Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs); Basic Information And Facts That Everyone Needs To Know.

Sexually transmitted disease (STD) is a general term that encompasses conditions that are transferred from an individual to another individual via sexual interactions. These sexual interactions include having unprotected, vaginal or anal sex with an STD-infected person.

Sexually transmitted diseases can also be called venereal diseases (VD) or sexually transmitted infections (STI)oral

However, sexually transmitted diseases are not transmitted through the means of sexual contact alone. For instance, some particular STDs can also be transmitted via the means of breastfeeding and sharing of needles.

What Are The Signs Of STDs In Women?

In women, most STDs do not have conspicuous signs at all. However, some regular signs that may be experienced are:

  • The vagina becomes itchy, whether inside or around it.
  • The mouth, buttocks, vagina, thighs or anus can develop rashes, sores or bumps.
  • You may experience discomfort or pain when urinating or having sex.
  • When the vagina releases abnormal discharges or bleeding.

CommonThe Signs Of Sexually Transmitted Diseases In Men?

Several STDs have conspicuous signs, although it is possible to be infected with an STD without experiencing any underlying signs. Some particular signs may differ, based on the STD. However, some common signs of STDs in men are:

  • The testicles become swollen and painful
  • Experiencing discomfort or pain when urinating or having sex.
  • The penis gives abnormal discharges or bleeding
  • Development of rashes, sores, or bumps on or around the mouth, penis, buttocks, testicles, thighs or anus.

Again, the particular symptoms may differ from one STD to the other.

What Are The Various Kinds Of STDs?

There are a bunch of infections that can be sexually transmitted, some of which include the following common STDs:

  1. Syphilis

Syphilis is an infection caused by bacteria. In its stage of inception, it is usually not noticed.

One of the first signs that manifest is “chancre” - a painless but very infectious little round sore that can grow on the mouth, genitals or anus.

Some latter signs of syphilis are:

  • Loss of weight
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Pain in the joint
  • Fever
  • Rashes
  • Loss of hair
  • Headaches

If syphilis is not treated during the early stage, the latter stage can develop into:

  • Memory loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Visual loss
  • Disease of the heart
  • Mental disease
  • Spinal cord or brain infections
  • Death

Syphilis can easily be treated with antibiotics if diagnosed in its early stage. Furthermore, it is very important for all pregnant women to visit their doctor for syphilis screening as it can be very lethal for new-borns to be infected with syphilis. In all, if syphilis is diagnosed in its early stage, the effects or damage it causes would be reduced.

  1. Gonorrhoea

This is another popular STD that is caused by bacteria. It can also be called "the clap."

Just like syphilis, most people who have gonorrhoea also do not experience the manifestation of any signs or symptoms. However, the following symptoms may manifest in the presence of gonorrhoea:

  • Sore throat
  • Experiencing discomfort or pain when urinating or having sex
  • The penis or vagina is releasing a yellowish, greenish or white-coloured discharge.
  • Genital areas becoming itching
  • Abnormal and frequent urge to urinate

Gonorrhoea can lead to the following diseases if it is not treated:

  • Inflammatory disease of the pelvis
  • Problems with fertility
  • Infections that affect the testicles, urethra, or prostate gland.

Gonorrhoea can cause very severe health issues in babies. This happens when a mother transmits the infection onto her new-born baby during labour. As a result, the majority of doctors advise pregnant women to get screened and treated for any possible STDs. Antibiotics can mostly be used to treat gonorrhoea.

  1. Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

This is a viral infection that can be transmitted from an individual to another via sexual or intimate skin-to-skin contact. The virus has a plethora of strains, and some strains of the virus are more fatal than the others. Some fatal strains of HPV can develop into cancers such as:

  • Penile cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Vulvar cancer

Although in most cases, HPV does not lead to cancers. However, some strains of the virus have a higher tendency to develop cancer than the others. According to research by the National Cancer Institute, HPV 16 and HPV 18 are the causes of most HPV cases that develop into cancers. These two HPV strains are responsible for about 70% of all cases of cervical cancer.The most prevalent sign of HPV is warts on the mouth, throat, or genitals.

HPV Treatment

There's no particular treatment for HPV. However, HPV infections have been known to mostly leave on their own. Also, there are vaccinations available to fight against some of the most lethal strains of HPV, such as the HPV 16 and HPV 18.

A person who contracts HPV should visit the doctor for appropriate diagnosis and testing. This would help to examine and curb the threat of complications.

  1. Trichomoniasis

This is an STD that can be transmitted from an individual to another via genial contact. It is also called "trich", and it is caused by a protozoan microorganism.

