Mahaska Health Partnership Educates on STDs

Mahaska Health Partnership

MAHASKA COUNTY – When you hear about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), is your first thought there’s no way I’ll ever catch one? Well, many of these diseases can show no signs for long periods of time, making you and your partner unaware of any possible infections. Mahaska Health Partnership Family Nurse Practitioner Diane Nutter, ARNP-BC, explains the importance of protection and regular screenings.

STDs can affect any gender, race or sexually active person at any time. “There are many stereotypes and myths associated with STDs that make people think they won’t contract certain infections,” Nutter cautioned. “However, it doesn’t matter who you are, if you are having intercourse or even simply skin to skin contact with an infected person, it’s possible that you can contract an STD.”

Infections can be transferred through skin contact or bodily fluids. “Some people believe STDs are only transferred by certain types of contact, but infections can pass from one person to another through skin contact, as well as anal, oral or vaginal intercourse,” Nutter explained. “Abstinence, using protection and being in a committed relationship are your best defense in keeping these infections at bay. Some of these infections do not show symptoms for months, so you cannot rely on looks or feel; it’s very important to also get regular screenings to catch and treat them early.”

Human Papillomavirus (HPV), is one of the only STDs with a vaccine. “The HPV vaccine is recommended around age 11 for all children,” Nutter explained. “This vaccine helps protect against complications caused by the virus like genital warts and some cancers. If you did not vaccinate your child at the recommended age, there are catch-up vaccines available; discuss your options with your child’s primary care provider.”

Left untreated, STDs can cause long-term health consequences. “Thankfully, most infections can be managed with medications, so make sure to get in as soon as possible if any symptoms develop between regular screenings,” Nutter shared. “If left untreated, there is an increased chance of developing HIV, AIDS, other chronic illnesses like hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, heart problems, infertility and even cancer. For women, they can also cause problems with pregnancy including miscarriages and you may pass along the infection to your child during pregnancy or childbirth.

“This is why regular screenings are so important,” Nutter continued. “Don’t let embarrassment keep you from getting screened. It’s best to know you and your partner are free of any concerns before it’s too late.”

Diane Nutter, ARNP-BC, is a Family Nurse Practitioner with the MHP Medical Group who enjoys treating patients of all ages for acute and chronic illnesses. She is a strong advocate for her patients, encouraging them toward their health goals. Diane holds a special place in her heart for young adults, staffing the William Penn Health Center during the school year. To schedule an appointment with Diane Nutter on the MHP campus, call 641.672.3360.

Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, visit



Posted by on Jul 28 2017. Filed under Lifestyle. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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