It can be a dangerous world out there for unplanned coupling. If you don’t do your research on your partner, you could end up contracting one of the numerous sexually transmitted diseases that are being passed around.

Would you like to know what your chances are of contracting an STD from someone whose sexual history you aren’t familiar with? You might be surprised to know that he odds are about 20%. Your odds change depending on what part of the country you are in, as Maine has about a fifth of the STDs per 1,000 people as Mississippi does. But no matter where you go, you still have a fairly high chance of catching something.

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Not all STDs are the same, though. HIV is actually the rarest, and there are only 20,000 new cases reported each year. HPV is far more common, and it’s not very severe in most cases. Relatively mild STD’s like genital warts are very common as well, so if you are concerned about every STD giving you a serious health problem you don’t have to be.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to screen your partners before sex. If you don’t want to go through the embarrassing (but very prudent) process of a medical screening, at least ask about their medical history. Obviously, the more people they have been with sexually, the higher their risk of contracting an STD. For those under 25 years of age, if they have been sexually active, they have about a 1 in 2 chance of suffering from an STD.

Even high-school age people can suffer from high rates of STDs. High school girls have STDs at the same rate as the national average- around 20%. You can’t just assume that because of someone’s age they won’t have an STD.

It’s possible that you even have an STD and don’t realize it. A small portion of those who have genital herpes even know they have the disease. It’s a good idea to research STDs so you know the warning signs and you can get them under control before they become a major problem. While treatment is certainly possible for many types of STDs, others cannot be treated easily.

Abstinence or careful screening are the only ways to avoid having to deal with more serious STDs. If you aren’t sure whether you or your partner has an STD, then it’s always better to be safe and have a medical screening performed than to risk contracting or spreading something.