There is no such thing as “safe sex.” If you are sexually active, you run the risk of contracting a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)*, or becoming pregnant, regardless of how “safe” you are.
American culture has been selling the lie that people can practice “safer-sex” with limited physical or emotional repercussions. But, they can only guarantee safersex, not foolproof, perfectly dependable “safe-sex.” What they are not telling you is that any type of sexual activity, including or excluding intercourse, puts you at a high risk for receiving a sexually transmitted infection or disease. While contraception has been presented as ways to create a “safe” environment for sex, the level of security that they offer are often over-exaggerated.
If you’ve recently had sex, or you’re deciding whether to have sex, you’ve likely thought about sexually transmitted diseases. How common are they? What is the risk to women, and young people in particular? What’s the best way to prevent infection?
What Are the Most Common STDs?
The Centers for Disease Control keeps annual records on the so-called “Big 3” STDs — chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
Chlamydia was the most commonly reported STD in 2014, with more than 1.4 million cases. More than 350,000 cases of gonorrhea were reported, along with almost 20,000 cases of syphilis.
Anyone who has ever had sex is at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), sometimes also called a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Did you know there’s one STI that actually increases your risk of developing cervical cancer, and other types of cancer?
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STI in the United States. Most sexually active adults will contract HPV at some point in their lives, and as of 2014, almost 80 million Americans were infected, with about 14 million new infections occurring each year.
What Is Gonorrhea?
Also called “the clap” or “the drip,” gonorrhea is a sexually-transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It grows easily in the mucus membranes of your body, especially in the warm, moist environment of your reproductive tract, urethra, anus, mouth, or throat.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that about 700,000 new cases occur each year, less than half of which are actually reported to health officials. In 2012, 334,826 new cases were reported to the CDC.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, chlamydia is the most commonly reported bacterial STD in the United States.
Since 1994, it has represented the largest share of all STDs reported to the CDC. In 2013 alone, more than 1.4 million chlamydia infections were reported, but because chlamydia is often asymptomatic, it is estimated that the true number of infections is over 2.8 million. Sexually active women under the age of 25 are at especially high risk.