Sexually transmitted diseases are the scourge of the modern era. No other group of diseases outside of cancer is cutting such a wide swath through the population of Earth and causing as much destruction on so many levels. With an estimated one in four people infected with some form of STD, no other disease matches them for sheer ability to infect people, and not all of them end in death, although that is the most likely possibility: Insanity and blindness are among the other major possibilities. They can also inflict infertility and impotence, as well as other social problems; STD’s are not limited to mere physical effects. Fortunately, there are ways to at least limit their spread.
It needs to be noted that STD’s are not limited to spreading merely through intercourse. Merely kissing someone spread a disease, as can using the blood from someone infected; any time two people share bodily fluids such as saliva and blood the disease can jump from one person to another. Infants can be born already infected, provided the mother has infected herself. Any diseases from one partner can spread to the other as the moment that the relationship actually heats up and goes to the next level. This does not mean that passing the disease is automatic, and some diseases can be cured if caught either early enough or at the right moment. Other diseases can be at least treated. However, there are ways to limit an infestation.
The singularly most effective way of dealing with STD’s is abstinence. Not actually engaging in intercourse is the most effective means of making sure that diseases do not spread as physical contact tends to be limited, but even it has its limits. After all, couples still find ways of sharing fluids, as even a kiss will eventually ensure the sharing of diseases, and some practices virtually ensure it. To be clear “abstinence” means the complete foregoing of any intercourse, and and that includes all forms, not just the traditional means; too many couples engage in different forms with the assumption that only one form will encourage the spread of a disease. Nonetheless, it is not a long-term solution, especially if the couple wished to have a child together.
By the same token, condoms are another effective means of limiting the spread while at the same allowing for intercourse. Combined with spermicidal foams, a condom can reach close to 99% effectiveness and can be used by either or both partners as there are both male and female condoms available. However, it needs to be noted that they will never be 100% effective and some diseases are small enough that they can effectively slip through the condom. Also, for couples looking to have a child, this is obviously not a method that will always be employed; while various forms of in vitro fertilization may work most couples prefer to use more traditional methods of fertilization. As such condoms may be highly effective, they do have limitations.
Some people lead decidedly risky lives, and so extra caution needs to be taken. Shared needles are another vector, and just making sure you use new needles every time should eliminate that problem. Also, some people have conditions that require a lot of blood transfusions; blood is tested and so that should not be a major source of concern. Nonetheless, testing for the disease can be a reasonably effective method and at least give you a fighting chance. A blood test is also a good idea for those who have sex on any kind of basis; a little paranoia is always a good thing when it comes to your health. Also, having your blood tested will keep you abreast of a number of different conditions making the loss of a little blood worth it.
There are also certain traditions that can spread diseases as well. Sharing spit on handshakes is an obvious issue, as is blood brotherhood, while there are some substitutions available, such as exchanging Saint Christopher medals for blood brothers, in some cases, there are not. For those attempting to avoid sharing fluids, these details need to be looked into and avoided at all costs, and it may require diplomatic means. As such always look into local traditions of areas you will be visiting ahead of time.
Avoiding STD’s requires some mostly minor adaptations, but those adaptations are well worth it. As almost anything is worth keeping your health, those adaptations are well worth working into your life. STD’s should never be the reason you are not enjoying your life to the fullest extent.