Tag Archives: sexually transmitted diseases

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 Testing: Reasons to Get It Done Sooner Rather than Later

Without a doubt, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are rampant in the U.S., especially for sexually active young adults in their twenties and younger. According to The Huffington Post, approximately half of this age group will contract an STD before they reach their 25th birthday. The really scary part is that most of them will not know that they have an STD at all.

Ironically, STD testing in Frisco, TX, is incredibly simple. Most health centers, Planned Parenthood facilities, and doctor’s offices will do it on request. All it takes is a blood sample or a swab of skin tissue, and the person will know if they have an underlying health problem.

However, many, many people are uninformed about sexual health, STDs, testing, and using protection. Most do not know that one can have an STD and not be aware of it, or that a lot of sexually transmitted diseases have no initial symptoms. Unfortunately, this lack of symptoms also means that they are easily spread from partner to partner.

Despite the bad news, there are ways to stay healthy, be proactive about sexual health, and protect one’s partner – and it doesn’t have to be difficult. The number one way to do all of this is to get tested for STDs, but there are lots of other good reasons to do it sooner rather than later, too.

Reasons STD Testing in Plano, TX is a Smart Plan

1.     Untreated STDs are a Big Health Risk

Though they may not show any symptoms in the affected person, sexually transmitted diseases like herpes, chlamydia, hepatitis C, and gonorrhea are easily spread through sexual contact, and may have long-lasting, detrimental effects on the body. For instance, many untreated STDs can lead to infertility and an increased risk for cancer. To this end, the only sure way to know if one has an STD is to get tested. Once a person knows about it, they can get treated.

2.     Most STDs are Treatable; Some are Curable

It may be a scary idea to get tested and possibly come away with a diagnosis, but it is far better than the alternative. An unknown STD can lead to bigger health consequences. On the other hand, when an STD is caught early, many cases can be cured, and most can be treated. Even the most serious of STDs, like HIV/AIDS, is completely treatable. STD tests at least give a person a fighting chance to get cured, or to prevent more serious health consequences from harboring an untreated infection.

3.     STD Testing Provides Protection and Peace of Mind

This one is obvious: STD testing gives a person peace of mind about their health, and it additionally protects themselves and their partners. People who are oblivious to the fact that they have an STD are far more likely to spread it to their mates; this is a burden for which no one ever wants to be responsible. Getting tested also means taking charge of one’s health, and taking steps toward a healthy lifestyle and healthy sex.

4.     Young People are at High Risk

The risk factor for contracting an STD is incredibly high if the person is both young (mid-twenties or younger) and sexually active, young and having unprotected sex, or within that age group and having unprotected sex with multiple partners, according to One Medical. If a person falls into any of these categories, it’s more important that they get tested as soon as they can. After that, if they continue risky sexual behavior, they will need regular testing for prevention and quick treatment if they do contract an STD.

5.     STDs are Transmittable in Many Different Ways – Not Just Through Intercourse

It may be surprising to hear, but many STDs can be transmitted through nothing more than skin-to-skin contact. An infection like oral herpes, or cold sores, can be spread through casual contact (it is highly contagious and is easily spread among a family), but it can be transmitted and become an STD if an infected person engages in oral sex. In this way, even those who have never engaged in intercourse can contract an STD. This is why everyone should be tested at least once, no matter their sexual status.

6.     Peace of Mind for Loved Ones

Getting tested gives a person’s partner peace of mind, too. They’ll know that there is another layer of safety regarding the relationship, and that they are not at risk. What often happens is that a person will not know they have an STD, and the symptoms will start popping up much later in their relationship.

Especially if the relationship is monogamous, this raises suspicions and concerns, especially since most people believe that being monogamous protects them. Before two people ever enter a sexual relationship with each other, they should each individually get tested to know where they stand at the outset.

The Reasons for Getting STD Testing in Frisco, TX Are Clear

Getting tested for STDs is a smart, responsible choice, even if one is not sexually active. The reasons are far-reaching and can save someone stress, worry, the risk for greater consequences later on, and get them treatment, if they need it, which can cure many STDs.

Knowing that one has an STD may be a scary thing to face, but it’s far more worrying to wonder if one has an STD and not know for sure. Whatever the reasons for getting tested, they overall let the person take charge of their health, protect themselves, and protect their partner(s). This is a fundamental aspect of practicing safe sex, not to mention engaging in healthy relationships based on mutual trust and respect.

