate topic that affects quite a few aspects of dating and intimacy and should be approached with care and consideration.

To that end, people should wait until they have formed a bond with someone they’re dating before they have a talk. They should get to know each other and genuinely like each other. That way, the other person can weigh whether or not they are willing to stay against how much they like and enjoy spending time with the affected person.

When the time comes for the affected person to sit down and have a talk with their potential partner, or the person they’re dating in Frisco, TX, there are three general rules for doing so:

  1. It should be at a time when a bond has formed, but things have not gone any further. This way, the other person can walk away without too much heartache on either end, but at the same time, there is still good reason to stick around, because of genuine like and attraction.
  2. Always have this conversation before getting intimate is even on the table. If a person tends to get intimate first and build the relationship later, they need to rethink that approach now that they have an STD – it’s just not safe or responsible anymore.
  3. Never have this conversation when things are starting to heat up. Not only is this unfair to the other person, it’s exactly the wrong moment to drop a bomb because emotions are already heightened.

Tips for Psyching Up to Have “the Talk” About STDs and STD Testing

Many people will probably feel really nervous about revealing their STD to their potential partner. They may stress about being judged and rejected.

The thing is, rejection is a part of normal dating. Everyone gets rejected at some point in their life, and it’s never the end of the world. Better to get rejected now and find someone better than stay in a relationship that is not built on trust. If the worst-case scenario happens – for instance, if the other person is mean, insulting, or refuses to listen to anything else the person with the STD has to say – then they are probably not worth the time, anyway.

There are some ways to make having the talk easier besides getting comfortable with the idea of rejection:

  • Meet up in a place that feels safe and neutral. This will make the person who has to break the news feel more comfortable and in control.
  • Practice on a willing friend or family member. Play out different scenarios (rejection, acceptance, confusion, etc.) in order to get a good feel for what to say in each instance.
  • Keep calm and speak with confidence. This is a fact of the affected person’s life, not something to apologize for. The goal should be to impart information so that the other person can make a good decision about the relationship that feels true to their needs.
  • Don’t expect a bad response: the worst is more likely to happen that way. Instead, people with STDs should assume they will be accepted – this will influence how calmly and confidently they will speak, not to mention help them avoid approaching the topic like an emotional wreck.
  • Come prepared with information about the STD: how it’s transmitted, what the symptoms are like, and the risks for the other person. Having reassuring information ready can help, too, such as ways to take precautions to prevent transmission, as well as alternate ways to be intimate that are not risky.
  • Accept the outcome. Many people will not stay after hearing that the person they’re newly dating has a sexually transmitted disease, but, on the other hand, more will be willing to work together and be understanding for the sake of a promising connection.
  • Whatever their choice, it is theirs to make. If the other person seems to be acting hastily, the affected person can offer to give them time to think, but it’s best to remember that their ultimate decision may still be rejection.
  • On the other hand, a “yes” may feel wonderful and like a huge validation, but it does not equal a good relationship. The STD will still be a standing issue for the two people who are involved, and they’ll still have to figure out ways to handle it together responsibly.

Dating and STDs don’t have to be mutually exclusive in Plano, TX. Finding the right person might take more work, but if the affected person doesn’t give up, the odds are more likely that they’ll run into someone who will be crazy about them, infection or no infection. The bottom line is that the right person will not run and hide, but will stick around because they see a future together first and foremost – not a problem they have to deal with.

If Only They’d Had Access to STD Testing: Historical Figures Afflicted with STDs

While knowledge and awareness about sexually transmitted diseases have come a long way, there’s still work to do in regard to blasting through stereotypes, educating people, and normalizing STD testing.

Granted, the scene today has nothing on past decades and centuries, when people took such extreme measures as dosing themselves with arsenic and mercury (which are now known poisons) to rid themselves of STDs. On top of this, sex itself was an incredibly taboo topic, even though gonorrhea and syphilis were widespread and rampant.

Just take a look at some of the most famous faces in history who have had (or who reportedly had, according to rumor and hearsay) STDs. Flipping through a list of these famous names is a great reminder that absolutely no one is immune – STDs do not infect only certain people; an STD can happen to anyone, whether they’re famous or obscure, rich or poor.

Proof That STDS Can Happen to Anyone, Not Just Plano, TX, Residents

Abraham Lincoln

This is a surprising name to start with, but it’s true: one of the U.S.’s most revered presidents may have been infected with syphilis when he was a young steamboat navigator. According to First to Know, Lincoln confided to his friend and law partner that he might have contracted syphilis in the 1830s. He also took mercury pills regularly, a common “cure” in those days.

