Your genetics can increase your risk of developing many medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Other diseases, like Huntington’s disease or Marfan’s disease, are directly caused by a mutated gene passed down through generations.
Fortunately, sexually transmitted diseases are not among the list of medical problems that are hereditary. This doesn’t mean that your family’s sexual health doesn’t affect you, though.
Family Health and Your Sexual Health
Even though STDs aren’t passed down genetically, your family does still have a degree of involvement in your sexual health. Here are a few ways that your family’s medical history might impact your vulnerability to STDs.
STDs & Newborns
A pregnant woman with STDs can pass the disease her child during vaginal delivery if her infection is left untreated. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, syphilis, trichomoniasis, HIV, heptatitis B, and human papillomavirus can all be transmitted during labor. Affects on the baby vary, spanning from eye and lung infections to death. If infected, a child with heptatitis B has a 90% risk of being a lifelong carrier for the disease.
A family history of HIV does not guarantee that you will develop HIV yourself. However, as with when you are around anyone who has HIV, you should take certain precautions around HIV-positive relatives, particularly if they have any injuries or open wounds. Any blood from the HIV positive person should be immediately washed from others’ skin or cleaned from surfaces with a mix of one part bleach to nine parts water. HIV infection is only passed through blood, vaginal fluids, semen, and breast milk, so there is no need to fear infection when these bodily fluids are not involved.
Although HIV is not hereditary, scientists have found a positive link between genetics and HIV resistance. Research has shown that a gene mutation known as Delta32 prevents the protein CCR5 from rising in the T cells. Without CCR5 attached to the cell surface, HIV cannot infect the cell. Scientists hope that further study of this mutated gene could lead to breakthroughs in HIV treatment.
Know Your Sexual Health. Get STD Testing.
Family history of STDs can negatively affect your sexual health, but isn’t an 100% accurate predictor of your vulnerability or immunity to STDs. To best gauge your sexual health, you should get regular STD testing at your local ARCpoint Labs.
We provide quick, reliable service at our nationwide walk-in facilities, including a comprehensive STD panel as well as many individual tests.
To learn more about STD testing at ARCpoint Labs, call your nearest location today!