If you are pregnant, it is possible you could also have a sexually transmitted disease (STD). STDs and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) are more common than people realize. Find out how you can protect yourself and your baby.

What Is An STD/STI?

Usually, a disease begins as an infection. Your condition can start out as an STI, and eventually become an STD. However, many people use the terms interchangeably. STDs begin as infections passed from person to person during sexual contact – orally, anally, or vaginally. Many times these infections do not cause any noticeable symptoms at first.

More than 25 different types of sexually transmitted diseases exist today. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates approximately 20 million new STD infections occur each year—almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.

Many people don’t even realize they have been infected. While some STDs can be cured if discovered early, others cannot. Two of the most common STIs – Chlamydia and Gonorrhea – can be treated with antibiotics while HPV and HIV are not curable. Untreated STDs can lead to infertility, organ damage, types of cancer, or even death.

How Can I Keep From Getting an STD?

If you’re sexually active, you’re at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. Although using a condom is effective in keeping you from getting an STD/STI, no method is foolproof. The only way to guarantee you won’t get an STD is to practice abstinence (not having sex).

You won’t know if you have an STD or if your partner does since many STDs have no symptoms at first. Getting tested regularly and making sure your partner has been tested recently is the only way to be aware of the disease.

STDs and Pregnancy

Pregnant women can easily contract STDs and the consequences of having an STD when pregnant can have significant health implications. If you receive a positive pregnancy test, it is important you also get tested for an STD/STI.

Where Can I Get Tested?

At Empowered Choices, we will be happy to provide you with referrals to community resources like STD testing in your area. Our counselors are standing by 24/7 to provide you with the help and support you need. Getting tested on a regular basis is essential if you are sexually active with several partners. Let us help you get the assistance you need.