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus and his crew famously have been charged with bringing syphilis back to Europe from the New World. While it’s true that Columbus did indeed suffer from syphilis, the long-held allegation that the explorer helped spread an STD throughout the globe has largely been debunked.

According to the Daily Mail, in 2014, a skeleton was found that helped prove that syphilis had been around since Roman times – not since a few years after Columbus returned to Europe, which was its first recorded instance.

William Shakespeare

Of course, no one can know for sure, but many people have theorized that the Bard himself may have suffered from syphilis. The ailment features in a lot of his works, including descriptions of its symptoms. On top of this, in Shakespeare’s later writings, his handwriting betrays a marked tremor.

According to PBS, a tremor is a side-effect of dosing oneself with mercury, and Shakespeare is known to have had mercury treatments, though it is not known why. He is also known to have been infamously promiscuous. This leads many to believe that he had the STD himself.

Beethoven

Beethoven’s physician is the one who recorded that the great composer had syphilis. One of his friends, a cellist, also has been recorded as saying that Beethoven was associated with prostitutes. According to the New York Times, Beethoven’s eventual deafness may have been a result of his STD.

Henry VIII

It should surprise no one that Henry VIII, one of England’s most well-known monarchs, had an STD. He was infamous for his dalliances, not to mention his six wives. According to many scholars, the circumstances of his death, which were enveloped in insanity and paranoia, were probably due to syphilis.

Leo Tolstoy

Among famous people with STDs, there is one of the greats of Russian literature, Leo Tolstoy. Supposedly he caught syphilis in his younger days, and he attempted to treat it with arsenic.

Other Famous Names from History

Other famous people from times past who had syphilis include notorious gangster Al Capone, starry-eyed impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh, 19th-century literary bad-boy Oscar Wilde, philosopher and scholar Friedrich Nietzsche, ruthless German WWII leader Adolph Hitler, and France’s 18th-century emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte.

Why Syphilis?

One common thread tying all of these names together is that all of them had (or reportedly had) syphilis. Syphilis was rampant before any effective treatment was available, long before the advent of penicillin. Little was known about how it or any other STD was spread, which, ironically, helped it to do so.

Many people also suffered from congenital syphilis, which is syphilis that is passed from an afflicted mother to her unborn child in the womb. Since syphilis could not be treated, it often ended in disfigurement, blindness, deafness, pain in the joints, sores all over the body, insanity, manic episodes, and, eventually, death.

Famous People with STDs Prove No One is Immune

It might be jarring to realize, but STDs can infect absolutely anyone. If even Abraham Lincoln isn’t immune, or literary greats like William Shakespeare or Leo Tolstoy, then it’s pretty apparent that sexually transmitted diseases don’t discriminate by status, age, wealth, intelligence, or any other factor – especially since some of the most powerful and influential men in history can get it.

This is just another reason to take precautions, to get STD tests, and to come to terms with the fact that being laissez-faire about sexual health and safe sex can lead to more serious health problems. Many people contract an STD because they aren’t being careful, and just one instance of neglect can lead to a lot of shame and suffering.

Prevent STDs with STD Testing

Luckily, there are lots of ways to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort. People should get STD testing in Frisco, TX, whether or not they are sexually active, and always before choosing to be intimate with someone new. They should additionally use protection and, if they suspect they have an STD, they should get tested right away so they can get treated quickly.

Famous people with STDs show just how rampant these infections can be, and nobody is immune. People should take care of themselves (and their partners) by taking care of their sexual health.

Crime, STDs, and the Law: When Sex Gets Serious

Sexually transmitted diseases are detrimental to health – including physical, emotional, and social well-being – but what many people don’t know is that, in certain cases, STDs can also get one in trouble with the law.

Generally, things get complicated from here. While it is not a crime to withhold the fact that one has an STD from a partner, it is a crime to withhold that information in order to recklessly and/or knowingly transmit that STD to another person.

The distinguisher is the intent. If someone can prove that someone else intentionally infected them, it is an illegal act that warrants civil or criminal charges.

Even if the sex was consensual, each party is still protected by law under certain circumstances. If the afflicted person informs their partner of their STD before engaging in any sexual activity, they are protected legally in most states. However, this is not true in Kansas or Washington, according to LegalZoom.

