Trichomoniasis—no it’s not one of Hermione Granger’s spells, but rather an STD that for some people shows no symptoms.
10,000 teens contract a sexually transmitted infection daily (that's one every eight seconds). Even more terrifying is that some are “hidden” STDs. They often show no symptoms but are highly contagious.
Recent data revealed that the human papillomavirus (HPV), another such affliction, can cause oral cancer. A study in The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) found that Oral HPV was linked to sexual history (sex vs. abstinence), number of partners, and smoking. Here's the shocker—the majority of cases were among dudes.
There are over 100 types of documented strains that have been classified as either low risk types (genital warts) or high risk (cancer). It’s possible to be infected with more than one HPV strain. Below are some other scary hidden STDs that often show no symptoms.
- Chlamydia: it’s one of the most commonly reported bacterial infections. In 2010, 1,307,893 cases were reported to the CDC. It can be cured with antibiotics, however if left untreated can cause infertility.
- Gonorrhea: the second most reported disease in the U.S. A total of 309,341 cases were reported in 2010. It can almost always be cured with antibiotics, but if left untreated can cause permanent health problems.
- HIV: this disease is hard to immediately diagnose because most people don’t show symptoms for years. About 50,000 people are newly infected with HIV each year in the U.S. There is no cure for HIV, but there is a drug cocktail that helps strengthen your immune system and keeps the disease from developing into AIDS.
- Syphilis: aka “the great imitator.” Many signs/symptoms of this disease are indistinguishable from others. The CDC reported over 36,000 cases in 2006. If left untreated it can spread and damage other parts of the body (i.e. heart and brain). Antibiotics will cure the infection, but it can’t undo the damage.
- Trichomoniasis: is a common STD that’s caused by infection with a protozoan parasite. An estimated 3.7 million people have the disease, but only 30% develop any symptoms. It can be cured with a single dose of prescription medicine.
What Can You Do?
Nothing’s safer than abstinence, but there are ways to be safe AND sexually active.