Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are widespread across the United States. Most people know about the common varieties, such a gonorrhea, chlamydia and genital herpes, but those aren’t the only dangers lurking out there. Here are 20 things you probably didn’t know about STDs.
1. The cost of testing and treatment for STDs in the United States runs about $13 billion per year.
2. Bumps on the genital are not always the result of an STD. It could simply be genital acne.
3. The CDC reports that there are about 333 million new cases of STDs worldwide each year.
4. Experts estimate that over 65 million Americans are infected with a viral STD. Half of all people under 25 who are sexually active will contact an STD.
5. The human papilloma virus (HPV) is the fastest spreading STD in the U.S.
6. Bacterial STDs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis, are easily curable. Viral STDs have no cure, although medications can control the symptoms. Viral STDs include HPV, HIV, and herpes.
7. If left untreated, curable STDs like syphilis and gonorrhea can have serious consequences, including infertility, chronic pain, severe birth defects, miscarriages, mental illness, and death.
8. A number of STDs, including HIV, can be passed to a sexual partner through oral sex.
9. Every year, nearly 700,000 Americans catch gonorrhea.
10. Gonorrhea is also known as “the clap,” a term derived from the Middle English word “clapper” meaning a rabbit hole – which was slang for whore house.
11. HIV/AIDS originally spread to humans in the late 19th century from primates in Africa. Contrary to common misunderstanding, this does not indicate that anyone had sex with monkeys. Hunters were infected when they were bitten or scratched by infected animals.
12. HIV/AIDS was not recognized as a disease until 1981, but patient zero in the United States was a Haitian who came to America in the late 1960s.
13. 15- to 24-year-olds make up only 25% of the sexually active population, but are responsible for nearly half of all new cases of STDs diagnosed each year. Every single day, 12,000 American teenagers are diagnosed with an STD.
14. You cannot catch an STD from a swimming pool, hot tub, or public bathroom (unless you have sex there). Almost all STDs require direct contact with the genitals. They die almost immediately without a host, so they can’t survive on surfaces like toilet seats.
15. Some HIV victims develop AIDS almost immediately. Others may take decades.
16. STD symptoms:
- Burning or pain while urinating
- Unusual discharge from the penis or vagina
- Sores, blisters, rashes, swelling, or growths on the genitals or rectum
- Itching of genitals or anus
- Pain during sex
- Lower abdominal pain
17. Nearly one in five people in the U.S. has genital herpes, but most, are unaware they are infected.
18. Given the rate of spread, experts estimate that within the next decade, up to 40% of all men and 50% of all women could have herpes.
19. Al Capone suffered from a case of advanced syphilis. Other famous – or infamous – people thought to have suffered from syphilis: Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Friedrich Nietzsche, Edourd Manet, and Napoleon. It should be noted that untreated syphilis results in dementia.
20. During spring break, half of all sexual encounters are unplanned…and unprotected.
The most vulnerable among us are also the ones that give it the least amount of thought. Other methods of birth control can’t protect you against STDs, so wear a condom…and get tested for STDs regularly.