STDs and the Law: Civil Cases

Civil cases mete out justice by providing compensation for those who have suffered wrongdoing in the eyes of the court. In many states, a civil lawsuit is justifiable if a person does not inform their partner about their STD, and their partner gets infected.

The reasons are obvious. Not only do STDs cause emotional stress, they can cause physical harm if they are undetected for a length of time. On top of that, the afflicted person will have to pay for doctor’s visits, and sometimes hospital bills. A large number of states allow people to be compensated for the infliction of these added inconveniences and potential trauma.

In states like New York, the law specifically stipulates that people have a duty to warn others about their STD. This is because, when a person has a disease that is possibly transmittable through their own means, they put other people at risk in various situations, and not just during sexual intimacy.

In regard to STDs, some of which are transmittable through skin-to-skin contact, bodily fluids like blood, and other means that don’t have to involve sex, the affected person becomes a danger to others if they do not properly inform people about their infection.

A Classic Case of He-Said, She-Said

An example of how sticky a situation can get involving contracting an STD from a partner unawares was reported by Glamour Health in 2010. The story involved a young woman and her boyfriend.

According to the woman, before they got together, she and her boyfriend had discussed their sexual histories and both said they had never tested positive for STDs.  They ended up having sex on their first date. The next day, he called her and told her that she might want to get tested for HPV. When she asked why he didn’t explain. She saw her gynecologist a few days later for STD testing, but she wouldn’t get her test results for several weeks.

Glamour Health then reports that the young woman and her boyfriend continued to see each other. Things were going fine, and the woman even thought she was falling in love, when she received a letter from her doctor three months later. The results of her HPV test had gotten mixed up, so they were arriving late. As it turns out, she had tested positive for human papillomavirus.

However, she decided not to worry about it, since she had no symptoms, and she had read that the body often clears itself of the virus on its own (which is true). However, almost a year to the day after she and her boyfriend became sexually active together, she was diagnosed with both genital warts and severe dysplasia, which means there are precancerous cells growing on the cervix. Both are types of HPV.

According to the woman, her boyfriend had lied to her about his sexual health and had knowingly put her at risk for contracting HPV – and she did. To hold him accountable for his actions, she took him to court. The only problem was that she would have to prove that her boyfriend was the one who gave her HPV.

As it turns out, HPV is an STD that is difficult to trace as far as who infected who. The virus can lie dormant for months, even years, without any signs or symptoms. Transmission additionally does not require intercourse; HPV can be transmitted via skin-to-skin contact, and condoms are not 100 percent fail-safe protection against it. What’s more, there is no HPV test for men, and many are carriers without a trace of symptoms.

Despite the difficulty of proving that her boyfriend was, in fact, the person who gave her HPV, the woman persisted in her case. As it turns out, for civil cases, the jury only has to rule in favor of the case that seems more likely than not, whereas, in criminal cases, stronger evidence is needed in order to arrive at that famous phrase, “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Though the woman’s boyfriend perseveres in saying that he has never had an STD, according to Glamour, the woman still won her case.

How to Avoid Legal Implications with STD Testing in Frisco, TX

When it comes to sexually transmitted diseases in Plano, TX, there are ways to protect oneself both physically and legally.

A good safeguard is to get tested at the very beginning of a relationship, even if both parties have been tested before. As the Glamour Health story illustrates, people are not always truthful when it comes to their sexual histories. In the beginning of a relationship, two people still don’t know each other well enough to determine that they can trust each other completely, without a doubt.

It may seem cynical, but STD testing early, not to mention whenever a person finds a new sexual partner, is the only way to be certain about the sexual health of everyone involved. It will also help the two people avoid ending up in a messy situation with blame, deceit, and finger-pointing.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Where Did They Come From?

Those who contract STDs should be incredibly thankful that they live in the time of modern medicine and its many advances. For centuries, sexually transmitted diseases were neither understood nor treated properly, which resulted in rampant transmission, multiple epidemics, plenty of suffering, and death for many people.

Today, all one has to do is get STD testing to find out about their sexual health. Then, if they need treatment, many STDs can be cured, and most can be treated to minimize symptoms, pain, discomfort, and embarrassment.

Up until as recently as the 1930s and 1940s, before the advent of penicillin and antibiotics, contracting an STD was a far scarier, bewildering, and painful incident.

The History of STDs: A Brief Overview, from Ancient to Modern Times

STDs have been around for an era, although they have not been known to mankind for as long.