According to a study, not up to one-third of trich-infected individuals exhibit symptoms. The following are symptoms that may manifest:

  • Urinating frequently
  • Burning or itching around the penis or vagina
  • The penis or vagina releases discharge. In women, discharge relating to trichomoniasis usually smell "fishy" or unpleasantly.
  • Discomfort or pain when having sex or urinating.

Trich can develop into the following conditions if left untreated:

  • Inflammatory disease of the pelvis
  • Fertility problems
  • Urethra infections

Antibiotics can be used in the treatment of trich.

  1. Pubic Lice ('crabs')

These are tiny insects that can dwell in one's pubic hair. Just like body lice and head lice, they also feed on human blood. Another name for pubic lice is "Crabs."

The common signs of pubic lice are:

  • Irritability
  • Small reddish or pinkish bumps around the genitals or anus.
  • Energy loss
  • Genital or anal itching
  • Low-grade fever

Also, a magnifying glass can be used to spot the lice or their tiny whitish eggs around the roots of genital hair.

You can get rid of pubic lice by using tweezers to remove them or using over-the-counter topical treatments. You should also clean your bedding, towels, clothes and home very well.

It is important to treat pubic lice infestations immediately as they can begin to spread to other individuals via skin-to-skin contact or sharing of bedding, towels or clothing. Also, if pubic lice are left untreated, scratched bites can get infected.

  1. Herpes

The herpes simplex virus (HSV), which is shortened to herpes, is a very common STD. The virus has two major strains, which are; HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both strains are sexually transmitted. According to a study, over 1 person out of 6 people within the age brackets of 14 to 49 years of age have herpes in the US.

  • HSV-1

HSV-1 is the basic underlying cause of oral herpes, which causes cold sores. During oral sex, HSV-1 can also be transmitted to an individual's genitals from another individual's mouth. In this case, genital herpes can be caused by HSV-1.

  • HSV-2

HSV-2 is responsible for genital herpes. Blistery sores are the most prevalent symptom of herpes. They develop on or around the mouth in the case of oral herpes, and they develop on or around the genitals in the case of genital herpes.

Herpes sores are known to mostly cause a lot of pain during their first outbreak. However, the herpes sores generally crust over and begin to heal within a couple of weeks, and over time, the caused by the outbreak generally begins to reduce and fade off.

Pregnant women need to be screened for HSV as a pregnant woman who has a positive HSV status stands the risk of transmitting the disease to the foetus in her womb or to her new-born child during labour. This is called congenital herpes, and it is very lethal to new-born infants.

There are a couple of medications that are available to help curb the spread of herpes sores and also reduce the pain it causes. These medications can also reduce the risks of transmitting herpes to one's sexual partner. There is not yet a medication that cures herpes.

It is beneficial to get information on safe sexual practices and effective treatments that can help you to prevent, recognise, live a comfortable life with herpes and also prevent the virus from spreading to other people.

  1. HIV

HIV is the shortened form for the human immune-deficiency virus. The virus causes damage to the host's immune system and increases the threat of developing other viruses or bacteria and some cancers. HIV, if left untreated, can develop into AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency virus), which is the third stage of HIV. However, many people today don't usually develop AIDS as a result of advancement in modern medicine.

The signs of HIV can easily be confused with that of the flu. This mistake occurs during the acute or initial stages of HIV. The initial signs of HIV are:

  • Body pains and aches
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Rashes
  • Headache

However, these early symptoms generally vanish within one month or so. And for many years, a person may continue to carry HIV without exhibiting any further or severe symptoms. In some cases, others may experience nonspecific signs, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Recurrent fatigue
  • Stomach problems
  • Fevers

There are treatment plans available for managing HIV, as there is not yet a cure for it. It is beneficial for HIV-infected individuals to go for early and effective treatment. This can help them to live just as long as individuals who do not have the virus.

The odds of passing HIV to a sexual partner can be reduced through adequate treatment. As a matter of fact, the level of HIV in one's body can be largely reduced to insignificant amounts as a result of treatments. According to the CDC, HIV cannot be passed to other individuals when it is at insignificant and minimal levels.

The CDC recommends that individuals within the age brackets of 13 to 64 years old, should be screened at least once to promote early diagnosis and treatment. However, individuals who have an increased threat of HIV should be screened at least once annually, even if symptoms are not evident. This is because a lot of individuals do not know that they have the virus without constant screening.

In most developed and developing countries, there are free and confidential screening centres and public health clinics, where testing can be done.

It is good to know that modern advancements in medicine have made it possible to live longer and healthier as other individuals who do not have HIV.

