Having sex is a big responsibility. Any time you have sex you
are at risk for getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). The
more you know about STDs, the better you can protect yourself.
Crabs and Scabies
Crabs are small bugs that attach to pubic hair and bite the
skin. Scabies are also bugs that dig under the skin where they lay
their eggs, usually in the genital area. Both of these bugs make
you really itchy. They are passed from one person to another during
sex, but can also be passed by contact with clothes, bedding and
towels that have been used by an infected person. Your doctor can
tell you about over-the-counter or prescription creams that can get
rid of the bugs. Wash your clothes, bedding, and towels in hot
water to make sure you don't re-infect yourself after
Hepatitis is the name for swelling of the liver caused by a
few different viruses. The viruses are classified by letters of the
alphabet. Types A, B, and C are the most common.
Hepatitis A (HAV)
HAV is easily spread from person to person via dirty food,
water or stool (poop). A person can spread the virus most easily in
the first two weeks after getting infected, but before symptoms
show up - which means people can spread the virus without knowing
they have it. Poor hand washing and dirty water supplies can easily
transmit HAV, as well as many types of anal sex such as rimming,
fisting, fingering, and anal intercourse. Contact with something
that's been in contact with the anus of an infected person can also
spread the virus. This means that sharing sex toys, kissing someone
who's been rimming, and sucking someone who's just topped someone
else can all be risky activities for spreading HAV. Many people do
not have symptoms at all. If you do have symptoms, they could
include tiredness, belly pain, yellowing of the skin or eyes
(jaundice), dark urine (pee), light colored stool (poop) and/or
fever. HAV symptoms usually appear 2-6 weeks after being spread.
Hepatitis is diagnosed by a blood test. HAV may be detected as
early as the onset of symptoms.
Hepatitis B (HBV)
HBV is the most common sexually-transmitted type of viral
hepatitis. People can be infected through anal and vaginal sex by
sharing body fluids (blood, semen and vaginal fluids). It is
possible, although rare, for HBV to be transmitted by oral sex.
People who share or use needles with infected blood can be
infected. Now, blood transfusions are rarely the cause of HBV
infections in the United States due to the improved screening of
blood supplies. Although tattoo, body piercing, and acupuncture
needles may transmit HBV, they account for only a small number of
the total reported cases in the United States. HBV symptoms usually
appear 6 weeks to 6 months after being infected, if at all.
Important Note:HBV infection is more likely to turn into chronic
HBV for someone who is HIV+ (which means it lasts longer than six
months and may never go away). About 5,000 people die each year in
the United States due to problems like cirrhosis and liver cancer
because of HBV. Effective vaccinations are available to protect
against Hepatitis A and B.
This virus affects the skin and is passed from person to
person during sex or close skin-to-skin contact, including sharing
towels. It's often found in people who exercise in gyms. Symptoms
include smooth, firm, rounded bumps with a dip in the center on
your thighs, genitals, butt, below the waist and/or in the pubic
area. The bumps can be tan, yellow, grey or pink. The virus will go
away on it's own without treatment, but you can have your doctor
freeze off the bumps with liquid nitrogen if they hurt.
This infection is caused by a protozoa (single-celled
organism) passed from person to person during vaginal sex. Women
will have more symptoms than men. Commonly women will have
yellow-green or gray bubbly fluid coming from the vagina that has
an unpleasant smell and is itchy. A doctor can give you a
prescription called metronidazole to cure the infection. Your male
partner(s) should be treated so he won't re-infect you after you've
been treated and cured.
Vaginitis is a name for the swelling, itching, burning or
infection of the vaginal area caused by different germs. The most
common kind is bacterial vaginosis (b.v.) and is a fungus or yeast.
Vaginitis occurs when "bad" bacteria outweighs the "good" bacteria
in the vagina. Symptoms include a gray, yellow or white
fishy-smelling discharge and itching from the vaginal area. B.V.
may not need treatment, unless you're pregnant to make sure the
bacteria doesn't spread beyond the vaginal area. There are many
over-the-counter creams to treat yeast infections. If you're having
a lot of yeast infections, it is important to see a doctor because
they can be linked to other health problems. To prevent vaginitis,
wear clean cotton underwear and loose clothing, avoiding douching,
vaginal sprays, and scented vaginal products, and eat a balanced
diet with moderate amounts of caffeine, alcohol, and sweets