Syphilis

The first recorded instance of an STD, syphilis, was written in the 1490s, around the time that an epidemic swept through Europe. This coincided with Columbus’s return from the New World. Many scholars believe that Columbus and his crew were, in fact, responsible for bringing the infection back from the Americas.

Others contest that the disease had been present in Europe all along, since ancient times; it just mutated into a more virulent form around the time of the 15th-century epidemic, making it easier to spread. Whether or not infections like syphilis and gonorrhea had been around since ancient cultures like the Romans (another theory says that what people called “leprosy” was possibly syphilis), these are the two STDs that were the most common and widespread throughout history.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea as a separate ailment from syphilis was known at least as early as the Middle Ages, as it was named by a Greek physician and philosopher of that time, Galen of Pergamum. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, gonorrhea might have been known to the ancient cultures of the Egyptians and the Chinese, as well. However, until medical advances of the early 20th century, it was often conflated with syphilis, and the two were regularly lumped together.

HIV/AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)

One of the most recent STD epidemics in history is HIV/AIDS. The virus, once contracted, attacks the immune system, leaving the body practically defenseless against illness and infections, which is defined as full-blown AIDS.

HIV has not been present in humans for very long at all. The earliest known case was discovered in the early 1900s, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, from a man’s blood sample. The earliest known case in the United States, meanwhile, was not discovered until 1966.

Scientists believe that HIV was transmitted to humans from chimpanzees at some point before 1931. According to Healthline, chimpanzee hunters would come in contact with the blood of their kill, which may have been how the first human was infected.

Without STD Testing, How Were People Diagnosed and Treated?

In past centuries, with syphilis raging throughout Europe, there was no real concrete understanding of it, and it was often generally known as “the pox,” or some variant of that name tied together with an enemy or entire country who were conveniently given the blame. For instance, according to the Journal of Military and Veteran Health (JMVH), the French called syphilis the “Spanish disease” or the “great pox”, the English called it the “French pox”, Russians called it “Polish disease”, and the Polish called it “Turkish disease.”

The main focus of syphilis in the 15th and 16th centuries was usually on one or two symptoms, such as the sores that often covered the body, and the later-stage symptoms were largely ignored. However, the 16th century is when physicians started recognizing that syphilis was spread through sexual intercourse.

As superstition often took the place of scientific thinking before the advent of scientific inquiry, many people, including physicians, believed that contracting syphilis was a reflection on the person’s moral cleanliness and was a punishment for sin from God. Some physicians even refused to treat patients with syphilis because of this, according to JMVH. However, this view only lasted through the 16th and 17th centuries.

Treatments

Treatments for STDs like syphilis usually only concentrated on the sores and/or abscesses and ignored the other numerous complaints (fevers, aches and pains, pain in the bones, rash, manic episodes, and insanity).

Since the disease was first recorded, mercury was the most common treatment for the sores. It was applied directly to the affected skin in an ointment. Sweat baths were also a common remedy used in conjunction with mercury, where sufferers were confined to a hot room to supposedly “sweat out” the infection.

Mercury’s terrible side effects were noted, including mouth ulcers, tooth loss, kidney failure, and nerve damage, and many patients died from mercury poisoning instead of their initial disease, but mercury remained in vogue as the most effective treatment well into the early 20th century. It was injected with syringes, ingested via pills or tonics, and, of course, used in ointments.

The Benefits of Living with Access to Modern Medicine in Plano, TX

Modern medicine makes diagnosing and treating STDs far simpler than it ever was for centuries throughout history. People today are incredibly lucky that they can go to their doctor, a health clinic, a Planned Parenthood, or some other health facility and get STD testing. Treatment, additionally, is a walk in the park compared to hundreds of years ago.

The history of STDs proves just how far medicine has come. It’s a smart idea to make use of it in order to both protect oneself from sexually transmitted diseases in Frisco, TX, as well as get the right treatment that modern advances make possible.

Ways Sexually Transmitted Diseases Can Be Spread – Without Having Sex

One of the most common misconceptions about sexually transmitted diseases is that they are only spread to other people through having sex, more specifically, through having vaginal intercourse with an infected person. This could not be farther from the truth.

In reality, there are ways to get an STD that don’t involve sex at all. Learn about what they are here, and then use this knowledge, along with other protection methods, like STD testing, for safe sex.

