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12 Preventable Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
12 Preventable Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

12 Preventable Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

There is so much to be discussed regarding sexually transmitted diseases and infections as it goes beyond common infections like chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV, and genital herpes. A good understanding of these diseases can help protect you and your family in the future.

Sometimes, people get confused about infectious diseases, especially those that show up without symptoms. Have you ever wondered why herpes is an STD? Do you know that there is an infection known as "the clap?" Not to worry, answers to these questions will be provided here. Also, you'll get to know the possible treatments for common STIs and other infectious diseases.

Are these diseases classified as STDs or STIs?

Some medical experts choose to call them STIs - a term used for every infection contracted via sexual activity.

Genital warts (HPV)

Not all STDs are passed on or contracted via sexual intercourse. Genital warts are caused by a disease known as Human Papillomavirus (HPV). It is contracted via skin to skin contact. Some types of HPV can bring about cancer of the cervix or anal cancer. However, some vaccines can protect from harmful types. Other types of HPV leading to genital warts can be a bump that is flat or shaped like a cauliflower. Those without warts or visible signs of HPV are liable to pass the disease onto others.

Symptoms of HPV

If you notice small bumps or group of bumps around the genital area, it may be genital warts. They could look raised, small, big, flat, or take a cauliflower shape on examination.

Vaccine for HPV

The HPV vaccine is administered in 3 shots. After receiving the first shot, you'll be given the second shot a month or two later. Six months after the first shot, the last shot (third) will be provided.

Boys and girls between 11 to 12 years are recommended for vaccination by the CDC.

Male children that missed this vaccine in childhood can get it at the age of 21. In the same way, females can be vaccinated at age 26. However, for men sleeping with men or those having a dysfunctional immune system, the CDC recommends an HPV vaccine at 26.

Pubic lice (crabs STD)

Crabs are the nickname for pubic lice. As the name implies, they take the shape of a crab and exist in pubic areas. Upon close contact, these parasites can spread to others. With over-the-counter lice medication, the parasites can be eliminated. Pubic lice aresymptomisedby severe itching and the presence of live parasites in the pubic hair.

Scabies

A parasite causes scabies; it's not always transmitted via sex, but sometimes it is. Any part of the skin can be affected. Scabies is symptomised by severe itching that worsens at night, pimple-like rash on the skin, andthe appearance of tiny blisters and scales, etc.
Since it's transmitted via skin-to-skin contact, stop touching people to prevent this STI. Scabies is not prevented with condoms; however, a prescription cream can treat it. Get a sexual health check if you think you're infected.

Gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea is sexually transmitted. Untreated gonorrhoea can cause infertility in men and women, and early symptoms may not be present. This STI is symptomised by painful urination, discharge from the vagina or urethra, swollen testes, and pain in the pelvis (for women).
Sometimes, symptoms may be mild. Gonorrhoea may be mistaken for a yeast infection or UTI.

Syphilis

Symptoms of this STI can show up early, and antibiotics can cure syphilis. However, If not treated, it can cause blindness, paralysis, nerve damage or worsestill, death. Syphilis is symptomised by pain-free sore that is firm and round on the anal or genital area, swollen lymph nodes, rash on the palms, feet, soles and other body parts, loss of hair, fatigue, fever, etc.
Detecting syphilis early is good to prevent issues with several organ systems.

Chlamydia

A common STI that, if untreated, may cause infertility. Infected persons may have unclear, not specific or less apparent symptoms. Sometimes, people could be asymptomatic.

Chlamydia is symptomised by difficulty in urinating, discharge, burning or itching sensation in the genital.

The rectum and throat may be affected by chlamydia.

Oral herpes (herpes simplex one virus)

Although not considered an STI, oral herpes can be passed on via kissing or close contact. You can find it on the genitals too.

A sign of this infectious disease is cold sores on the lips. It has no cure. With medications, the seriousness and period of the outbreak can be lowered.

Upon exposure, from 1 to 3 weeks, infected persons may have swollen glands, difficulty swallowing, itching of the lips and skin around the mouth, burning sensation close to the lips or mouth area, sore throat, etc.

Symptoms may recur and are usually less chronic than the initial outbreak.

