This article includes links to the latest CDC preliminary data, information link to the WHO report, and links to location-specific testing options
Most Americans could be aware of the theatrical comedy about three sexually transmitted diseases.
It involves the O.G.s, the Original Gangstas of STD - syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.
Syphilis calls for an emergency meeting with the other two.
The brainstorming's purpose is to win back their title of "the baddest of the bad" from new diseases that are messing up their status.
During the meeting, syphilis says the three have been controlling their turf (infecting people) for years - from genital to anal, and up north to the oral side.
|Photo by Natalia Vaitkevich @pexels|
Now their turf is threatened by new entrants Genital Warts, Herpes, and HIV/AIDS.
In real life, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia have succeeded in infecting 2.5 million U.S. citizens in 2021, beating the previous record of 2.4 million in 2020.
The latest preliminary data was released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Even as the American health system battles monkeypox and the after-effects of Covid-19, sexually transmitted infections have surged alarmingly during the two years of the pandemic.
Many of the infected may remain undetected because of the nature of these diseases, especially chlamydia, also referred to as the 'silent' infection.
The CDC says most people infected with chlamydia show no symptoms or abnormal physical exam findings.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STI) are acquired every day globally, most of them asymptomatic (showing no symptoms).
Here are answers to questions Americans and people worldwide are seeking about STDs:
Can you get infected with STD without having sex?
Yes, you can.
Houston, Texas-based STDCheck, which provides judgment-free testing (no prodding questions or judgmental stares, only access to testing for 10 most common STDs), says there are 9 ways you can get STD without having penetrative sex.
1. Puckering up someone: STDs can be passed on when you swap spit from an innocent, sweet kiss or the more intense tongue wrestling.
You are aware of the kissing disease mononucleosis or mono that spreads through saliva. Similarly, you should watch out for the contagious herpes virus that's also contracted orally, apart from vaginal and anal sex.
2. Oral Sex: You may think oral sex is not real sex. However, oral sex that involves the penis, vagina, or anus can transmit the herpes simplex virus 2.
This may happen through secretions, sores, and broken skin common to genital herpes.
There could be rare cases of chlamydia infecting your throat from oral sex. Condoms are unable to prevent herpes and HPV (human papillomavirus), the most common of all the STDs.
3. Food contamination: You are likely to get hepatitis A (HAV) through food or drink that's contaminated. If an infected person uses the restroom, doesn't wash hands, then preps your food or makes you a drink, you can get STD that you, unknowingly, may transmit further sexually.
4. Skin-to-skin contact, off clothes: The bare-down-there grooming may cause breaks in the skin. It's all herpes and HPV require to become your companion. The risk of getting either infection may depend on the level of infection and the condition of the skin.
5. Touching base, not the baseball one: Getting STD from indirect contact although less likely, is still possible.
Trichomoniasis or trich may occur by hand-to-genital contact or even hitch a ride to your genitals on an unwashed sex toy.
Trich, the most common curable STDs in the U.S. and found mostly in older women can be mistaken for a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). If it remains untreated, it can appear intermittently.
6. Towels, sheets, and clothing: You may not find viral infection in your towels, sheets or clothes, but there could be others lurking in the fibers.
Trichomoniasis or trich contains a single-celled protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. This parasite loves damp fabrics and can be active for almost an hour outside the body waiting for you.
The others such as crabs, or pubic lice can also stick around in bedding and clothing.
7. Your local tanning salon: Molluscum contagiosum, a bumpy genital infection may spread by skin-to-skin contact or shared contaminated surfaces like the tanning bed at your local tanning salon, the most unexpected of places.
8. Sharing needles: Any object that cuts or pierces the skin is a likely way to contract STD. Sharing needles could be one.
If someone using a sharp object is positive for HIV or hepatitis A, B, or C, there's risk of breaking the skin and mixing blood, leading to spreading the disease.
9. Blood transfusion: If you receive a blood transfusion from the blood that has HIV, your chances of contracting HIV are high.
Today, blood banks test every unit of donated blood for HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies. The CDC says "the risk for transfusion-transmitted HIV infection has been almost eliminated by the use of questionnaires to exclude donors at higher risk for HIV infection and the use of highly sensitive laboratory screening tests to identify infected blood donations."
However, there are reported incidents of risk.
This recent report by Healio quoting a study says "Blood donations from people on antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV or pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV infection could increase risk for HIV transfusion transmission if tests cannot detect the virus in the donations, study results showed."
|Photo by Sora Shimazaki @pexels|
Check Your Location-Specific STD Test Options:
Can STD be cured without going to the doctor?
Do natural remedies work in curing STDs?
How to proceed with getting STDs cured without a doctor's help?
Additional note: The theatrical comedy is titled The STD's and written by Hollywood actor Ian Patrick Williams, known for co-authoring the Chicago Emmy award-winning PBS teleplay Bleacher Bums.