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Safe Sex: Stop Stds and Unplanned Pregnancy

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Safe Sex: Stop STDs and Unplanned Pregnancy
Practicing safe sex to reduce the risks of getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unplanned pregnancy should be on the minds of people who are sexually active. According to Mayo Clinic Staff, “T he organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases may pass from person to person in blood, semen, or vaginal and other bodily fluids,” (“STDs” 1).
Some STDs can be non­sexually transmitted during childbirth or pregnancy. Blood transfusions or shared needles can also transmit STDs. In fact, it’s possible to acquire STDs from people who appear to be healthy because STDs don’t cause symptoms in many people. The common STDs are chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, HIV/AIDs, HPV (Human Papillomavirus), and syphilis (Most
Common STDs, 1). Unplanned pregnancy is getting pregnant without planning it. Who wants to catch an STD or increase the chances of an unplanned pregnancy? If both parties say no, then it’s up to the individual to take responsibility to prevent it from happening. Safe sex should be practiced to reduce the risk of getting STDs and the risk of an unplanned pregnancy.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is the most commonly reported STD in the United
States. It is usually transmitted via vaginal or anal sex, but it can also be transmitted from oral sex. Approximately 50% of men and 25% of women have symptoms from this infection. The symptoms are pain or burning sensation when urinating, or an unusual discharge from the penis or vagina. Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics (“Most Common STDs” 1).
Gonorrhea is also a common bacterial infection that can be sexually transmitted. It is common that people who contract this infection also contract Chlamydia. The symptoms are pain or burning during urination, or an odd discharge from the penis or vagina. Approximately
20% of women get these symptoms, but majority of men have symptoms as well. Antibiotics are used to treat this STD.

Herpes is a virus that has two strains: HSV­1 and HSV­2. These strains can cause genital herpes, but HSV­2 is usually responsible for causing it. A symptom of herpes is painful blisters around the anus, penis, or vagina. However, it is possible to get the blisters inside the anus or vagina in which they are unnoticed. Some people have the virus, but they don’t get any symptoms. Herpes can easily be transmitted by skin­to­skin contact, and it is most contagious when blisters are present. Although there’s no cure for herpes, medication can be taken to manage it.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that is responsible for causing AIDS.
This virus can be transmitted to a person by having vaginal or anal sex with an infected partner.
The virus can also be transmitted from sharing a needle with someone who is infected, but HIV is not transferrable by kissing or from saliva. HIV’s symptoms are like the flu with diarrhea and weight loss. It can take years for HIV to damage one’s immune system to the point in which the human body loses its capability to defend against infections. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS at this time, but there are medications to prolong the lives of those infected with HIV/AIDS.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is virus that can be transmitted via anal, oral, or vaginal sex, as well as skin­to­skin contact. While most types of HPV do no harm and cause no symptoms, there are more than 30 types that do cause harm. The ones that are harmful can cause genital warts and cancer in the cervix, mouth, penis, or throat. Nowadays, there are two vaccines that protect against the cancer­causing types and genital warts.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted by direct contact with a syphilis sore during anal, oral, or vaginal sex. There are four stages of syphilis: primary, secondary, latent, and late syphilis. During the first stage, there may be a sore or multiple sores at the location where the bacteria entered the body. According to the CDC Fact sheet, “The sores go away on its own in three to six weeks and moves to the secondary stage,” (“Syphilis” 1). During

