This month is National Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness Month. Each year we observe this holiday to raise awareness about STDs and the importance of STD testing and treatment.
STDs are infections that are spread from one person to another, usually during vaginal, anal, and oral sex. The three most common STDs are the human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, and gonorrhea. However, there are more than 20 types of STDs.
In the U.S., 20 million STD cases are diagnosed each year. Sadly, STDs are all too common. This is because many people do not know they have an STD because many don’t have symptoms. But if left untreated, STDs can cause serious health problems.
This is especially true for pregnant women. Women who are pregnant can become infected with the same STDs as women who are not pregnant. If a woman has an STD during pregnancy, her baby is at higher risk for birth defects or being born too small or too soon. Some STIs, such as syphilis, HIV, chlamydia, and genital herpes, can even be transferred to the baby.
STDs can also affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant. Consequently, it is recommended that ALL women are regularly tested for STDs even if they have been tested in the past. Testing and treating pregnant women for STDs is an important way to prevent serious health issues for both mother and baby. So, be sure to ask your doctor about getting tested for STDs, practice safe sex, and know the facts.