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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

When to Seek Medical Care

A medical examination may be necessary if a person believes he or she may have an STD or if he or she may have been exposed to someone with an STD. Being seen by a doctor as soon as possible after exposure to an STD is important; these infections can easily spread to others and can have serious complications.

  • Go to a hospital's emergency department in these circumstances:
    • If an STD   problem worsens
    • If a fever   develops with other symptoms
    • If it will be a couple of days before an appointment with a doctor
Self-Care at Home

Home treatment of STDs is not recommended because prescription medications are usually necessary.

Prevention

The best way to prevent STDs is to avoid sexual contact with others. If people decide to become sexually active, they can reduce the risk of developing an STD in these ways:

  • Be abstinent (refrain from sex entirely) or be in a monogamous relationship (both sexual partners are each others' only sexual partner).
  • Delay having sexual relations as long as possible. The younger people are when they become sexually active, the higher the lifetime risk for contracting an STD. The risk also increases with the number of sexual partners.
  • Correctly and consistently use a male latex condom. The spermicide nonoxynol-9, once thought to protect against STDs as well as to prevent pregnancy  , has been proven to be ineffective for disease prevention. Do not rely on it.
  • Have regular checkups.
  • Learn the symptoms of STDs.
  • Avoid having sex during menstruation. (HIV   is passed more easily at this time.)
  • Avoid anal intercourse or use a condom.
  • Avoid douching because it removes some of the natural protection in the vagina.

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