the secondary stage, rashes appear on the body. Then, sores appear in the anus, mouth, or vagina. The symptoms usually disappear by latent stage, but the syphilis remains in the body.
Approximately 15% of those infected with the third stage will progress to the final stage. The brain, nerves, and organs are damaged the disease in during the final stage. Syphilis is easily treated with antibiotics in the early stages.
Pregnancy can only occur near ovulation time, which is when the ovary releases an egg into the fallopian tube. Women with regular periods ovulate midway between menstrual periods.
Having unprotected sex one or two days before ovulation poses the highest risk of pregnancy, which is approximately 30% chance of becoming pregnant. The risk is lower three days before ovulation, which is about 15% chance. During the day of ovulation, the risk is around 12% chance. The risk after the day of ovulation, it becomes 0% (“Emergency Contraception” 1).
It is more difficult for women with irregular menstrual cycles to determine when they will ovulate. However, studies show that women who have unprotected sex during mid­cycle have a much lower risk of getting pregnant in the real world. Having sex any day other than three days prior to ovulation carries a lower risk of pregnancy. Safest sex includes ways to prevent or significantly reduce the risks of contracting
STDs. The safest way is abstinence, which is not having sex at all. The second safest is only having sex with who does not have any STDs, does not use injectable drugs, and only has sex with each other. If a person is known to have HIV or another STD, or the person’s sexual history is unknown, there are safe sexual activities for this situation. The following are the activities: 1) having phone sex or fantasizing, 2) self or mutual masturbation, 3) non­sexual massage, 4) rubbing each other’s clothed bodies, and 5) kissing (“Preventing” 1).
Safe sex is a way to reduce the risks of contracting an STD or STDs. It is basically not allowing vaginal secretions or semen to enter a partner’s anus, mouth, penis, or vagina.

Moreover, genital skin­to­skin contact is not allowed as some STDs can be transmitted from this type of contact. When a person has bleeding gums, cuts, or sores; the person needs to take extra precautions to be safe. One way to practice safe sex is by using a condom, dental dam, or plastic wrap during oral sex. Another way is to use a male or female condom during vaginal sex.
In addition, a male or female condom during anal sex is practice for safe sex.
Practicing safe sex not only reduces the risks getting STDs, it also reduces the chances of unplanned pregnancies. Using a condom during vaginal sex prevents semen from entering the vagina. If no semen successfully enters the vagina, then there won’t be any sperm to reach the egg to become pregnant.
There are people who oppose practicing safe sex to reduce the risks of getting STDs.
They argue that anal, oral, or vaginal sex feels better bare because the protection reduces the skin­to­skin contact. Yes, people say it feels better, but it is not worth getting an STD or an incurable STD. Others believe they will never get any STDs as long as their partners appear to be clean. Some STDs do not produce any symptoms so it is unable to determine whether a partner is disease­free for sure. Furthermore, some people say most STDs can be cured so they can just take antibiotics if they ever catch something. Taking too much antibiotics eventually reduces its effectiveness as bacterial strains become resistant to the antibiotics. In fact, some people are just ignorant about STDs and how they are transmitted from unprotected sex. People need to become educated on safe sex and STD prevention, or they will not know how to protect themselves. Others are against practicing safe sex to reduce the chances of unplanned pregnancy.
They say women can only get pregnant around the time of ovulation. It is true, but women with irregular menstrual cycles can ovulate during different times. Ovulation can occur during a time that ovulation is not expected. Moreover, others believe women cannot get pregnant during

menstruation. This is a myth because there are women who have conceived during menstruation. Furthermore, some people say the odds of getting pregnant are not high. The odds of getting pregnant may not be perceived as high, but it is still a risk not worth taking.
It is not worth getting an STD or getting an unplanned pregnancy; therefore, practice safe sex to reduce the chances of it happening. Practicing safe sex is not a difficult task, but it does require responsibility and effort. Make the effort to learn by learning online or going to a health clinic to pick up brochures and free condoms. Use the knowledge to take responsibility and practice safe sex. The bottom line is that it is not worth getting an STD or getting an unplanned pregnancy.

Works Cited "Preventing HIV and Other STDs With Safe Sex." ebMD
W
. WebMD, n.d. Web. 15 May 2015. Pruthi, Sandhya. "Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)." ayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation, 19
M

Aug. 2004. Web. 15 May 2015. Stewart, Susan C. "Emergency Contraception: What You Need to Know."
The Doctor Will See
You Now
. InterMDnet, 4 July 2011. Web. 15 May 2015. "Syphilis ­ CDC Fact Sheet."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention, 08 July 2014. Web. 15 May 2015.

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