Getting an STD Is Possible Without Sex: 4 Ways it Can Happen

1.     Normal Kissing

Kissing can absolutely spread one type of STD – type I herpes. This disease is marked by clusters of sores around the lips and mouth. It can be present in a person without them even knowing it, and it can be spread in many cases without the presence of sores. In addition, in some cases, type I herpes can cause genital herpes.

Though it can be transmitted without any signs or symptoms in the infected person, herpes is most often spread through skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the tell-tale sores near the lips and mouth. These will look like small, fluid-filled blisters, grouped together in clusters. Even if they are crusted or scabbing over, this is still a sign of herpes.

2.     Indirect Contact with an Infected Person

Some STDs are more likely to be spread through indirect contact than others. While lots of viruses and infections cannot live outside the body long enough to make an impact, others, like trichomoniasis (more commonly called “trich”), can live on damp surfaces, like a wet towel, for up to an hour. Sharing towels or clothing that may touch the genitals with an infected person is thus an easy way to pass on trich.

Sharing razors is another possible way to spread STDs through indirect contact, though it is far less likely. Razors can pierce or break the skin, which makes it easier to mix blood if the razor is shared – consider if an infected person nicked themselves, but didn’t clean off the razor well. The next person who used that razor then would be at risk for infection. STDs like hepatitis A, B, and C or HIV can be spread in this manner.

3.     Oral or Anal Sex (Sex Without Penetration)

Just because both oral and anal sex does not involve genital-to-genital contact or vaginal penetration doesn’t mean that one can’t contract an STD through either of these sexual activities. Infections can still be spread by mouth, by hand-to-genital contact, or through broken skin (even a tiny scratch counts). Plus, there are some viruses that are not preventable with the use of a condom, like herpes or human papillomavirus (HPV).

4.     Contact with Contaminated Food

Some viruses can be spread if an infected person contaminates food they are serving or preparing by not washing their hands after using the restroom. Especially for viruses like hepatitis A, this is a possibility.

In What Other Ways Are Sexually Transmitted Diseases Spread?

Of course, sexual intercourse is the number one way STDs are spread from person to person. This includes both protected and unprotected sex since a condom does not protect against all STDs, and it is never a 100 percent guarantee.

Other kinds of intimate sexual contact can also facilitate the spread of STDs, many of which have no symptoms and may go undetected for years. This can lead to all kinds of problems, such as increased risk for cancer, infertility, and other reproductive problems for women. For peace of mind as well as safe sex, it’s best to get STD testing in Frisco, TX.

STD Testing and Other Protection Methods

Getting STD tested in Plano, TX, and Frisco, TX is the best way to know whether or not a person is infected. That way, they and their partner(s) know definitively one way or another, which is better than wondering and not knowing. It is also far less risky.

STD tests are easy to get. One can go to their regular doctor and ask to get tested, or one can head to their local health center or Planned Parenthood. Usually, all that is required for testing is a blood sample or a skin swab. A quick doctor or health center visit is all it takes, which will provide immense relief from worry as well as a direction to take.

Other ways to stay protected from STDs include condoms and abstaining from sex altogether. Of course, the only way to stay 100 percent safe, and completely reduce the risk, is the latter choice: abstinence. Those people with partners, however, can agree to a monogamous relationship, and before ever engaging in sexual activity, both parties should get tested.

Consider the Risks Vs. the Benefits

Those who consistently find themselves engaging in risky sexual behavior should ask themselves a few questions: what are they willing to risk for the sake of sex and intimacy? Should these things be more important than their own health and well-being? Additionally, what can help people make less risky, spontaneous, or ill-advised choices is staying away from alcohol and drugs, because they will be far more clear-headed, and able to think before they leap.

It may be surprising to many people to learn about all of the ways STDs can be spread without engaging in sex. Everything from kissing to oral/anal sex, to indirect contact can facilitate spreading a virus or infection.

Sex should never be taken lightly; instead, people need to learn the best ways to be safe while indulging in intimacy, how to protect themselves from STDs, how to protect their partners, and when to get STD testing (the answer: if one has never done it and is sexually active, as soon as possible).

STD Statistics, and How STD Testing Can Help Lower the Numbers

Over the last two or three years, rates of STDs in the United States have been rising. In fact, some health experts consider the growth of the numbers downright alarming.

The Recent Rise of STDs in the United States

Nationwide, cases of gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia reached all-time highs during 2015, according to the L.A. Times. In California, specifically, these rates were even higher than the national average – the highest they have been since the state began keeping records about STDs, which started in 1990.

