What You Need to Know About STDs Now

Do you know how to protect yourself?


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Are You STD Savvy? - A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that in 2011 there were more than 19 million new bacterial and viral sexually transmitted infections. And almost half of those infections were in young people ages 15-24.From gonorrhea to chlamydia to herpes, we want to know: Do you really know what STDs are and how to protect yourself? —Kellee Terrell (Photo: Getty Images/STOCK)


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African-Americans and the STD Epidemic - Past data has shown that African-Americans — adults, young people and teens — have higher rates of STDs compared to their white and Latino counterparts. We account for 35 percent of all chlamydia, 48 percent of syphilis and 68 percent of gonorrhea diagnoses.  (Photo: Getty Images/STOCK)


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Most STDs Show No Symptoms - We’ve all seen the “cauliflower” slides in school warning us about the dangers of STDs. But here’s what they might not be teaching you: Most STDs, especially in men and boys, show no symptoms. No discharge, no pelvic pain, no nothing.   (Photo: Getty Images/STOCK)

DON?T Expect White Tablecloths - Do you have money for fancy restaurants and bottle service? No? So don?t expect that freshman who asked you out to drop a ton of cash on a date with you. In fact, be prepared to split the bill at the dive you hit up around the corner from campus, or better yet, plan a free date, like a walk in the park or an outdoor movie.   (Photo: Fuse/Getty Images)

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STDs Are Not Always Linked to Promiscuity - Yes, reducing the number of partners you have can reduce your risk of contracting STDs. But STDs don’t just happen to people who have a lot of partners. You can get an STD from a long-term boyfriend or girlfriend who may be infected and not even know. (Photo: Getty Images/STOCK)  


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Condoms Don’t Protect You From All STDs - Using condoms from beginning to end in vaginal and anal sex is crucial to reducing your risk, but they don’t give you 100 percent protection from STDs such as herpes and HPV. Herpes in particular can be transmitted from skin-to-skin contact and your partner doesn’t have to have an outbreak for you to contract it. (Photo: Getty Images/STOCK)


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Not All STDs Are Curable - Bacterial STDs such as syphilis and chlamydia are treatable with antibiotics, but viral ones such as herpes and genital human papillomavirus (HPV) don’t have a cure. Herpes can be managed with certain medicines. HPV, depending on the strain, can clear itself up over time. But in some women and men it can cause cancer and genital warts.  (Photo: BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)

Cheating the Tests - A urine sample is the most common test for performance-enhancing drugs. In order to "beat" the test, some athletes resort to swapping their urine with someone who is not using banned substances. (Photo: Purestock/Getty Images)

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You Need to Get Tested and Treated. Seriously. - Having undiagnosed and untreated STDs can cause a range of health issues such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infections, scarring and infertility in women. Not to mention, you can continue to unknowingly infect other people. Your best bet: Get tested regularly and if you test positive make sure you and your partner(s) get treated.  (Photo: Getty Images/STOCK) 


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Untreated STDs Make You Vulnerable to HIV Infection - Another downfall of having an untreated STD: HIV transmission is two to five times more likely. They lower your immune system, making you more vulnerable to becoming HIV-positive if you come into contact with the virus. And some STDs have open sores that make it easier for HIV to enter your body.  (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)


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Unprotected Oral Sex Is Risky, Too - Yes, the thought of using a condom or dental dam for oral sex may seem crazy, but it shouldn’t, especially given the rise in HPV-related oral cancers over the years. Also, it is possible to contract other STDs from oral sex, too.  (Photo: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Magnum Condoms)


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You Can Have More Than One STD in a Lifetime - STDs are not like chicken pox: Just because you get it once, doesn’t mean it cannot happen again. You have a 30 percent chance of contracting an STD with someone who has one that is untreated. Make sure you use condoms, get tested and have an open conversation with your partner(s) about their risk and the last time they were tested. (Photo: Getty Images/STOCK)