According to the CDC, an estimated 20 million new STD cases occur every year in the U.S. Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of getting infected with an STD. Getting tested regularly is very important.
Most STDs will show some symptoms but there are a few that are asymptomatic. This means that you could be having one of them and never know you have it until they’ve become chronic or caused serious side effects. Let’s take a look at 4 popular asymptomatic STDs:
1. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
This is one of the most prevalent STI and which is hard to protect yourself against even when using condoms. It’s also one of the STDs that you could be carrying and passing around without knowing. If you’re over 30 years old, it’s important that you get a routine HPV testing along with your pap smear because even though it’s not life threatening, some strains of HPV cause cervical cancer.
Chlamydia is common among women under 25 years. It’s popularly referred to as a silent infection, because most people never show symptoms. The most common symptom that normally shows up when the virus moves up the urinary tract is a burning feeling when urinating and an abnormal vaginal discharge. Most people confuse these symptoms for bacterial vaginosis or yeast infection and will normally not go for testing. When left untreated, Chlamydia spreads to the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease.
This is another prevalent STD among sexually active women below the age of 25. Most patients will not experience symptoms. A few mild symptoms similar to those of Chlamydia include abnormal vaginal discharge and breakthrough bleeding. These symptoms mean that the STD has spread further from where it started. If gonorrhea is left untreated for a long time, it will cause pelvic inflammatory disease and damage your reproductive organs. This STD also increases your risk of getting HIV.
In other extreme cases, it can cause life-threatening infections in your heart, brain, blood, and joints. If contracted when pregnant, there’s an increased risk of causing premature birth, miscarriage, and serious health complications such as blood infection and blindness for the newborn. The good news is that gonorrhea is curable with antibiotics especially if caught early.
Statistics from the CDC show that about one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 years in the U.S. has genital herpes. Herpes will normally cause painful, red skin lesions, but not everyone will have them. In fact, studies show that up to 90 percent of herpes simplex 2 patients never show symptoms and are therefore never diagnosed. This is the strain that normally causes genital herpes. Herpes simplex 1 on the other hand causes mouth sores. HSV-1 strain can easily spread from the mouth to the genitals causes genital herpes through oral sex. Herpes will generally be more infectious during an active breakout, but will also spread even without sores.
With STDs that are asymptomatic, it’s very vital that everyone who is sexually active goes for routine STD testing to ensure that in the case of infection, the STDs are treated immediately before they cause more problems.
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