This week is STD Awareness Week! The perfect time to join the effort in raising awareness and breaking the stigma on STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).
Do you know what an STD is? Or do you know how common they are? In fact, WHO reports that there are more than 376 million new cases of STDs each year globally (WHO, 2021). This is why it's so important to be informed about STDs and how to protect yourself from them.
In the first article of this series, let's talk about a critical truth: You're more likely to get an STD than you think!
Table of Contents:
Let's get started by setting the ground.
What are STDs?
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are spread from one person to another mainly through unprotected sex (vaginal, oral, and anal sex). They also can spread through sharing of sex toys or intimate physical contact like heavy petting.
Why you should take STDs seriously?
Some people might not experience symptoms even when they are infected, but it doesn't mean they are ok. If left untreated, STDs can result in very serious and profound impact on health, including infertility, neurological and cardiovascular disease, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths, and increased risk of cancer and HIV. STDs are also associated with stigma and may heavily affect quality of life.
What is the chance of you contracting an STD?
To be honest, there is simply no straightforward answer to that, as there are just far too many scenarios and factors.
However, if you are interested in finding out, you may take the below quiz (provided by CDC) that lets you know if you may be at risk of contracting an STD. The results might actually surprise you!
Here's quiz: please answer yes or no to the following question.
If you answer "yes" to any of the points above, you are at risk of contracting an STD!
Did you also underestimate the risk of contracting STDs?
Well....to be honest, it is rather common that people underestimate the risk, and there are many reasons for that:
They simply don't know: Individuals who have gotten an STD might not even be aware, as it is relatively common for STDs to not show any symptoms at all till weeks later. As a result, they might unknowingly continue to pass on and infect others around them if no condoms were used.
Misunderstandings & misinformation: Many individuals lack the proper education and comprehensiveness of STD-related topics. In return, this causes huge misunderstandings and misinformation being passed around.
Limited access to high-quality & easy to understand information: The internet has become a convenient and key source of information for many people, but it also contains a vast amount of misinformation. Many also claimed that finding high-quality and easy-to-understand information is a challenge by itself.
Across our research, there seems to be a lack of medically correct information for people to turn to when they have questions. The number of misconceptions found on the internet has also led to many being largely unaware of the risk of contracting STDs.
Raising STD awareness & breaking stigma starts with your action!
Now don’t be shy and help to share this information with your friends to spread more awareness of the risk of contracting STDs! Together, let’s help to clear away misconceptions about STDs and educate people on the right information.
To give you further insights on how one is able to contract STDs, we will be looking into the common myths and facts regarding STDs testing and prevention in our next article!
For more information and resources about STD awareness week, CDC has an entire page set up with it: https://www.cdc.gov/std/saw/resources.htm
Stay tuned to our next article.