There's nothing wrong with having a healthy sex life -- but it's important to recognize the fact that sexually transmitted diseases (STD) can happen to anyone who is sexually active. It's also possible to transmit -- or acquire -- a sexually transmitted disease without realizing it.
If you're a sexually active adult, here are some important facts you should know:
An STD Can Happen At Any Age
STDs are actually on the rise in people of all ages -- a fact that often takes older people by surprise. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that approximately 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases are diagnosed every year -- although not all of them get reported to health departments.
While STDs are typically thought of as a "young person's problem," the reality is that there has been a significant increase in the number of cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia among older adults in recent years. For example, the number of reported cases of gonorrhea among adults aged 45 to 54 almost doubled between 2012 and 2016 -- and almost tripled among those aged 65 and older in the same time period.
Many STDs Are Easily Treatable -- But Not Treating One Can Be Dangerous
These days, many sexually transmitted diseases are quick and easy to treat. Chlamydia can be cured with a round of antibiotics, for example, and gonorrhea can be treated with a single dose of the right medication. Even STDs that can't be cured can be effectively managed with the right treatment.
Letting an STD go untreated, however, is a bad idea. Women can develop pelvic inflammatory conditions that are terribly painful and can actually lead to hospitalization. Men can quickly develop an infected urethra and develop kidney infections from the problems they have urinating. Both sexes can develop painful sores in the genital area or mouth -- and long term issues from some STDs include vision loss, muscle pain, and dementia.
Seek Treatment For Any Unusual Symptoms If You've Had Intercourse
If you have any kind of bleeding or pain in your genitals, develop red blisters or sores, have chronic itching and redness, or it is painful to urinate, and you've been sexually active within the last year, it's time to seek out a medical services clinic and ask for a test. Testing is quick, easy, and discrete -- and it's far better to be safe than run the risk that you've contracted an STD without realizing it (and then passing it on to a partner).
Speak with a local medical services clinic for more help.