Sexual Health is an umbrella term that covers a range of topics, dysfunctions, diseases and issues. Once a subject that was rarely discussed, today, many inroads have been made to increase the comfort level among health and medical practitioners and sexually-active individuals in discussing issues that pertain to sexual health.
Five of the most common STDs:
Herpes: Genital herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV) virus and oral herpes which manifests in cold sores is caused by HSV 1 strand. It is estimated that one in four American adults have the genital herpes virus affecting approximately 30 million Americans. Genital herpes cannot be cured but outbreaks can be controlled through antivirals, a class of drugs that can prevent or delay the majority of attacks.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): Perhaps the most common STD, a recent study estimated that at any given time, one-quarter of all American sexually-active women have are infected with HPV. This sexually-transmitted virus is also the number one risk factor and cause for cervical cancer. HPV is detected via Pap smear Even though HPV cannot be cured, the vaccine Gardisil can protect a young woman from the two most common and virulent strains of the virus.
Chlamydia: The most curable sexually-transmitted disease, Chlamydia is caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis which is a kind of parasite but behaves in many ways like a virus. Chlamydia affects more women than men and since in many cases, no symptoms are often experienced, over half of the Chlamydia infections go unnoticed and unreported.
HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. While still uncurable, an HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence thanks to a new class of drugs known as antiretrovirals which can significantly delay and prevent the spread of the virus. Today, there are an estimated 33 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS, almost 70 percent of which live in Sub Saharan Africa. Approximately one million Americans are living with HIV or AIDS.
Gonorrhea: Also referred to as “the clap,” this bacterial STD affects approximately 700,000 Americans each year. But similar to Chlamydia, since this STD may not present any symptoms, the infection may go unnoticed and unreported. If left untreated, Gonorrhea can result in pelvic inflammatory disease which can eventually lead to infertility.
The most common male and female sexual health dysfunctions are:
Erectile Dysfunction, once referred to as impotence, erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to have or maintain an erection adequate for intercourse. Approximately 30 million American men have ED with age being the primary risk factor: The older the man becomes, the greater his chances for developing ED. There are currently a number of medications that can be taken to treat ED.
Dyspareunia is pain during attempted or after vaginal intercourse. Dyspareunia is caused by the anatomical structure of the uterus and pelvic muscles as well as uterine or ovarian disorders like endometriosis, fibroids or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Orgasmic Disorder is condition that is characterized by a lack of reaching an orgasm or an orgasm that is markedly reduced in its intensity. Psychological, environmental, and physiological factors in addition to certain medications, damage to the genital nerves are all possible causes for orgasmic disorder.
Sexual Desire or Interest Disorder is a term that is used to describe a woman who has diminished sexual interest and desire. Psychological factors as well as hormonal changes and certain medications contribute to Sexual Desire or Interest Disorder.
Sexual Arousal Disorder is the inability to become sexually aroused despite experiencing sexual stimulation. Sexual Arousal Disorder is caused by psychological and physical factors as well as hormonal changes.