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When you are sexually active, pregnancy is usually your greatest concern. While pregnancy is something to be very concerned about, STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) are equally, if not more, worrisome. Consider this: you are only at risk for pregnancy about three days each month (around the time of ovulation), but you are at risk for getting (and spreading) an STD every time you have sex.

The Basics

According to the Centers for Disease Control, published in March 2013, there are in the U.S., an estimated 20 million new infections diagnosed each year.

What are STDs?

STDs are infections passed from person to person during sexual activity. STDs can be transmitted through body fluids and skin to skin contact. Not everyone infected will experience signs or symptoms. However, STDs can cause damage and can be passed to your partner(s) without your knowledge. You do not need to be experiencing symptoms to be contagious. You can spread infection at any time.

Prevention

Condoms are not as effective as you might think. The only sure way to avoid infection is to refrain from engaging in sexual activity.

Treatment

Some STDs can be cured with treatment. Others cannot be cured, but symptoms can be managed. Being checked for STDs is easy. If your sexual activity has made you susceptible for pregnancy, you are at risk for STDs. Get tested.