  1. Chlamydia

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chlamydia is the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease reported among Europeans. It is caused by a particular kind of bacteria.

Some symptoms manifest with chlamydia, although most people do not have observable symptoms. The signs that may manifest usually include:

  • Yellowish or greenish discharge from the vagina or penis
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Discomfort or pain when urinating or having sex

If proper care is not taken, the following conditions can develop from chlamydia:

  • Fertility problems
  • The prostate gland, testicles or urethral infections.
  • Inflammatory disease of the pelvis

A pregnant woman with untreated chlamydia can transmit the disease to her infant during labour, and the child may experience:

  • Infections of the eye
  • Blindness
  • Pneumonia

Treatment of Chlamydia

Chlamydia can easily be treated through the use of antibiotics.

What Are Some Other STDs?

The following are examples of some other and less prevalent STDs:

  • Scabies
  • Molluscum contagiosum
  • Granuloma Inguinale
  • Lymphogranuloma venerum
  • Chancroid

Oral Sex Is Also a Source ofSTDs

Oral sex is also a potential means, asides vaginal and anal sex, via which STDs can also be transmitted or contracted. This simply means that STDs can be transmitted from an individual's mouth or throat to another individual's genitals or an individual's genitals to another individual's mouth or throat.

Although oral STDs are not usually visible, they can manifest symptoms sometimes such as sore throat or sores around the mouth or throat.

Can STDs Be Cured?

Several STDs can be cured. Antibiotics or some other treatments can be used to cure the examples of sexually transmitted diseases listed below:

  • Trichomoniasis
  • Crabs
  • Syphilis
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea

However, there is not yet a cure for the following examples of sexually transmitted infections below:

  • HIV (Human immune deficiency virus)
  • Herpes(Herpes simplex virus – HSV)
  • HPV (Human papillomavirus)

Nonetheless, despite the incurability of these sexually transmitted diseases, they can still be managed regardless. It is necessary to be diagnosed during the early stage. There are various treatments available to help nullify the symptoms and reduce the risks of passing diseases to another individual.

The Relationship between Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

As earlier established, pregnant women can pass STDs to their unborn foetus during pregnancy or to their new-born infant during labour or childbirth. Sexuallytransmitted infections are very lethal and dangerous to new-borns. They can cause complications, such as blindness and eye problems, in the new-born children, and these can pose great threats to the lives of the new-borns.

Usually, doctors recommend STD screening and treatment for pregnant women, to prevent potential STDs in new-borns. Even if you do not have the signs or symptoms of STDs, your doctor may still encourage that you undergo an STD screening.

For pregnant women who are STDs positive, their doctors may prescribe certain antiviral and antibacterial medications, antibiotics, or other treatment plans. Caesarean surgery may even be recommended as the mode of childbirth to alleviate the possibilities of transmitting STDs during labour.

The Diagnosis and Testing Of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Most often, the diagnosis of STD is not dependent on the manifestation of symptoms only. Doctors or primary healthcare providers normally advise individuals who are suspected of having an STD to undertake several recommended tests to diagnose and verify the condition properly.

Even if you don't have symptoms of STDs, your doctor may recommend STD screening, based on how active your sexual status is. This is because, in many cases, STDs do not manifest visible signs. However, even STDs that do not exhibit symptoms can be lethal and can be transmitted to other individuals.

Through a blood or urine test, doctors or primary healthcare providers can diagnose the majority of STDs. A swab of your genitals could also be taken, and if you have any manifesting sores, they may take swabs of them also. You can get STDs screening at a sexual health clinic or your doctor's office.

There are also some home testing kits which can be used to test for STDs. However, they are not fully reliable. They are to be used with caution. Endeavour to check if your country has approved the buying and usage of the testing kits before you purchase it.

Also, it is necessary to be informed that a Pap smear is not the same as an STD test. A Pap smear screens for the presence of precancerous cells on the cervix. Although it may be combined with an HPV test, a negative Pap smear does not denote the presence of any STDs.

It is quite beneficial to go for routine screening, especially if you have engaged in any form of sexual contact. It is advisable that you find out about STD screening from your doctor or primary healthcare provider and if you should take an STD testing.

Methods of Treating Sexually Transmitted Diseases

You and your sexual partner must have been successfully screened and treated for STDs before you take any sexual activities. If not, you may transmit infections to and from each other. Based on the kind of STDs you have, the recommended treatment for STDs are different from one another.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases That Are Caused By Viruses

Usually, most infections caused by viruses have no cure. However, some can leave on their own accord. Generally, viral STDs cannot be treated using antibiotics. Nonetheless, there are treatment options available in many cases to reduce the effects of the symptoms and alleviate the threat of transmission.

