With sex comes responsibility and sometimes, in the heat of the moment, we can forget to be responsible. Everything in life, whether it's sex or bungee jumping, possess an element of risk. With sex, the risks include contracting a sexually transmitted disease. You can decrease your risk of catching an STD by following the correct procedures with contraceptive methods such as condoms. However, not everything is 100%. Sometimes bad shit happens and sometimes it's because you're young and foolish. Sometimes it's because you got caught up in the moment and didn't follow the right precautions. If you're even slightly unsure whether you might have an STD or not, here's the steps you need to take next.
1. Avoid Searching Online
We're all guilty of checking our symptoms online. Sometimes all we can have is the flu and the internet will tell us we're dying of a terminal illness. Don't torture yourself by doing this. All this will do is increase the anxiety you're already feeling. By all means use the Internet to research information on STD's as a whole but don't work yourself up by checking your symptoms or you'll end up thinking your HIV positive.
2. Go See Your Doctor
Even if your symptoms have 'disappeared', you should always still get tested. Sexually transmitted diseases still show up on a test relatively soon after being exposed. The feeling of embarrassment doesn't compare to an STD left untreated so swallow your pride and book an appointment with your local GP as soon as you can.
3. Tell Your Partner/Past Partners
It's vital that you tell your current or past partners that you have and STD. The sooner they know, the sooner they can get tested. Keeping something like this from them will increase their chances of getting worse and can also affect their fertility. Make sure you break the news to them gently as this is a sensitive issue and offer them your support if they need it.
4. Talk To Someone
Whether it's a friend, family member or even a counsellor, talking about it can help relieve the embarrassment you may feel. You can also get advice on how to handle the situation if you find yourself stressed on what to do next.
5. Do What The Doctor Tells You
Most STD's can be treated with a simple antibiotic. Make sure you follow the instructions the doctor gives you about your medication and don't become careless about taking it.
6. Keep Check On Your Mental Health
There is a strong link between STD's and mental health issues such as depression. The two way street of STD's and mental health is a classic 'what came first the chicken or the egg' situation. Are people with mental health issues such as depression, bi- polar and ADHD more likely to contract an STD? Or is being diagnosed with one is what causes such mental health problems? It's important to remember how common STD's are and that you're not alone when you find out that you have contracted one. As said previously, talking to someone can help with the comfort aspect and accepting process of the situation and can prevent you having difficulty with your mental health.
7. Practice Safe Sex
After you have visited your doctor, followed the correct method of clearing up the STD and told your current or past partners, you can continue life on as normal. Having an STD doesn't mean you can never have sex again, it just means you must be more vigilant when it comes to practicing safe sex. As a woman, the pill only prevents pregnancy but does not protect you from and STD. Always remember to use a condom as they will prevent as STD being passed on.
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