Breaking the Stigma: A Student’s Guide to Understanding and Preventing STDs
As college students, we’re taught never to judge a book by its cover. But when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), the stigma surrounding them seems almost impossible to shake.
Being a teenager, navigating the complexities of sexual health can be a daunting task. With the many myths and misconceptions surrounding sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), it’s no wonder why many students feel overwhelmed and embarrassed.
But what if we say that STDs are a normal part of sexual health and can happen to anyone? With the proper knowledge and tools, you can take control of your sexual health and prevent the spread of STDs.
So, if you’re the one concerned about STDs, this blog is for you! This blog will explore exactly what STDs are, their symptoms, causes, and tips to prevent STDs. So buckle up – It’s time to break the stigma with the knowledge you need to stay healthy and happy.
What are Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)?
The term “sexually transmitted diseases” (STDs) or “sexually transmitted infections” (STIs) refers to diseases or infections that are mainly spread through sexual activity.
Blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and other bodily fluids may carry the bacteria, viruses, or parasites that cause sexually transmitted diseases from one person to another.
Teenagers or people between the ages of 16 – 24 are thought to be more susceptible to STIs than older persons. Teenage people are more prone to have multiple sexual partners and participate in unprotected sex. STIs can cause a variety of issues if they are not appropriately treated.
Common Types of STDs in the UK
Some of the most prevalent STD types, especially in teenagers, in the UK include the following:
One of the most prevalent STIs in the UK is chlamydia. Sexual activities, including oral sex and vaginal intercourse, can transmit this condition.
Although fever and abdominal pain are potential indicators, persons who have acquired it may not have any symptoms at all. Antibiotics can very effectively cure it, but if it is not treated, it can have major effects on one’s reproductive system and general health.
After chlamydia, gonorrhea is the UK’s second most prevalent bacterial STI. Most people who test positive are younger than 25. This STD and chlamydia frequently co-occur.
The warm, wet parts of the reproductive system are ideal for the gonorrhea-causing bacteria to develop and reproduce quickly. Genital discharge and trouble urinating are symptoms. If the disease spreads to other bodily areas, it could get worse.
Gonorrhoea is very easily curable and treatable with a single antibiotic injection, but if neglected, it can have major effects on one’s reproductive system and general health.
Syphilis is a bacterial disease easily transmitted and can have long-term health consequences. This STD is spread via vaginal, oral, or anal sex, just like chlamydia. A lesion, a sore that develops at the infection site, is one of the symptoms.
Despite being less widespread than some STDs, the numbers are increasing. Antibiotics can be used to cure an STD, but if it is not, they could lead to more severe health problems, like spreading to other organs.
4. Genital warts
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is responsible for the sexually transmitted infection known as genital warts. This is the most prevalent form of STD.
Genital warts are small fleshy masses or lumps on the genitals. Although they might be unpleasant to look at and upsetting for some infection sufferers, they are mostly painless.
Other STDs include hepatitis A, B, and C, which harm the liver and other organs, and genital herpes, which causes cold sores and blisters to appear on the body.
Symptoms of STDs
STDs don’t typically present with symptoms. However, they can occasionally exhibit a variety of symptoms, including none at all. As a result, they may be undetected until complications arise or a partner is diagnosed.
Common symptoms and signs that could indicate an STD include:
- Stinging or painful urinating
- Lower abdominal ache and fever
- Bumps or sores on the genitalia
- Rash on the hands, feet, or trunk
- Discharge from the penis
- Unusual or unpleasant vaginal discharge
- Sexual discomfort
- Uncommon vaginal bleeding
- Lesions in the mouth or rectal area
- Painful, enlarged lymph nodes
Say Goodbye to Embarrassment – Prevent the Transmission of STDs in College
As college students, it’s important to prioritise your sexual health and take steps to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). While STDs are a common and often embarrassing topic, we must arm ourselves with the knowledge and tools to keep ourselves and our partners healthy.
Here are a few simple steps that college students can take to prevent the transmission and overcome the embarrassment associated with STDs:
1. Educate yourself
Knowledge is power. Take the time to learn about STDs, their transmission, and their different types. Understanding the facts will help to dispel the myths and reduce the stigma surrounding STDs.
2. Practice safe sex
This is one of the best methods to prevent the transmission of STDs. This might include using condoms or other forms of protection during sexual activity. Make sure to use protection every time you have sex, as even one unprotected encounter can result in the transmission of an STD.
3. Get tested regularly
Regular testing is an integral part of sexual health. If you are sexually active, get tested for STDs at least once a year or more frequently if you have multiple partners. Early detection and treatment of STDs can prevent the spread of infection and reduce the risk of long-term health problems.
4. Communicate with your partner
Communication is key when it comes to preventing the spread of STDs. Before engaging in sexual activity, discuss your sexual history and STD status with your partner. If either of you has an STD, taking the necessary steps to prevent transmission is crucial.
5. Get vaccinated
Some STDs, such as HPV and Hepatitis A and B, can be prevented through vaccination. Talk to your healthcare provider about which vaccines are right for you.
6. Find a supportive community and speak up
Surround yourself with supportive and understanding people. This could be friends, family members, or healthcare professionals. Share your story and help break down the stigma surrounding STDs. When people are more open and honest about their experiences, it becomes easier for others to do the same.
As college students, taking control of your sexual health and preventing the transmission of STDs should be a top priority. By embracing the facts, abstinence from sex, practicing safe sex, getting tested frequently, avoiding risky behaviours, and getting vaccinated, we can reduce our risk of contracting and spreading STDs.
By breaking down the stigma and embarrassment associated with STDs, you can empower yourself to make informed decisions and take charge of your sexual health. Remember, knowledge is power, and educating yourself can keep you and your partners healthy and happy.