Chlamydia - Look for signs of itching around the vagina, a yellow and odorless discharge, pain during sex and pain and frequency during urination for women. Men may have pain or burning when urinating, and a watery, milky-colored discharge from the penis.
Gonorrhea - Women may have a white, green or yellow discharge, painful urination, spotting between periods and sometimes fever and abdominal pain. Men may have a thick yellow discharge, painful urination and the opening of the penis may be sore.
Syphilis - A painless red sore will appear where you were touched during intercourse. A few months later, you may have a fever, sore throat, headaches and joint pain.
Herpes - A tingling and itching around the genitals. Small painful blisters may form in the area
- Limit the amount of sexual partners.
- Always use a condom when having sex.
- Don't douche. Douching may spread infections higher into the womb.
Use of Condoms
While condoms do not eliminate risk, the correct use of a condom and avoidance of certain sexual practices can decrease the risk of contracting AIDS, as well as other STDs. The condom (also known as a prophylactic, a rubber or safe) is a thin sheath, usually made of latex rubber, that covers the erect penis.
When used correctly, a latex condom is effective, both for preventing pregnancy and for decreasing the chances of contracting most STDs (including AIDS). Condoms can be purchased over the counter at any drugstore and are available in various thicknesses, colors and shapes. They may be lubricated or unlubricated, have a plain end or a reservoir end, and have a smooth (the most common), ribbed or corrugated texture.
Condoms can cost as little as three for a dollar, but usually the cost ranges from 50 cents to a dollar each. Condoms sometimes are made of animal membrane; however, some experts believe that the pores in such natural "skin" condoms may allow the virus to pass through. To be effective, the condom must be undamaged, applied to the erect penis before genital contact, and must remain intact and snugly in place until completion of the sexual activity.