There are many pros and cons to dating, and it all depends on how you approach your relationships. If you feel that you are not ready or interested in having a committed relationship, you may want to postpone dating until you feel that you are ready. There is no rush to start dating.
Sexual relationships affect your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Whether you are considering sexual activity, or you have already had sex, there are risks for pregnancy and STIs even when using birth control or condoms. The only sure way to avoid getting an STI is to avoid all sexual activity. If you have already engaged in sexual activity, the next step is to get tested.
There are now more than a dozen STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), several of which are chronic, life-long infections. In the United States, it is estimated that there are 19 million new infections each year – over half of these occurring in young people ages 15-24. Presently, over 70 million people in the U.S. are infected or have been infected with an STI or STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease).
STIs & STDs: What are they?
An STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) is an infection that does not show any physical signs or symptoms. It is contracted from another infected person through sexual activity. It becomes an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) when symptoms appear. It’s important to remember that not all infected people will have signs or symptoms. The problem is that some of these STDs can cause a lot of damage and can be passed to your partner without your knowledge. You do not have to have symptoms to be contagious; you can spread the disease at any time.
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Pregnancy is not the only thing to be concerned about after having sex.
STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) are common. Some can be cured. Some cannot. Many have lifelong effects.
HPV (human papillomavirus) is the primary cause of cervical cancer. At least 50 percent of sexually active men and women acquire a genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. Most HPV infections have no signs or symptoms; therefore, most infected people are unaware they are infected, yet they can transmit the virus to a sex partner.
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States. Any sexually active person can be infected with Chlamydia. The greater the number of sex partners, the greater the risk of infection. Because the cervix of teenage girls and young women is not fully matured, they are at particularly high risk for infection.
Gonorrhea is often mild, but most women who are infected have no symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. Untreated Gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems.
HIV. There are still over 1 million people living with HIV in the United States. About one-fourth of those has not yet been diagnosed and are unaware of their infection.
Sex is a big deal. Know the facts. Make informed decisions.
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Source: Medical Institute (www.medinstitute.org)