Condom staying safe
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Staying Safe

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that you can get mainly through unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sex. When we say unprotected sex, we mean sex without a condom.

WHAT'S IN A NAME -- STD OR STI?

What's the difference between an STI and an STD? You've got a sexually transmitted infection (STI) when you've been infected by a bacteria, virus or parasite through having unprotected sex. If the infection goes on to cause symptoms, such as unusual discharge from your penis or vagina, you've got a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Generally speaking, the only difference between an STI and an STD is whether you've got symptoms. Either way, you still have an infection that you can pass on to someone else. To keep things simple, in Love Matters we stick to the term STD.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF STDS -- BACTERIAL, VIRAL AND PARASITIC

Bacterial STDs are caused by bacteria: Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis.

Viral STDs are caused by a virus. Genital warts (human papillomavirus, HPV), Genital herpes (herpes simplex virus, HSV-1,HSV-2), Water warts (molluscum contagiosum), Hepatitis B, HIV (which causes AIDS).

Parasitic STDs are caused by parasites: Trichomoniasis (Trich), Pubic lice, Scabies.

Other infections that make it easier to catch STDs: Bacterial vaginosis, Candida(yeast infection).

The tricky thing about some STIs is that you can have them without noticing any symptoms, so you don't even realise you have an infection. But if you do have symptoms, it's important to get them checked out by your doctor/health care provider.

MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS IN WOMEN

  • Pain when you pee
  • Pain when you have sex
  • Bleeding in between your periods or when you've had sex
  • Yellow, green, or bloody vaginal discharge
  • Strong vaginal odour
  • Itchy labia, vulva, or pubic hair
  • Anal discharge
  • Bumps, sores, warts or blisters on the genitals or anus area
  • Abdominal pain

MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS IN MEN

  • Pain when you pee or when you have sex
  • Discharge from your penis or from your anus
  • Bumps, sores, warts, or blisters in the genital or anus area
  • Pain in one or both testicles

DON'T IGNORE IT!

If you think you've got the symptoms or have caught an STD, don't igore it -- make an appointment with the doctor or go to an STD clinic.

Most STDs are easy to cure, especially if you get treated early. If left untreated, some STDs can cause infertility (Chlamydia) or can be fatal (HIV).

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