General Question

JonnyCeltics's avatar

Are STD's more common/rampant in Western cultures, despite the education on awareness/contraception?

Asked by JonnyCeltics (2716points) May 7th, 2008
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11 Answers

shilolo's avatar

Jonny, The answer is a fairly definitive NO! Most STDs such as T. pallidum (syphilis), N. gonorrhea (gonorrhea), Chlamydia sp. are much less frequent owing to better use of condoms and/or better public health. Diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B are also far more prevalent in Africa, South America and Asia where condom use and education rates are low.

JonnyCeltics's avatar

I guess it sort of seems like the marketing of all of these breakthrough products about STD “fixers” make is seem like everyone in the the U.S. has one; almost like a double-edged sword…and there is a lack of it abroad. I am not trying to sound ignorant, just making a statement!

soundedfury's avatar

Just because something like 1 in 8 people (not sure about that stat) have an STD in the U.S. doesn’t mean that the rates aren’t higher elsewhere. According to WHO, something like 1 million new people a day are infected with some sort of STD. Africa is having a well-known AIDS epidemic, where some countries are seeing 40–50% or higher infection rates.

We’re lucky – at least the STDs that are most prevalent in the U.S. are treatable.

shilolo's avatar

Jonny, I would love to know what you mean by STD “fixers” as I know of only two types, antibiotics and antivirals. Beyond that, you might as well be buying snake oil… If you want to learn more, I suggest checking out the Centers for Disease Control website where I don’t think you will find any mention of STD “fixers”.
Also, feel free to send me a PM if you have more questions about STDs.

soundedfury's avatar

@shilolo – there has been a rash of STD ads from pharmaceutical companies lately. I can’t go an hour without seeing a Valtrex ad popping up.

shilolo's avatar

@sound. Well, those aren’t exactly “fixers”. Valtrex (or valacyclovir) is both a treatment for active herpes, and as a recent study showed, an effective preventative medicine for people with herpes who want to reduce their own personal outbreaks and prevent transmission to an unaffected partner. GlaxoSmithKline would love for people to start taking it every day for the rest of their lives as a preventative medication. Plus, don’t get me started on drug advertizing. I’m still in shock about the ads on TV for the stomach banding procedure. An ad for SURGERY! AAAAGGGGGHHHH!

scamp's avatar

@shilolo sorry to sidetrack a little, but I have a question for you if you don’t mind. I know of a woman who is currently pregnant and has genital herpes. She seems to think she can have a vaginal delivery with no ill effects to the baby. I think she would need to have a c-section so she wouldn’t pass it on to the baby. Can you shed some light on this?

shilolo's avatar

@scamp. No problem. Your friend is right. She can have a vaginal delivery despite having genital herpes (HSV), but only if she isn’t having an outbreak at the time of delivery. First of all, ~30% of the US population has genital herpes, so her case is not unusual. Second, what studies have shown is that women who have a primary episode of HSV near the time of delivery are 10X more likely to transmit HSV to their newborn than women who have reactivation of long-standing HSV, and that asymptomatic shedders are even less likely to transmit herpes to their newborn. Finally, many obstetricians are giving valacyclovir prophylaxis starting at 36 weeks gestation to reduce the shedding of herpes virus and acute activation. That said, if she has an outbreak at the time of delivery, then she will need a C-section, as you said. I hope that helps.

scamp's avatar

Thanks so much for clearing that up for me. I appreciate your help!

zahava85's avatar

Just to add to the discussion.. everyone has been right to say that STIs are not necessarily more common in the US, but you should know that rates have been rising (especially in teenagers), probably because of inaccurate or biased info being offered in schools. 1/4 girls in the US now has an STI, and 1/2 African American girls. That is definitely NOT a good thing and merits serious attention whether or not rates are higher elsewhere.

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