CNN also reported back in October of 2016 about the troubling rise of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the country, all of which reached all-time highs. Chlamydia was by far the most common, with over 1.5 million cases reported in the U.S. in 2015. Meanwhile, gonorrhea had almost 400,000 reported cases, and syphilis had a little over 23,000.

The Most Common STDs Saw the Biggest Growth

Ironically, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are all curable with treatment. However, these three STDs are often present in people who show no symptoms.

Chlamydia, in particular, is treatable and curable, but can cause extreme adverse effects in a woman’s body if left to its own devices – it can damage her reproductive system and make it difficult for her to get pregnant.

Alarming STD Statistics and the Need for Prevention

Unfortunately, there are even more alarming, recent STD statistics out there.

General Numbers About STDs

According to Live Science, 20 million cases of STDs are newly diagnosed every year in the United States. 50 percent of these cases occur in people ages 15 to 24 – but this age group represents only one-quarter of the total people in the country who have had sex. This means a huge amount of young people are getting infected.

According to Pop Sugar, 20 percent of the population in the United States had some kind of STD in 2010. This included 20 percent of high school girls. Additionally, it was estimated that only about 10 to 25 percent of people who were infected with genital herpes knew that they had it, which is a sobering number, but a good illustration of how silent STDs can lurk in the background.

The Proliferation of Chlamydia

Chlamydia remains the most commonly reported STD in the country, which lines up with data reported by the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

In regard to chlamydia, however, the number of cases is actually higher than the number reported, as many people who are infected with chlamydia actually have no idea that they have contracted it. According to Live Science, 1.4 million people reported chlamydia infections in 2012, which is a rate of about 457 cases per 100,000 people in the population.

Chlamydia’s 2015 numbers in the U.S., meanwhile, were the highest ever for any type of condition that had ever been reported to the CDC, according to the L.A. Times. In California’s L.A. County alone, there were 560 cases reported for every 100,000 people.

It’s no wonder Live Science calls sexually transmitted diseases a “hidden epidemic.”

The Importance of STD Testing

The statistics are clear: STDs are a huge problem in the U.S., and it’s only growing. Unfortunately, resource centers for diagnosing and treating STDs, like local and state health clinics, have been largely reduced in capacity or outright closed, which may be a contributing factor, according to the L.A. Times.

So, what can people do in the face of these numbers?

Though limited access to health care and health clinics may bar a lot of people from being able to get tested, STD testing is still the best possible method for prevention and treatment. People often do not see a need to use caution and protection when they have no idea that they’re infected. If they think they’re in the clear, then their behavior often reflects that.

People Can Take Control of their Health

The importance of getting tested in Plano, TX, and Frisco, TX, however, can’t be understated. With testing, people can find out if they have an underlying STD and get treatment. They can find out if they are free of STDs, and use measures to protect themselves from contracting any infections or viruses in the future. Frankly, they can take concrete steps to protect and improve their overall health.

Strengthen Relationships and Trust

STD testing in Plano, TX additionally lessens anxiety for everyone involved in a sexual relationship. Knowing one’s partner is in the clear adds a level of trust to a relationship, which is what most people want. Both partners are then able to remain healthy by staying faithful.

Preventing Curable STDs from Becoming Irreversible Damage

One of the most important reasons STD testing in Frisco, TX is vital, though, is the fact that testing helps people get a diagnosis and get needed treatment. This way, they don’t have to live with an unknown disease that may be doing damage the longer it goes untreated. For women who want to have kids someday, this is a top concern for the health of their reproductive systems.

How Statistics Help Inspire Action

One good aspect of sobering statistics is that they help inspire communities, public figures, health officials, and regular people into action to change them in a positive way.

The statistics about STDs in this country are mostly negative, but these simply present a chance for people to take better care of themselves, to get educated about safe sex and prevention, and to teach others about safe sex. A major source of prevention in Plano, TX, is getting tested for STDs and using that information wisely – whether to get treatment or to start being proactive about one’s sexual health.

STD Facts for Plano, TX: Which STDs Are Curable?

There is a long list of sexually transmitted diseases, and it can be difficult to remember which ones can be cured and which ones are merely treatable, although incurable (they will stay in the body forever, as long as the person lives). The difference between curable and incurable STDs mainly has to do with whether they are viral or bacterial. Viral STDs cannot be cured, while bacterial STDs can be cured with antibiotics or a similar treatment.