Genital herpes (herpes simplex two viruses)

The HSV-2 virus is responsible for genital herpes. It's considered an STD, which can be contacted via direct contact with the genital. Due to its asymptomatic symptoms, 87 percent of infected persons may not know they have the infection.

Genital herpes is symptomised by painful blisters filled with fluid and crust-like sores on the anus, thigh, buttocks, or genital area. People may also experience mild tingling in the hips or legs before an outbreak.

This disease can remain inside the body for life. Subsequent outbreaks are less chronic. It has no cure, but medications can control the symptoms.

Hepatitis B

An STI can be contracted via infected blood and body fluids. Sharing items like toothbrushes, razors, and needles can pass on this infection. Again, infected mothers can spread this disease to babies at birth.
I
f infected, a person may be asymptomatic. Hepatitis B is symptomised by pain in the abdomen, nausea, jaundice, and later on, cirrhosis (scarred liver) and liver cancer. It has a vaccine but no cure.

HIV/AIDS

Contracted via sexual contact, sharing of a needle, and from mother to baby, this viral infection makes the immune system weak. Infected persons may show no symptoms, but a blood test can diagnose the infection. The right treatment can counter several serious sicknesses.
HIV is symptomised by flu-like symptoms after 1 to 2 months of exposure, including headaches, fever, and enlarged lymph nodes. Other symptoms are mouth ulcers, chills, rash, etc.

AIDS is symptomised by severe night sweats, unusual and chronic tiredness, rapid loss of weight, pneumonia, loss of memory, depression, prolonged diarrhoea, anal, genital or mouth sores, etc.

Testing for HIV

This can be done at the clinic or home with FDA-approved test kits. During the window period, which is the first 3 to 4 weeks up to 6 months, people may test negative. Antibodies are undeveloped at this point, but transmission can occur.

Treatment for HIV/AIDS

HIV has no cure, but medications can reduce the viral load. Antiviral drugs are taken to stop HIV from progressing into AIDS, and different treatments can strengthen the immune system against chronic infections.

Trichomoniasis

It is caused by a parasite contracted via sexual activity. Men and women can experience this, and medications can cure this disease.
Infected men may experience slight discharge or difficulty urinating. Infected women may have difficulty urinating, yellowish-green and smelly vaginal discharge, or itching in the vaginal area.

Upon exposure, symptoms may appear between 5 to 28 days.

Chancroid

This STD comes with painful lumps around the genitals that can develop into open sores. Since it is a bacterial infection, antibiotics can cure it. Chancroid is symptomised by one or several sores having a thin red border, filled with pus on the genital area. This may break up into a painful open sore. The enlarged groin is another symptom.

Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)

LGV is a chlamydia infection triggered by another type of chlamydia. Antibiotics can cure this infection. Early symptoms of LGV show up 3 to 12 days post-exposure and include reddish soft, painless sores on or close to the anus or genitals; look-alike sores in the mouth or throat after oral sex.

Late symptoms of LGV, which appears 2 to 6 weeks post-exposure, include enlarged lymph nodes in the groin, open sores in the genitals, rectal bleeding, headache, constipation, pus-filled or bloody diarrhoea, painful urination, fever, fatigue, joint pain, etc.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

This is not an STD in particular but a complication from different infections, especially chlamydia and gonorrhoea. PID moves bacteria to the uterus and female reproductive tract –untreated PID will cause infertility. Its symptoms include fever, discharge, difficulty having sex, light bleeding, pelvic pain, etc.

Everyone sexually active can contract STDs, especially in polygamous sexual relationships. Oral sex and skin-to-skin contact can spread infections to virgins.
Use of condoms, STI screening, and being educated about infectious diseases can help avoid them. But abstinence remains the best method.

Don't be shy to discuss sexual health issues with your partner. If infected, try and open up. It may not be easy, but it's possible.

Pregnant women should test for STDs to avoid stillbirth, low birth weight, blindness, liver and nerve problem in babies. Pregnancy complications can reduce with the treatment of infections.

STDs can recur, and previous infections can return upon exposure. An untreated partner can spread the infection back and forth. Even after a single exposure, the genital herpes virus can recur. Get the right precautions. You can visit a walk in sexual health clinic London.

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