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March 30, 2000     Beverly Hills Weekly
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heal Samuel Newman, M.D. STD: Prevention and Precaution Preaching abstinence doesn't solve the problem. Sexually Transmitted Diseases ar,; becoming more common among teenagers due to the lack of aware- ness and precaution. Although STDs are acquired from sexual intercourse they can be easily prevented with proper precautions. We are not telling youth to become abstinent. We are just sending out a message to be more careful when getting sexually involved with a partner. The follow- ing am a list of a few of the most common sexually ansmitted dis- eases. Chlamydia Chlamydia is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted during sexual inter- course with an infected partner. For men, symptoms of chlamydia are a clear discharge from the penis and discomfort during urination. Usually these symptoms occur one to three weeks.after becoming infected, how- ever some men have no symptoms. Untre, atexl chlamydia in men can cause pain and swelling in the testi- cles which might result in infertility. Most women have no symptoms and therefore will not know they have an infection. Untreated chlamydia in women can cause pelvic inflammato- ry disease, commonly called PID. Symptoms of PID are lower abdomi- nal pain, unusual vaginal discharge, fever, and painful intercourse. PID can result in scarring and blockage of the fallopian tubes which can cause infertility, tubal pregnancies, chronic pelvic pain, and menstrual problems. Detection Chlamydia can be detected with special tests even if there are no symptoms. It is treated with specific antibiotics. If you test positive for chlamydia, your sexual partners must also be tested and treated. Gonorrhea Gonorrhea, sometimes called the dose or clap is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted during sexual inter- also be tested and treated. Syphilis Syphilis is one of the more serious sexually transmitted diseases that can involve many parts of the body. If not treated it can result in long-term health problems. It is caused by a germ that does not live outside the body. It is passed from one person to another, usually during sexual inter- 0000Years later, untreated syphilis can result in blindness, hearing problems, heart, or brain damage. course with an infecmd partner. The most likely sites for infection are the urethra or urine tube in men and the cervix in women. The throat and rec- tum of both sexes can also be infected. Untreated gonorrhea in men can cause pain and swelling in the testicles which might result in infertility. Most women have no symptoms and there- fore will not know they have an infec- tion. Some women might have an unusual vaginal discharge or pain while urinating. Untreated gonorrhea in women can cause PID which can cause infertility, tubal pregnancies, chronic pelvic pain, and menstrual problems. Gonorrhea can be detected with special tests even if there are no symptoms. It is treated with specific antibiotics. If you test positive for gonorrhea your sexual partners must course. Syphilis has 3 stages and the symp- toms for each stage can be mistaken for other illnesses. A painless sore called a chancre identifies the first stage. A person may not know that the disease is present because the sore may be hidden. Syphilis can be passed from one person to another when there is direct contact with the sore. Although the chancre will heal without treatment in two to four weeks, the disease is still active and will progress to the second stage. The symptoms of this stage can include a body rash, loss of appetite, tiredness, fever, and swollen glands. These symptoms may last two to six weeks and will disappear even without treat- ment. However, the syphilis germ is still alive in the body and can easily be passed to sexual partners. The third stage can develop anywhere from two to forty years after the symptoms, of the second stage have disappeared. Even though there are no obvious symptoms or signs, the syphilis genn might damage vital organs. Years later, untreated syphilis can result in blindness, hearing prob- lems, heart, or brain damage. Detection Syphilis can be detected with a blood test even if there are no symp- toms. Syphilis is treated with antibi- otics at any stage. However, any dam- age that has already been done cannot be reversed. If you test positive .for syphilis your sexual partners must also be tested and treated. It is impor- tant to return to your doctor or STD clinic for follow-up tests. STDs are preventable. One way to avoid STD is choosing not to have sex, often called abstinence. There is also no risk of infection in a relation- ship in which both partners are free of infection and neither has other sex partners. People who decide to have sex with a new partner or more than one partner can reduce their chances of getting an STD by choosing safer sexual practices such as proper con- dom use. If you suspect you have been exposed to an STD seek treatment at the STD Clinic or your Doctor imme- diately. Ill Dr. Newman is board certified in family practice with a private practice in Beverly Hills. I Gifts & Home Accessories Mention this ad and get 10% OFF! I99 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills 9ore TEL 3m.007,.4992 18 Bevedy Hills Weekly