The Lowdown on 3 STIs
By now you’ve probably heard the news that sexually transmitted infections, a.k.a. STIs (sometimes called sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs) have been on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 2.3 million cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia were diagnosed in 2017, breaking the record for the highest number ever reported in the U.S. WTH? And, of those cases, Black women had disproportionally higher rates than White women. In 2017 alone, reported chlamydia cases among Black women was 5 times the rate among White women and the rates for gonorrhea and syphilis were even higher.
Let’s just say these are not the types of records we want to be breaking…
But the good news is that you can get ahead of these infections and prevent them from ruining your good fun! Ain’t no STI getting in the way of living our best lives!
We talked about how to be the queen of your sexual health in this post. But if you have some thangs going on down there or you’re worried you might have an STI, below is a breakdown of the symptoms of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia – take note:
- Syphilis has four stages. In the first (primary) stage, you may notice sores around your genitals, anus, or mouth. In the secondary stage, you may get a skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, and fever. In the third stage, there are no symptoms so listen up! Even if your symptoms from the first two stages have disappeared, if left untreated, the infection can reach the fourth stage and start to affect your organ systems, causing severe medical problems. Click here to get all the deets about syphilis.
- Gonorrhea is a very common infection, especially among people ages 15-24. Most women with gonorrhea may not have any symptoms at all, and even when they do experience symptoms, they can be mistaken for a urinary tract infection (UTI). If you are showing symptoms they will likely include pain when you pee, increased vaginal discharge, and bleeding between periods. Gonorrhea can be cured with medicine (thank you!), but if left untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease. Click here to get all the deets about gonorrhea.
- Chlamydia symptoms may not appear until several weeks after you are infected, or you might not experience any symptoms at all. Symptoms for women include abnormal vaginal discharge and a burning sensation when peeing. Click here to get all the deets about chlamydia.
If you have any of these symptoms, don’t freak out. Make sure to call your doctor for an appointment. You might be asked for a sample of blood, urine, or a swab test to find out if you actually have an STI. Most STIs are treatable with medicine, and you’ll be back in business before you know it.
So get tested regularly, at least once a year (or more if you have multiple partners). As you can see, some symptoms might not show up right away. The best way to catch these unwanted infections early is to get tested. Find your closest clinic here.
For more information about STIs, visit https://www.cdc.gov/std/.
Stay healthy, stay hot🔥!