As many sexually transmitted diseases have no symptoms at the outset, only STD testing can reveal whether or not someone has contracted a viral or bacterial STD.

Curable and Incurable STDs, Plus, Effective Treatments

1.     Curable STDs: Bacterial Infections

Curable STDs can be eradicated for good, though this does not protect a person from contracting a new infection later.

Chlamydia – Thankfully, the most common sexually transmitted disease is totally curable. Chlamydia is treated with a round of antibiotics, which kill the infection. Experts recommend taking antibiotics even if one has only been exposed to the infection and is not showing symptoms.

Gonorrhea – Like chlamydia, gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics. It is also recommended that those who have been exposed take treatment, despite any lack of symptoms. Both gonorrhea and chlamydia can lead to damage of the reproductive organs if these infections are left ignored or untreated for an extended period of time. In women, this can result in infertility.

Most doctors will recommend getting retested for both gonorrhea and chlamydia three months after antibiotics to make sure the infection is totally gone, according to WebMD. It is additionally worth noting that, recently, gonorrhea has begun to show signs of being resistant to medication, which may have an effect on treatment outcomes for many people.

Syphilis – Syphilis is most often treated with penicillin. This infection must be treated soon after it is contracted to prevent it spreading throughout the body and attacking other organs. Organ damage incurred during what is called the “late latent stage” will be permanent and irreversible.

Trichomoniasis – As “trich” (its common name) is caused by a parasitic protozoan, it can be cured with antibiotics. However, it should be noted that trich has a 90 percent cure rate – which means it doesn’t always work.

Pubic lice, or crabs – This is not necessarily an STD, though it can be transmitted through sex. Pubic lice or crabs are parasites that live on the surface of the skin, feeding on the affected person’s blood. They can be treated with prescription washes, which kill the parasites and their eggs.

2.     Incurable, but Treatable, STDs: Viral Infections

Many STDs are incurable, but often their symptoms can be managed. People with incurable but treatable STDs can usually live lives that are not defined by them.

Some strains of HPV (human papillomavirus) – HPV is more commonly known as genital warts. While many cases clear up on their own (this usually takes about a year), others are not so lucky. When infected with certain strains, people with HPV can have problems long-term with the virus. Specific strains of HPV can even cause cancer. HPV treatment will depend on the person, but usually, it addresses the symptoms, such as freezing off or removing warts.

Hepatitis A and B – Both hepatitis A and B affect the liver. Impaired liver function can lead to severe illness and even death if left untreated. There is no cure for either type of hepatitis, but, like HPV, the body is usually able to clear these up on its own thanks to the immune system and antibodies.

When the body can’t clear it up, the affected person is left with chronic hepatitis B. Treatment for it includes medication that helps slow down the virus’s attack on the liver. Some people with hepatitis B eventually need a liver transplant.

Genital herpes – A person infected with genital herpes will carry the virus in their bodies for life. Many people carry herpes without knowing it, and it is easily spread this way. An initial outbreak of herpes may be followed by continual flare-ups every few months. Medication can help lessen the severity and duration of herpes outbreaks, but it can’t cure it.

HIV/AIDSHIV is a viral infection with no cure. It attacks the immune system, and if left untreated, it decimates the body’s ability to protect itself from everyday germs and threats that cause illnesses.

HIV can turn into full-blown AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) within years without medication to slow down the progression of the disease. Those who receive treatment early enough can still live long lives, but only if the disease is managed properly at the outset.

STD Testing as a Prevention Method and Catalyst for Treatment

A common thread ties together treatments for all STDs, whether they are curable or incurable: they all depend on early detection and treatment in order to get the best health results. People who carry STDs unknowingly risk damage to their bodies, such as organ damage, damage to the reproductive system, organ failure, cancer, and even death. This is not to mention the risk of spreading an STD is greater when someone doesn’t know they are carrying one.

The only way to know if one has an STD is to get STD testing in Frisco, TX. There is no other way.

Life with an STD is Totally Manageable

As sexually transmitted diseases are often treatable, if not outright curable, getting diagnosed with one is not the end of the world. STD testing will give peace of mind as well as a jumpstart to getting treated and getting rid of the infection, or, conversely, beginning treatment to manage the symptoms of the virus. The bottom line? Better to get tested and take control of one’s health than to live in ignorance and eventually suffer the consequences.