STDs can be passed in various ways. If you are at risk, it’s important to get tested and seek immediate treatment for your health, wellness, and those around you. Infected individuals who are also pregnant risk passing an STD on to their child during pregnancy or birth.
What Is an STD?
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are pathogenic infections spread from one person to another. Depending on the type of infection, it is caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites.
Many individuals never experience signs or symptoms or mistake manifestations for another condition. However, even if signs or symptoms are not experienced, damage can still occur to bodily health, and lethal infections may be passed on to others.
Testing is the only way to know if treatment is needed and is essential in protecting others.
How Are STDs Spread?
STDs are usually spread by sexual contact with others. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, “Sometimes these infections can be transmitted nonsexual, such as from mothers to their infants during pregnancy, childbirth, or through blood transfusions or shared needles.”
Women who are pregnant should exercise additional caution. Pregnancy does not protect against STDs, and they can cause harm to the unborn child. The CDC states, “STDs can complicate your pregnancy and may have serious effects on both you and your developing baby. Some of these problems may be seen at birth; others may not be discovered until months or years later.”
Additionally, some women question if STDs can pass through breast milk if breastfeeding. The National Institutes of Health states some STDs can pass to babies who participate in breastfeedings from infected mothers. Getting tested and speaking with a local pregnancy center or trusted provider can provide the guidance necessary to understand if breastfeeding is a safe option for you and your child.
Some infections, such as hepatitis, shigella infection, or giardia, can be spread through sexual contact and non-sexually (such as close contact, being a caretaker, or through infected food or water).
Those most at risk include those who:
- Have unprotected sex
- Have sexual contact with multiple partners
- Have a history of STIs
- Are forced to engage in sexual activity. Dealing with rape or assault is difficult, but seeing a doctor as soon as possible is important to receive screening, treatment, and emotional support.
- Misuse of alcohol or use of recreational drugs. Substance misuse can inhibit judgment, making you more willing to participate in risky behaviors.
- Inject drugs. Needle sharing spreads many serious infections, including HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
- Are between the ages of 15 and 24.
If there is cause to believe an STD is present or at risk of being contracted, contact us today for a free, confidential test in a judgment-free zone.
Health and wellness matter. Testing and treatment ensure the protection of that health and wellness.