What are Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) ?
STDS are the infections that are primarily transmitted through sexual intercourse.
These diseases can either be caused by a bacterial infection, by parasites or viruses.STDS affect both men and women although the symptoms may vary by gender.
Quick facts about STDS
- Bacterial STDs are easily curable using antibiotics.
- STDS caused by viruses (such as HIV, Hepatitis B, herpes etc.) can only be treated and managed.
- Appropriate use of condoms during sex is an effective way of reducing the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
- The best way to avoid infections is to abstain from vaginal, oral or anal sex.
- There are as many as 25 known STDs.
- Some of the common infections include; syphilis, gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, human papillomavirus (HPV), genital herpes, hepatitis B, trichomoniasis and HIV.
What are the most common STDS?
This is one of the most common bacterial STD. People contract Chlamydia through either oral, anal or vaginal sex.
In some cases chlamydia is spread through the eyes if your hands contain infected fluids. However it is impossible to spread the disease through casual contact such as shaking hands or sharing food and drinks.
Chlamydia is easily cured with antibiotics but if left untreated during the early stages, it can lead to major health complications such as liver disease, infertility, cervical cancer and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Pregnant women also risk premature delivery or even miscarriages.
What are the Symptoms of chlamydia?
Majority of people with the chlamydia bacteria show no symptoms. In cases where symptoms show, it may take up to three weeks after the infection.
Chlamydia symptoms in women
- Pain in the abdomen
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Yellow or foul smelling vaginal discharge
- Burning sensation during urination
- swelling in the vagina
Chlamydia symptoms in men
- Difficulty with urination
- Pus discharge from the penis
- Itching or burning sensation at the tip of the penis.
- Swelling and pain in the testicles
How Is Chlamydia Treated?
People with severe infection may require prolonged treatment, but the bacteria usually clears within two weeks. It is important to ensure that you are retested after 2-3 months especially if you have sex with multiple partners. Testing should also take place if your partner has not been treated.
Herpes is a Viral STD caused by the herpes simplex virus.
Herpes is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse or direct contact with an infected person including kissing.
The HSV -1 and HSV-2 virus remain in a person’s body for life, remaining inactive in most cases.
Herpes Symptoms in Men & Women
- Discharge from the vagina
- Blisters in the genitals
- Itching or pain
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Difficulty urinating
- Ulcers or Blisters on the skin or mouth.
How is Herpes Treated?
It is impossible to totally get rid of the herpes virus.
Doctors usually prescribe antiviral medications to reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of spreading the virus to others. In addition,some people find that using homemade remedies can help.Examples include:
- Soaking in salted water reduces the severity of symptoms
- Applying cream or petroleum jelly on blisters and soars.
- Applying ice packs on the affected area.
Syphilis is a bacterial STD caused by bacterium Treponema pallidum (T. pallidum).
Syphilis is transmitted through sexual contact or mucous contact with open wounds.
The infection develops in three phases:
- and tertiary.
In the primary stage the disease is characterized by painless sores on the mouth, rectum or genitals.
After the initial stage of the disease, the secondary stage is manifested as rashes and then the bacteria may remain inactive for years before moving on to the last stage.The final stage is often severe and may damage vital organs such as the brain and heart.
What are the symptoms of Syphilis in men and women?
The common symptoms are similar for both men and women.They include;
- Painless ulcers on the genitals or skin
- Sores on the groin and genitals
- vaginal discharge
- Small bumps on the skin.
Other symptoms may vary from one person to another, including:
- Tender lymph nodes
- Sore throat
- Ulcers in the mouth
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Weight loss
How is Syphilis treated?
Syphilis is easily curable when diagnosed and treated early. In fact, if treated in the early stages, syphilis can be easily cleared with a few penicillin injections.The same treatment is used in later stages of the disease although depending on the length of exposure some patients may require several injections at weekly intervals.
Gonorrhoea is a bacterial STD caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoea.
The Gonorrhoea bacterium multiply in the urethra, throat, or mouth in men and in the fallopian tubes, uterus and cervix in women.
The disease is usually painful and can lead to severe health complications if left untreated.
Gonorrhoea spreads from one person to another via oral, vaginal or anal sex or by sharing sex toys.A person cannot contract Gonorrhoea cannot be through casual physical contact such as handshaking.
What are the symptoms of Gonorrhoea in Women?
