Sexually Transmitted Diseases: A Physician Tells You What You Need to Know (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)

Despite the emphasis on safe sex in the era of HIV and AIDS, sexually transmitted infections remain alarmingly common. Every year, more than 12 million people in this country will be diagnosed with one of the twenty STDs known to modern medicine -- from familiar diseases like HIV and syphilis to conditions such as chlamydia and herpes, which are less understood by the public. More than half of sexually active adults over age 35 will acquire one or more STDs at some point in their lives. The majority of STDs remain part of a "hidden epidemic" for reasons that range from reluctance of parents and teachers to talk about sex to the lack of symptoms produced by many disorders. Yet the long-term effects may be devastating and can include infertility, scarring, premature births, and death. There is a clear need for greater public awareness of how easily STDs are transmitted -- and how potentially dangerous they are.With this book, Dr. Lisa Marr provides a much-needed resource on the subject of STDs in a comprehensive and easy-to-use reference format. As medical director at an STD clinic in Portland, Dr. Marr has worked on the front lines of the fight against STDs, and her approach is frank, nonjudgmental, and thorough. In Part One of the book, she describes male and female anatomy and reviews the symptoms that may indicate infection with an STD. She explains what an STD exam should include and discusses sexual communication as well as safe and unsafe sexual practices. Side bars, case studies, and illustrations help explain all of these important topics. Part Two is a comprehensive encyclopedia of STDs, with entries for each that describe symptoms, risk factors, transmission, testing, and treatment.Throughout, Dr. Marr focuses on clearing up misconceptions by providing accurate, practical advice for people of all ages, races, sexual orientation, and economic means. All of the following statements, she notes, reflect commonly held beliefs about STDs -- and all of them are false:• "If I don't have any symptoms, I can't have an STD."• "If my partner and I get HIV tests and we're negative, that means we don't have to worry about using condoms."• "When I get my yearly PAP smear, my doctor would tell me if anything was wrong."• "If I use a condom, I can't get an STD."• "Oral sex is safe. I can't get an infection from oral sex so I don't need to use a condom."• "Only promiscuous people get STDs."• "I had chlamydia before and I had symptoms. Since I don't have any symptoms now, that means I don't have an STD."• "Douching after sex will help prevent getting an STD."• "Lesbians don't have to worry about STDs."• "I can't transmit herpes if I don't have an outbreak." Dispelling these and other myths, Dr. Marr helps readers take steps to protect themselves against infection and, for those who develop symptoms or believe they have been exposed to infection, describes what to look for in appropriate medical care. She offers strategies for coping with chronic conditions such as herpes, as well as advice about STDs that respond to treatment if discovered early. This valuable book belongs in every public library and health clinic, and will be an important resource for all those who have been infected or who want to learn how to avoid becoming infected or infecting others. "Because so many people are infected, it is very important to understand what STDs are, and how they are transmitted. Such knowledge allows people to take steps to protect themselves and helps to keep fear from controlling their lives. People who have information about STDs can lead a richer sexual life because they do not have to live in fear -- they know how to lower their risk of acquiring infection." -- from the Preface