In celebration of STD Awareness Month, we
gathered data from the 2010 Center for Disease Control's annual report to give
you the breakdown on which states have the highest STD rates, and incorporated
some need-to-know info about each of the leading culprits that are spreading
across the U.S.
What to look out for: Gonorrhea often shows up within 10 days
of infection, but typically there are no symptoms early on. Given time, though,
it'll raise it's ugly head, discharge from the penis (and vagina for women),
frequent urination, and discomfort during urination. As a bonus, it can also
lead to epididymitis in men, which can cause infertility.
How it spreads: Gonorrhea is caused by bacteria and is
transmitted through semen and vaginal secretions during intercourse. According
to the CDC, it's the second-most reported infectious disease with nearly
356,000 infections in 2007, but it's estimated that about twice as many new
cases actually occur but are undiagnosed and unreported.
Treatable? Yes, with antibiotics. (But something to keep in
mind: Researchers recently discovered a new strain of gonorrhea, H014, that
can't be killed with current antibiotics. So playing it on the safe side makes
even more sense.)
What to look out for: Chlamydia may be asymptomatic, but
common symptoms include a burning sensation when urinating and abnormal
discharge from the penis (and vagina, again, for women). Untreated cases can
lead to complications that cause pain, fever, pelvic inflammatory disease, and
(more rarely and mostly in women) sterility.
How it spreads: Through bodily fluid secreted during oral,
anal, and vaginal sex (or from mother to child).
What to look out for: Primary symptoms: An ulcer or sore at
the infection site. Secondary symptoms: A rash which may look like "copper
penny" spots or fine red dots on palms or soles of the feet; a skin rash
on arms, legs, and trunk; sore throat, sores in throat, and fever. Latent
stage: This occurs when the primary and secondary symptoms disappear. If you go
without treatment, the symptoms will fade, yet the infection will stay in the
body. This stage can last for years, and if left untreated, syphilis could
develop into the "late stage" of the disease. Late stage: This stage
occurs in about 15 percent of those who go untreated and can subsequently
damage the internal organs (which eventually can lead to severe and fatal
How it spreads: During intercourse (vaginal, oral, or anal)
the microorganism passes from sores though tiny breaks in the uninfected
Treatable? Yes. Antibiotics should do the trick, but permanent
damage may have occurred prior to treatment.