- Abnormal vaginal discharge (green or yellow and usually with a foul odour)
- Pain or burning sensation when urinating.
- Pain in the lower abdomen.
- Heavier periods or bleeding between periods
- Swelling or pain in the eyes
What are the symptoms of Gonorrhoea in Men?
- Abnormal discharge from the penis
- Pain when urinating
- Pain in the testicles.
- Throat infection
- Infection in the throat usually has no symptoms.
- Conjunctivitis (eye infection)
How is Gonorrhoea treated?
Gonorrhoea is usually treated using antibiotics.
In most patients, the medication is administered via a thigh or buttocks injection followed by a single antibiotic tablet. It is also possible to take two antibiotic tablets instead of getting an injection.
If left untreated gonorrhoea can result in other health complications such as Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women or infertility in men. Rarely, untreated gonorrhoea results in meningitis or inflammation around the heart.
Hepatitis B is a viral STI caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV).
The disease is spread through contact with infected body fluids including vaginal fluids, semen and blood.
Hepatitis B occurs in two stages:
- Acute Hepatitis
- Chronic hepatitis
People who are affected by acute Hepatitis B start to see symptoms within 2-4 months after infection. In such cases the symptoms will usually go away without treatment and no risk of relapse.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis B?
Symptoms vary from one person to another and some patients may never experience any symptoms. The common symptoms include:
- Jaundice or yellowing of the eyes
- Dark urine
- Pain in the abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain
- Persistent fatigue (for weeks or months)
How is hepatitis B treated?
There is no specific medication that clears the Hepatitis B infection.
Antiviral medication may be used to slow the effects of acute or chronic Hepatitis B, treatment may also consist of vaccination administered after suspected exposure.
In the worst case scenario, people affected by chronic Hepatitis B may require a liver transplant.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is set of symptoms caused by the HIV virus.
The infection weakens the immune system exposing those affected to more severe infections such as tuberculosis (TB) and cancers.
The HIV virus is spread between people through bodily fluids including vaginal fluids, semen and blood. Thus, it may be passed from one person to another through contact with blood, unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex.
It may also be transmitted during pregnancy or by sharing needles.
What are the Symptoms of HIV?
The early signs of HIV infection are characterised by flu-like symptoms including:
- Persistent fever
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Red rashes
After the early stage, the disease progresses to full blown AIDS.
Symptoms of AIDS
- Weight loss
- night sweats
- Recurrent infections by opportunistic bacteria or viruses.
- Persistent tiredness
- White spots or soars on the mouth or tongue.
- Dyspnea or shortness of breath
How is HIV / AIDS treated?
There is no specific cure for AIDs.
Doctors usually prescribe strict adherence to antiretroviral regimens (ARVs) to prevent secondary health complications and to prolong the life of those living with the disease. This form of treatment is lifelong and must be taken on a regular basis.
There are several subgroups of ARVS including;
- Protease inhibitors: Inhibit the HIV virus from replicating within the cells. They include, cobicistat (Prezcobix), lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra) and atazanavir/cobicistat (Evotaz).
- Integrase inhibitors: Prevent the HIV virus from reaching the integrase enzyme which is needed for infection to occur.
- Chemokine co-receptor antagonists: Inhibit the HIV virus from replicating within T-cells. Other drugs such as Protease inhibitors are more effective and therefore used as alternatives.
- Entry inhibitors: Also block the entry of HIV into T cells where replication occurs.
What are the side effects of taking ARVS?
The Side effects associated with AIDs medication vary from one person to another. The most common side-effects include:
- rashes on the skin
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is one of the more common viral STDs.
Depending on the strain, HPV infection is associated with warts in various parts of the body, some such as genital warts can be severe, but most will go away on their own within a few weeks of infection.
What are the Symptoms of HPV?
In most cases, people affected by HPV do not show any symptoms or suffer from secondary health complications.
When symptoms do show, they include, warts on the genital area. Genital warts resemble Common warts that often grow on hands or feet. They are flesh-colored painless bumps that are rough to the touch.
How is HPV treated?
There is no specific cure for HPV but the infection usually goes away on its own in most people, without any secondary health complications.
Other than that, there are preventive measures that one could take to stay healthy. Vaccines, for example, are used to prevent genital warts and other high risk HPV that may cause cervical cancer.
Posted by : Editorial Team