10 Myths About STDs and STD Testing

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), how they are transmitted, or spread, who can get them, and what kind of sexual activity can spread them. These myths are proliferated through word-of-mouth, through rumor, and just generally through ignorance. Get the facts straight and learn the truth about STD myths – and then use that knowledge wisely.

The Top 10 STD Myths That Just Aren’t True

Myth #1: STDs Only Affect Slutty or Trashy People

This is absolutely untrue. Not only is this type of thinking divisive and judgmental, it assumes that STDs are associated with certain stereotypes, and not with unprotected sex. Anybody can contract an STD if they are not using protection, or not using protection correctly. Even those who abstain from sexual intercourse but engage in oral sex can get an STD. This ties into the second myth…

Myth #2: People Can’t Get an STD from Oral or Anal Sex

Many people mistakenly believe this, especially young people who are sexually active. The truth is, people can get a sexually transmitted disease in other ways than just vaginal intercourse. Many STDs are spread through bodily fluids, so coming in contact with these puts a person at risk. An example is if someone with oral herpes performs oral sex on someone else, and that person then gets infected with genital herpes.

Myth #3: Only Adults Can Get Infected with an STD

STDs are not limited to adults. Anyone who is sexually active can get infected. The only reason that this myth is out there is because STDs seem like very scary, “adult” things to have to deal with. But the truth is, STDs are far more common in young people under the age of 25. In fact, half of all young people in this age bracket will contract an STD, according to Planned Parenthood. STDs do not discriminate by age, status, or race. Young or old, rich or poor — anyone who is sexually active can get them.

Myth #4: STDs Can Be Spread from a Toilet Seat

Not only is this totally untrue, it’s also just plain silly. Science is all one needs to debunk this myth that tends to proliferate in the halls of high schools. The fact is, these types of infections and viruses cannot survive outside of the human body for long at all. They need the particular environment that a human body creates in order to live. This includes humans’ specific body temperature. Plus, in order to spread, STDs need quick, direct transmission – the kind found in skin-to-skin contact, for example.

Myth #5: Using a Condom Will Prevent All STDs

Nope. While a condom is an excellent measure of protection, and will decrease the risk of contracting an STD as well as getting pregnant, they are not 100 percent effective. There is still a slight risk involved. The only way to be sure that both partners are engaging in safe sex is to each get tested first.

Myth #6: When Someone Has an STD, It’s Apparent

On the contrary – lots of STDs show no symptoms. Someone can have an STD and not even know it. It is dangerous to assume that one is free of STDs just because there are no signs or symptoms, because people who are confident about their supposed clean bill of health might feel like they can do whatever they want, when in fact they are putting others at risk. STD tests in Plano, TX are the only way to know for sure that a person is, in fact, STD-free.

Myth #7: Having an STD Once Means a Person Can’t Contract It Again

This is blatantly false, because a person can’t become immune from sexually transmitted diseases after having them once. Much like the common cold, which can be contracted over and over when people are exposed to the virus, STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea can be contracted whenever a person has sexual contact with an infected person – even if they have already had the infection and have been cured. Other STDs, like HIV/AIDS and herpes, are life-long diseases – these will never go away, and the person will never become immune.

Myth #8: Having Sex Once Won’t Cause an Infection

Unfortunately, according to WebMD, even if a person only has sex once with an infected person, the chances of spreading the infection are really high – about 30 percent. Some people may believe that the odds will be in their favor, but this is a mistaken belief. It only takes one instance to spread an STD, and reasoning that a person is only engaging in sex once, or having a one-night stand, is not a justification to practice unsafe sex.

Myth #9: Spreading Herpes is Only a Concern when a Person Has an Outbreak

As it turns out, herpes can be spread even when a person is clear of outbreaks. According to WebMD, the herpes virus continues to be transmittable even when it is not visible. Multiple studies have shown that many people may additionally carry the virus without showing signs of it, and they can still spread it.

Myth #10: If One Person Gets STD Tests in Frisco, TX, Their Partner Doesn’t Have To

This isn’t true because of the fact that a person may have an STD and not know it. If one person in the relationship is tested and does not have any STDs, this does not clear their partner. The only way to be certain is for both parties to get STD testing done.

Get the Facts Straight About Sexually Transmitted Diseases

STDs are a touchy topic for many people, which is perhaps why so many myths about them swirl around. However, the only way to protect oneself and stay healthy is to know the facts. The only way to know if one has an STD is to get STD testing, and the only way to practice safe sex is to have that knowledge.