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National Drug Abuse and Alcohol Facts Week

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teachers, this week is National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week. This week is a national observance to promote awareness about drug and alcohol abuse. So, what does that have to do with STD prevention? Well, many STDs can be transmitted through the use of intravenous drug equipment such as needles. 

HIV can be transmitted through exposure to bodily fluids such as blood, semen or vaginal secretion. While HIV is commonly transmitted through sexual activity, it can also be transmitted by sharing needles or syringes or other equipment used to prepare drugs for injection with someone who has HIV. HIV can live in a used needle up to 42 days depending on temperature and other factors. 

Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can also be transmitted this way. While many people are vaccinated these days for hepatitis B, hepatitis C has no vaccination. Additionally, certain generations of people, such as the Baby Boomer generation, are more commonly diagnosed with hepatitis C. Recently, there has been an increase in opioid use among young people. This has led to an increase in hepatitis rates throughout the U.S.

There are many health consequences to drug and alcohol abuse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that people with addiction to drug and alcohol are at a higher risk for contracted STDs and HIV. The CDC recommends seeking medical care if you believe you may have a drug or alcohol addiction.

If you are concerned that you may be experiencing symptoms of HIV or hepatitis, or may have been exposed to these viruses, you should seek medical assistance right away. Since these viruses can be transmitted through drug use, having STD testing performed can help you to know the current status of your sexual health. This is the best way to know your status. If available in your area, In-Home Collectioneven allows you to be tested at home, work or another location of your choice.

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Yes, You Can Have More Than One STD

It is not uncommon for someone to have more than one STD at a time. Chlamydia and gonorrhea often go hand-in-hand and some STDs can make you more susceptible to other infections. Having two or more STDs at a time is known as co-infection and can be a risky situation for someone.

Since some STDs are bacterial and others are viral,  a person can have a lifelong infection and a short term infection at the same time. There are different types of treatment for each as well. Most bacterial infections can be cured with a simple treatment of antibiotics. Viral STDs stay within your body for the rest of your life. Treatment exists for many of these infections. That means that even if a person is diagnosed with these illnesses, they can still lead a long and happy life.

Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is a viral infection that attacks the immune system. It destroys a person’s ability to defend against infection and disease. People who are living with HIV are at a much higher risk for STD co-infection than people who are HIV-negative. The most reliable way to test for HIV is to have a blood test performed. There is currently no cure for HIV.

Both chlamydia and gonorrhea are caused by bacteria. If you have had either of these infections in the past, you can still get them again. The symptoms for these two STDs are very similar and can infect a person simultaneously. Infection of the genitals with chlamydia or gonorrhea can be detected with a urine test. In the throat or anus a swab test is required to detect infection. 

Keep in mind that not only is co-infection possible, but re-infection also occurs. If you have had an STD in the past and have been treated for it, you can still become infected again. If you become re-infected with a bacterial infection, you will require a new round of treatment.

The CDC recommends engaging in the practices of safe sexual intercourse in order to prevent the spread of STDs. This includes the use of latex condoms. If you believe that you have been exposed to any of these STDs, you should have STD testing performed. This is the best way to know that current status of your sexual health. If available in your area, In-Home Collection even allows you to be tested at home, work or another location of your choice.

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CDC report highlights some STDs on the rise | Fox News

A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates certain sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in some groups.

“STDs continue to threaten the health and well-being of millions of Americans,” said Hillard Weinstock, one of the authors of “2011 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance” report in USA Today.

Of particular concern was chlamydia, which rose 8 percent in 2011, compared to the previous year; gonorrhea, which rose 4 percent; and syphilis, which held steady at 13,970 cases, despite a 1.6 percent decrease in 2010.

Young people, as well as gay and bi-sexual men are affected by these diseases more than others, according to Weinstock, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.

If left untreated, STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia can lead to infertility; and syphilis can lead to paralysis and even death.

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