According to the Center for Disease Control, chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can affect both men and women. Although it can be easily cured, chlamydia is difficult to detect, often showing no symptoms. This causes problems as it makes it easy to spread to a sexual partner if you are unaware that you are infected. If left untreated, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), tubal factor infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. Even if you have contracted chlamydia in the past, as long as you are having vaginal, anal or oral sex, you can contract it again.
According to the Center of Disease Control Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2) Infections are transmitted through contact with lesions, mucosal surfaces, genital secretions, or oral secretions. Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during sexual contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. Transmission most commonly occurs from an infected partner who does not have visible sores and who may not know that he or she is infected.
Neonatal herpes is one of the most serious complications of genital herpes. Healthcare providers should ask all pregnant women if they have a history of genital herpes. Herpes infection can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or in the newborn period, resulting in a potentially fatal neonatal herpes infection. During pregnancy there is a higher risk of perinatal transmission during the first outbreak than with a recurrent outbreak, thus it is important that women avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy.
According to the Center for Disease Control, gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that affects both men and women, and is particularly common among the 15-24 year old age group. If you are sexually active, even if you are using protection, you are at risk for contracting gonorrhea. You can get gonorrhea by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who is already infect. Additionally, if you are pregnant, you can pass on the infection to your baby during childbirth. People who have had gonorrhea and received treatment may be reinfected if they have sexual contact with a person infected with gonorrhea.
HPV (human papillomavirus) is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. There are many different types of HPV. Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and certain cancers.
You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms.
Anyone who is sexually active can get HPV, even if you have had sex with only one person. You also can develop symptoms years after you have sex with someone who is infected, making it hard to know when you first became infected. Although using condoms effectively can lower your chances of getting HPV, HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom – so condoms may not give full protection against getting HPV.
According to the Center for Disease Control, syphilis can cause long-term complications if not adequately treated. Syphilis is transmitted from person to person by direct contact with a syphilitic sore, known as a chancre. Chancres occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Chancres also can occur on the lips and in the mouth. Transmission of syphilis occurs during vaginal, anal, or oral sex, and in its later stages, syphilis can affect the heart, brain, and other organs of the body. Pregnant women with the disease can transmit it to their unborn child.
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is contracted by sexual contact with an infected partner. HIV attacks and destroys the infection-fighting cells of the immune system. When these cells are destroyed, it’s harder for the body to fight infections or cancer. Without treatment, HIV can advance into AIDS, which is life threatening. You are at risk for HIV if you are having anal, vaginal, or oral sex, not using protection, have multiple sex partners, or are having sex under the influence of drugs and alcohol, which can lead to having sex without a condom. There is no cure for HIV, but there is medication to manage symptoms and progression of the virus.
Yes, you can. Women who are pregnant can become infected with the same STDs as women who are not pregnant. Pregnancy does not provide women or their babies any additional protection against STDs. Many STDs are ‘silent,’ or have no symptoms, so you may not know if you are infected.
If you are pregnant, you should be tested for STDs, including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), as a part of your medical care during pregnancy. The results of an STD can be more serious, even life-threatening, for you and your baby if you become infected while pregnant. It is important that you are aware of the harmful effects of STDs and how to protect yourself and your unborn baby against infection. If you are diagnosed with an STD while pregnant, your sex partner(s) should also be tested and treated.
Yes. Testing and treating pregnant women for STDs is a vital way to prevent serious health complications to both mother and baby that may otherwise happen with infection. The sooner you begin receiving medical care during pregnancy, the better the health outcomes will be for you and your unborn baby.
Be sure to ask your doctor about getting tested for STDs. It is also important that you have an open, honest conversation with your health care provider and discuss any symptoms you are experiencing and any high-risk sexual behavior that you engage in, since some doctors do not routinely perform these tests. Even if you have been tested in the past, you should be tested again when you become pregnant.