STDs can be caused by bacteria, viruses or other organisms. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and several other bacterial infections are usually curable with antibiotics, requiring only one visit to the STD clinic. When an STD is caused by a virus (Herpes, Genital Warts or HIV), the person can be treated; the disease can be managed and controlled, but not cured. Sometimes, STD infections will cause symptoms that alert the person that there is something wrong. In many instances the symptoms are very slight and may not be noticed, or there are no signs or symptoms. Any infected person with or without symptoms is placing their health at risk and risking the possibility of infecting any other person with whom they are intimate. Waiting for signs of an infection can be a costly and sometimes fatal mistake. STD infections, left untreated, can spread to other areas of the body, causing serious medical conditions such as crippling arthritis, blindness, heart attack and death. When a pregnant woman with an STD infection is untreated, her unborn infant is at risk for serious health problems, including death.
STDs are spread through intimate person-to-person contact, such as oral, vaginal and anal sex. HIV can also be spread through the sharing of needles. Infants can be infected with HIV before birth, during birth and through breast-feeding after birth from an infected mother. STDs are not transmitted through day-to-day contact in social settings such as schools or at the workplace, nor are they transmitted through casual contact -- including kissing, shaking hands or hugging. Dirty toilet seats, mosquitoes, eating utensils and drinking glasses pose no risks of transmission.
An important role of Adult Health Services is the control and prevention of HIV through comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of more common STDs. Preventing reinfection and disease complications are also important goals. When someone develops an STD infection, they are also at a high risk of acquiring HIV. Conversely, when an HIV-infected person is also infected with another STD, they are much more likely to transmit HIV than someone who is only HIV-infected. STD treatment reduces the ability of an HIV-positive individual to transmit HIV. By targeting the identification and treatment of STDs, Adult Health Services works to reduce the transmission of HIV in Tarrant County.
For more information or questions regarding the content of this video please go to www.cdc.gov
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