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Every sexually active woman is at risk of becoming infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Using a condom can significantly reduce your risk of contracting numerous STDs. However, condoms cannot protect against those STDs that can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, such as "Crabs," also known as scabies and pubic lice, and the HPV virus which is responsible for genital warts and cervical cancer. If you are sexually active, it is important to know the facts about STDs as well as engage in safe sexual practices in order to protect yourself and keep yourself healthy.
All STDs can be treated to help relieve symptoms. However, most do not have cures and some may even prove to be fatal. Incurable STDs include herpes, genital warts, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis. Other STDs, like trichomoniasis, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea, can be cured but immediate treatment is necessary in order to prevent damage to your reproductive organs.
Even if an STD can be cured, any damage that may occur to your body prior to treatment is irreversible. This makes early treatment of STDs crucial to your reproductive and sexual health, as many sexually transmitted diseases remain undetected and can lead to more severe conditions such as cervicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and cervical cancer. Receiving regular pap smear tests is one of the best ways to prevent and diagnose STDs and related complications in women.
Experts are always working to develop new ways of treating, curing, and preventing STDs. Thanks to their efforts, there is now a vaccine for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, and HPV. While these vaccines will help to curb the number of women affected every year by these devastating infections, they cannot help those already infected. On the other hand, there is no vaccine currently available for Hepatitis C. However, there are some ways the disease can be prevented. Find out more at our Hepatitis C page.
HIV/AIDS is another STD that receives a lot of attention from researchers. While HIV treatment is currently available, it can often come with unwanted side effects. For this reason, scientists are devising newer, more effective treatments that do not have the same extreme side effects associated with them.