By Phoenix Staff

Today’s world is a highly sexualized culture. The music, the imagery the messaging and social media and sexting all drive adolescents to become sexually active. Unwanted pregnancies are often referred to as cause for concern. 

The fact is that Sexually Transmitted Diseases or STD’s are equally as troubling, life changing and they are on the rise here in NYS and the City of Utica. Perhaps if more sexually active adolescents knew the dangers of unprotected sex and STD’s they would be more careful.

Here is a short piece on why all sexually active people with multiple partners should be concerned.

There are 3 types of STDs:  bacterial, viral, and parasitic.  STD’s can be asymptomatic which means that they show no symptoms. They can be transmitted from one sexual partner to another, from a mother to her infant in the womb, from a mother to her infant while breastfeeding, from a donor to a recipient during blood transfusions, from drug abusers who share of IV needs, and from contacts such as sharing towels, drinking straws that involve the exchange of bodily fluids.    

Unlike bacterial infections that can be cured, once an individual develops a viral STD, he is infected for life. Treatments for viral infections with anti-virals are effective, but they are not cures.   

Cytomegavirus (CMV) is throughout humanity by the time they reach their 40s.  HPV, human papilloma virus causes genital warts and cervical cancer. 

Parasitic STD’s include Trichomoniasis, Scabes and Pubic Lice.

When several bacterial STDs were monitored over a period of 5 years it was found that Gonorrhea and Chlamydia increased for 4 years in a row.  

There was a 17% increase in cases of Gonorrhea.  Incidence of Chlamydia continued to rise in 2017 there were 7% more cases than 2016. Both of these STD’s can be cured by antibiotics.  

Presumably the youngest sexually active, females aged 15-24 years had more Chlamydia than any other group.  Males aged 20-29 had the highest incidence of Gonorrhea with an increase of 21% in 2017 while females only had an increase of 11% in 2017.  

Chlamydia is the most common STD in the United States.  Like syphilis, it is also caused by a bacterium and passed on to a partner through vaginal, anal, or oral sex.  Chlamydia can also be transmitted from mother to offspring in utero, or it can be transmitted to the infant during its vaginal delivery.  

When left untreated, Chlamydia leads to PID, or pelvic inflammatory disease.  When a woman has Chlamydia, there is an increase in her susceptibility to contract other infections.  Untreated Chlamydia and PID can lead to ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, and infertility.  Chlamydia responds to treatment with antibiotics.

When a woman conceives while she has a bacterial STD, the pregnancy can end in a spontaneous abortion, or even go to term when it presents as a stillbirth.

Chlamydia is not associated with any symptoms except for during a brief period 1-3 days after the infection is contracted.  The symptoms associated with Chlamydia including burning during urination, discharge, spotting.  Male symptoms include urethral discharge, pain, burning during urination and testicular inflammation which can lead to sterility. 

In New York, there was a decline in the incidence of primary and secondary syphilis while nationally there was a 10% increase in these infections.  Men received 94% of all primary syphilis diagnoses and 86% of all diagnoses of secondary syphilis.  

Although fewer women contracted primary and secondary syphilis, during the study, there was a 3-fold increase in the incidence of women with primary and secondary syphilis.  In 2017 there was a 15% increase in the incidence of congenital syphilis.

Antibiotics are highly effective in killing the Syphilis bacterium though they do not reverse the damage done while the disease is active and it can and will cause death.

It must be stressed that this data does not supply a correct representation of the burden of Sexually Transmitted Infections in New York State.  Not all cases of STI’s are reported to doctors, not all cases of STIs are accurately diagnosed.  When diagnosed, not all cases of STIs are reported to the department of health.   

Given that STDs can be treated so effectively, why do so many people go without getting treatment for their STDs?

They lack health insurance. 

They do not have money for medications.

They are embarrassed.

They don’t want their parents to know.

Ignorance and misinformation.

Shame or guilt.

They did not practice safe sex.

They did not abstain.

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