A new report by the CDC shows that STDS in the US are at historic levels. Syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are the most common. Thankfully all are curable, though gonorrhea may not be so for long. What’s unfortunate is that many don’t give symptoms when infected, which means you could be infecting partners, or allowing pathogens to run amok in your system, and not even know it. Though we usually don’t get very much positive news about STDs, those who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s can feel relieved about one thing, three once common ones are now pretty much no longer an issue. These are genital warts, pubic lice, and hepatitis B. With genital warts, 90% of cases were caused by HPV. Though this is a very common STD, the skin-related variety has seen a dramatic decline since 2006, with the advent of the vaccine Gardasil. Not only does it decrease the risk of genital warts, it also lowers the risk of certain related cancers.
Pubic lice are on the way out. Also called crabs, they’ve been in decline over the last decade. These are tiny insects that latch onto the pubic area. They are related to head lice. A 2009 study of college students found that only 35 of 817 had pubic lice. This is one of the most prevalent populations for STDS. Though the US has made headway, pubic lice are still common in much of the world. Some estimates find that as many as two to 10% of the world population are infected. Luckily, those few who do get it find that it’s simple to treat. Lastly, there is hepatitis B. This is usually passed through infected body fluids such as blood or semen. If not treated, cirrhosis of the liver or even liver cancer, can occur. Since 1991 when an effort was launched to try and eliminate the disease through vaccine, the number of cases has dropped precipitously. Know that if you are sexually active, you are susceptible to STDs. The only way to protect yourself is to wear protection and undergo a yearly screening. If it’s time to be tested again, contact a doctor or urologist.