For instance, there is the availability of medications to alleviate the rate and effects of herpes outbreaks. In like manner, the development of HIV can be curbed through the use of treatments. Also, the threat of HIV transmission from one person to another can be curbed through the use of antiviral drugs.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases That Are Caused By Bacteria

Normally, infections caused by bacteria can easily be treated through the use of antibiotics.However, it is important to complete the dosage of the antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor or healthcare provider. Even if you experience better health before completing the dosage, it is still necessary you continue to take the drugs. If some symptoms persist or relapse after completion of the dosage, call your doctor.

Non-Viraland Non Bacterial Other Forms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Some STDs are caused by some other tiny organisms and not from viruses or bacteria. Examples of these STDs are:

  • Trichomoniasis
  • Scabies
  • Pubic lice

Normally, topical or oral medications can be used in the treatment of these STDs. To know more details about your treatment options and conditions, visit your doctor or physician.

How To Prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections?

The best and most guaranteed way to avoid STIs is through abstinence. However, there are other ways to reduce the risk of contracting STDs if you engage in oral, vaginal, or anal sex.

The use of condoms also gives effective protection against several STDs, if properly used. Condoms should be used during oral, vaginal, and anal sex to ensure optimal protection. The use of oral dams is also recommended during oral sex to provide protection.

Condoms guarantee protection against STDs that are spread through body fluids such as blood or semen. However, they can't optimally protect against STDs that are transmitted from skin-to-skin contact. Also, there is a threat of contracting or transmitting STDs to your partner if your condom does not completely cover the area of skin that is infected.

In addition, condoms do not only protect against STDs; they also prevent the emergence of unwanted pregnancies. The risk of unwanted pregnancies can be reduced through a plethora of other forms of birth control, but these cannot reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Examples of birth control forms that cannot prevent STDs are:

  • IUDs - intrauterine devices
  • Birth control pills
  • Birth control implants
  • Birth control shots

It is recommended for sexually active individuals to undergo routine STD testing. This is more important for individuals with multiple sex partners or a new partner. The development and transmission of these infections can be curbed via early diagnosis and treatments.

It is medically advisable for individuals to discuss their sexual history before having sexual interactions with a new partner. Both parties can also go to a healthcare professional for screening. Screening or testing is the only way to diagnose one's STD status since some STDs do not usually exhibit symptoms.

It is important to ask your partner what they have been screened forwhile discussing STDs test results. A common mistake most people make is thinking that their doctors have tested them for STDs as part of their routine check-up, but that is not usually the case. It is necessary to request that your doctor carries out specific STD tests to be on the safer side.

It is important for individuals who have tested positive for an STD to follow the treatment plan that has been drafted and recommended by their doctors. They should also ask their doctors about methods by which their partners can be protected from contracting the disease. For instance, the partner of an HIV positive individual would probably be recommended to take the PrEP - pre-exposure prophylaxis.

If recommended, you and your partner can also consider taking hepatitis B and HPV vaccinations. You can reduce the risks of contracting or transmitting STDs to others if you abide by these strategies and treatments.

How to Manage Sexually Transmitted Diseases

An individual who tests positive for an STD should seek medical treatment immediately. This is because the existence of a single STD can usually increase the risks of contracting others. Moreover, leaving some STDs untreated can result in disastrous consequences. In some cases, it could even lead to death.

It is, however, good news that almost all STDs are treatable to a large extent. Some STDs can be completely cured. And in some other cases, effectively treating them in their early stages can help to alleviate their symptoms, reduce the risk of contracting more infections, and also protect the sexual partner(s).

In a bid to protect you and your sexual partner(s), your doctor may recommend that you adjust your sexual habits in addition to using the prescribed medications for STDs. For instance, your doctor may advise that you abstain from sexual activities completely until the effective completion of the treatment for your infection. When you resume sexual contacts, they may recommend that you use some forms of protection such as condoms and dental dams, among others.

You must follow your doctor's prescribed medications, treatment and safe practices plans, to help improve your future status with STDs.

In conclusion, it is important to practise safe sex in order to prevent the emergence of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Any skin to skin contact with your partner is enough to transmit an STD. As earlier established, oral sex is as risky as any other form of sexual interactions. This means that one can get a sexually transmitted disease from ordinarily getting or giving a hand job, blow job, cunnilingus and all other forms of manual, oral simulations.

Do You Want To Know More?

You can always visit Women’s Health Care Partners London for more details and information. We look forward to hearing from you today!

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