Sexual Health

Sexual healthDid you know 1 in 4 Americans have a sexually transmitted disease/infection (STD/STI)?  The largest percentage of people affected occurs in young people between the ages of 15 and 24? Click here to figure your risk of exposure to HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.

Hannah Pregnancy Resource Center strongly encourages anyone who has participated in sexual activity to visit their county health unit to receive STD/STI testing.  You can contact your health unit at the following:

  • Columbia County Health Unit: 870-235-3798;
  • Ouachita County Health Unit: 870-836-5033;
  • Union County Health Unit: 870-863-5101. 

While Hannah PRC does not do the actual testing here, we have available factual information about the many different STD/STIs, describing probable ways of transmission, various symptoms of each and the best way to prevent getting them.

STDs or STIs are either viral or bacterial and impact the sexual organs and sometimes other parts of the body.  They are passed primarily through sexual contact.

Basic facts about common STDs:

Bacterial STDs Transmitted Symptoms

Chlamydia

  • Vaginal, anal or oral sex.
  • Can be passed from an infected mother to newborn baby during vaginal childbirth.
  • Abnormal vaginal/penile discharge.
  • Burning sensation when urinating.
  • Lower abdominal pain,
  • Fever, etc.

Gonorrhea

  • Vaginal, anal or oral sex.
  • In pregnant women, the infection can be passed to the baby.
  • Women get gonorrhea in the anus, eyes, mouth, throat, urinary tract, or uterus.  Men can get gonorrhea in the penis.
  • Symptoms vary depending on the part of the body infected.
  • Discharge from genitals.
  • Pain or burning when urinating.
  • Itching, soreness, bleeding, discharge or painful bowel movements if infected in the rectum.

Syphilis

  • Passed from person to person through direct contact with a Syphilis sore (chancre) through vaginal, anal or oral sex.
  • Pregnant women can pass the disease to their unborn babies.

Primary Stage

  • A single sore (or there may be multiple sores) called a chancre that is usually firm, round, small, and painless.
  • Chancre lasts 3-6 weeks.

Secondary Stage

  • Skin rash on one or more parts of the body that usually does not itch. 
  • Symptoms sometimes hard to distinguish from other diseases/sicknesses.
Viral STDs Transmitted Symptoms

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

  • Vaginal, anal or oral sex.
  • Some types of HPV cause genital warts which are usually painless, flat or raised, single or in groups, and small or large.  Warts can be found on genitals, anus or thighs.
  • Some types of HPV can lead to cancer – most specifically cervical cancer in women.

HIV/Aids

  • Anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV.
  • Oral sex can also be a risk for HIV transmission.
  • Sharing needles, syringes or other equipment used to prepare illicit drugs for injection.
  • HIV can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breast-feeding.
  • Many people infected do not have symptoms for years.
  • Warning signs of infection may include: rapid weight loss, dry cough, recurring fever or profuse night sweats, fatigue, swollen lymph glands, diarrhea that lasts longer than a week, unusual blemishes on the tongue or mouth, pneumonia, or memory loss.

Genital Herpes

  • HSV-1 (Type 1 Herpes Simplex Virus): Oral-Genital or Genital-Genital contact.
  • HSV-2 (Type 2 Herpes Simplex Virus): Sexual contact with someone who has a genital Type 2 infection.
  • Can perhaps cause potentially fatal infections in babies if the mother has sores at the time of delivery.
  • One or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum that break leaving tender ulcers that may last 2-4 weeks.
  • Recurring outbreaks of sores or blisters.
  • Flu-like symptoms, including fever and swollen glands.

Abstinance