WOMEN AND SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES

What are sexually transmitted diseases?
   Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infectious diseases caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites and are transmitted from an infected person during sexual contact. STDs can cause complications such as infertility, tubal pregnancy, cervical cancer and blindness in newborns. There are many types of STDs but some specific examples are Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Genital Herpes and HIV/AIDS.

Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are 19 million new cases each year; half of the cases occur in young people between 15-24 years of age. Rates of Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and HPV are highest among adolescents and young women and rates decline exponentially with age
Collectively, STD rates are higher among non-white women
Direct medical costs in the United States are estimated to be over $14 billion annually
The national rate for STDs in 2005 was 497 cases per 100,000 females
Between January-December 2006 there have been 73 cases of Chlamydia and 12 cases of Gonorrhea documented in Cowley County. There has been an outbreak of Syphilis in northern Oklahoma (32 cases) and Southern Kansas (1 case) in the early months of 2007.
Gonorrhea is becoming resistant to antibiotics; the CDC is now recommending only one antibiotic for treatment of this STD.
The rate of HIV/AIDS has been increasing among heterosexual females

Risk Factors
Unprotected sex
Multiple sexual partners
Age - adolescent females are more susceptible due to immature cervical tissue and lack of immunity
Drug and/or alcohol abuse - lead to increased participation in high risk behaviors

Signs and Symptoms
   Can vary according to the specific STD but may include any of the following:
Vaginal discharge-creamy yellow, foamy white, gray, or yellow-green -may also be bloody
Foul odor
Redness, burning and/or itching
Blisters, sores, or warts
Urinary frequency and/or discomfort
Flu-like symptoms
Abdominal discomfort or pain
Swollen lymph glands
May have no signs or symptoms

Screening
Pelvic examination - visual exam and tissue samples
Urine and blood tests
Cultures and wet-mount slide
The CDC recommends annual screening for all sexually active women under the age of 26 and older females with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners

Treatment
Will depend upon which STD is diagnosed but may include the following:
Antibiotics
Acyclovir (Zovirax)
Laser surgery
Cryotherapy (freezing)
Vaginal creams/ointments
Both you and your sexual partner(s) may require treatment

Preventive Measures
Adherence to condom use; condoms do not protect against all STDs
Limit the number of sexual partners
HPV Immunization

WNH Services
Family and women's health care specialists
Clinical laboratory

WNH Physicians
Health Professionals by Specialty

Resources
Centers for Disease Control(CDC)
Web Path
OBGYN.NET
National Institutes of Health(NIH)
Kansas Department of Health & Environment