It stands for sexually transmitted disease. In other words, a disease someone can get from sexual activity. You might hear them referred to as “STIs” sometimes, which stands for sexually transmitted infection.
Sexually transmitted diseases are too real. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 teens in the United States will contract an STD this year. Half of all sexually active teens will contract an STD by the time they turn age 25. Wait, what?? Yeah, the stats don’t look good.
But lots of people living with these infections have no idea because these symptoms may not show up for several months, or even years. Someone with an STD could keep passing it on to other people if they continue to be sexually active. All the while, their own bodies continue to take damage that may or may not be seen on the outside.
Some STDs can be treated, while some can never be cured. Some STDs cause discomfort, like blisters or pain while peeing. Others lead to death. STDs can even be passed on to a baby if a woman has one during pregnancy. Most babies who get an STD will die or have severe developmental issues.
Because someone may not be able to tell by their symptoms that they have an STD, it is important to get tested early at a doctor or health clinic to ensure that they are infection-free. Any sexually active person should be tested for STDs if they are not in a committed, lifelong relationship with someone who also knows for sure that they’ve never had an STD.
Is temporary pleasure worth lifelong physical and emotional pain for ourselves and for the people we love?
The best way to take care of our own sexual health is to not have sex outside of a lifelong, committed marriage. Anyone choosing to be sexually active before marriage should consider the risks and discuss past history with their partner. Condoms reduce the risk of contracting an STD by about 85%. This of course is better than using no protection, but still leaves a 15% chance of passing on one of these life-altering diseases. Testing early and often and following doctor’s orders exactly can help prevent damage.
We say all the time in Pure Freedom that it’s never too late to make changes. We might not be able to undo the consequences of our past decisions, but we can always decide to live a healthier lifestyle. If you’re concerned that you might have an STD, contact your doctor or local health department to get tested. And make new choices! You don’t have to keep making the same unhealthy decisions. Every day, we have a new opportunity to either respect ourselves and others or hurt ourselves and others. What choice will you make today?
By Kath Crane