Sexually transmitted diseases are important concerns for any couple in a long-term relationship. They affect anyone who is sexually active and the symptoms may or may not manifest in the infected individual. One might feel perfectly fine even when they have an STD infection, and this can be a way of spreading the infection. If STDs are left untreated, these can cause more serious health problems for both you and your partner.
Read on as we discuss the implications of STDs in a long-term relationship based on medical facts and data, and how you can take measures to protect yourself and your partner from STDs.
STDs Can Affect Fertility and Ability to Conceive
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most common types of STDs, and these infections often do not elicit symptoms or the symptoms are often very mild and easily brushed off as minor infections. When chlamydia and gonorrhea are left untreated, they can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women and urethral and testicular infections and complications in men. These can lead to infertility in both men and women. Women who are still able to get pregnant will find it difficult to sustain the life of the unborn child due to the increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and stillbirth.
When you are in a long-term relationship, starting a family can be one of your plans as a couple. For heterosexual couples, testing for STDs and STD treatment and prevention are pressing concerns because of the potential of these diseases in derailing your plans to have children. Thus, couples should earnestly discuss having themselves tested for STD. They can choose to personally or online test STD depending on their privacy preference. Early detection is important in taking steps to treat and prevent a recurrence of STD infection in the future.
STDs Can Affect the Health of the Baby
Another risk posed by STDs is the risk of birth complications and disease in unborn babies. STD infections often affect the birth canal of infected mothers, and the fetuses or newborns are often infected during delivery when they pass through the infected birth canal. Pregnant women with STD can infect their babies before, during, or after delivery.
Mothers with untreated chlamydia can have their babies infected, and they may be born with eye or lung infections. Genital herpes is also another dangerous STD that can harm the baby during delivery. Infants can get lesions on the skin, eyes, and mouth, and the virus can affect their central nervous system, lungs, liver, and multiple organs often with fatal outcomes. Untreated gonorrhea during childbirth can affect the eyes, bones, and blood of the baby.
Early detection and treatment are important in keeping the mother’s health stable and preventing the infection of the developing child. Antibiotic and antiviral treatments can help treat the mother’s infection and keep the baby safe.
STD Can Strain a Long-Term Relationship
It’s not the disease itself that causes the strain, but rather the outflow of negative thoughts and emotions after discovering that you, your partner, or both of you have STD. While STD is primarily contracted from practicing unprotected sex (not wearing a condom), the risk of getting STDs is higher when you or your partner is having or has had multiple sexual partners. Suspicions and accusations of cheating will most likely surface during this revelation and this can build up trust issues if both partners do sit down and talk things over. Honesty, understanding, and proactiveness are key to overcoming this significant hurdle in a long-term relationship. The sooner couples get out of the blame game and guilt trips, the sooner they can work together to get treatment and be on the road to recovery.
STD Testing is a Responsible Health Choice
In this age, where information can be readily accessed through the internet, myths and misconceptions about STDs are being disproved to pave the way for greater awareness and responsible choices among all sexually active individuals. Information campaigns also help erase gender stereotypes and moral double standards that tend to be biased against women. For couples, they should keep in mind that STDs are infections, just like flu or the common cold. These infections spread through unprotected sex with someone who has an infection. STD testing, treatment, and using protection such as condoms are nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, these are considered responsible health choices for couples. Only by not having any type of sexual contact can anyone be 100% safe from STD. For sexually active couples, practicing safe and protected sex and regular STD testing are effective measures of prevention.
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Communication, responsibility, and understanding are essential for couples in a long-term relationship when it comes to discussing STDs. Couples should be aware of the risks, causes, treatments, and preventive measures and should agree with each other when it comes to STD testing and prevention. Being mature and responsible individuals when facing STD means setting aside doubts, fears, and guilt and bravely taking the steps needed for recovery and prevention. After all, loving each other means also protecting one another.
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