As a health reporter, I feel as if I'm always a bit of a downer, reporting sobering news like this new government report that finds that sexually transmitted diseases are rising and that women bear the brunt of the burden. We pay a hefty toll for such ills as gonorrhea and chlamydia—which go undiagnosed half the time—in the form of lifelong infertility. Women, especially black women, account for the highest rates of both of these diseases. And consider these consequences reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
What to do? Avoiding unprotected sex with a new partner—many of us still don't insist that men wear condoms—is a biggie to protect against infections. Women under 27 can get the Gardasil vaccine to protect against HPV transmission. The CDC recommends annual chlamydia screening for all sexually active women under 26 and supports screening high-risk sexually active women for gonorrhea. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also recommends that all women have an HIV test.
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