What is STD (sexually Transmitted Disease)?
Sexually Transmitted Diseases such as gonorrhea or AIDS, can arise when you have sex without a condom, either through intimate vaginal, anal or oral contact. However, the chances of infection increase when you have several partners at the same time, and these diseases affect men and women of all ages equally.
Generally, these infections cause symptoms that affect the genital organs such as pain, redness, small wounds, flow, swelling, difficulty urinating or pain during intimate contact and, to identify the correct disease, it is necessary to go to the gynecologist or urologist to perform the exams that are necessary. For the treatment, normally, the doctor indicates the use of antibiotics or antifungals in the form of a tablet or ointments, since ETS usually have a cure. However, AIDS and herpes do not have, so it is important to avoid being contaminated using a condom in all sexual relationships.
DEADLY CONSEQUENCES of STDs
The fact that many of these STDs or STIs come with no symptoms that are immediately noticeable makes them more dangerous. Early diagnosis is difficult in most cases. As a result, the disease would have gotten to a delicate stage before they are diagnosed making cure difficult. Many of the STDs are merely manageable and not treatable.
- STDs can result in death in the case of HIV. Also, they can cause many other reproductive issues like infertility. The WHO website lists these conditions as the product of STD:
- STIs like herpes and syphilis can increase the risk of HIV acquisition three-fold or more.
- Mother-to-child transmission of STIs can result in stillbirth, neonatal death, low-birth-weight and prematurity, sepsis, pneumonia, neonatal conjunctivitis, and congenital deformities. Over 900 000 pregnant women were infected with syphilis resulting in approximately 350 000 adverse birth outcomes including stillbirth in 2012 (2).
- HPV infection causes 528 000 cases of cervical cancer and 266 000 cervical cancer deaths each year.
- STIs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia are major causes of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility in women.
- The adverse effects of STDs are limitless, and they can bring a lot of pain to their victims.
STDs are caused majorly by sexual contact including oral sex, anal sex, and vaginal sex. STDs have also been known to result from blood contact with sufferers of the disease. This blood contact can be through needles and body fluids. STDs can also be transmitted through breastfeeding and childbirth.
How STDs are spread
STDs, in addition to being transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, can be transmitted:
- From mother to child through blood during pregnancy, through breastfeeding or during delivery;
- Share syringes;
- Share personal items such as towels, soaps, among others.
In some cases, very rare, the development of the disease can occur through blood transfusion.
Sexually transmitted diseases or infections are a wide range of infections that are ravaging the world. The statistics are just so alarming. Sex seems to be a normal part of life for many people, and as a result of that, diseases that come from sexual intercourse are bound to spread with higher intensity. The complexity of the condition has also resulted from the increased acceptability of homosexual activities. But whether homosexual or heterosexual, the infections from sex are many and severe, and it is essential that we learn how to prevent ourselves from these dreaded diseases.
Statistics from the World Health Organization has revealed some alarming facts and statistics in regards to the prevalence and enormity of STDs.
- According to their official website, More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide.
- Each year, there are an estimated 357 million new infections with 1 of 4 STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis.
- More than 500 million people are estimated to have genital infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV).
- More than 290 million women have a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection (1).
- The majority of STIs have no symptoms or only mild symptoms that may not be recognized as an STI.
- STIs such as HSV type 2 and syphilis can increase the risk of HIV acquisition.
- Over 900 000 pregnant women were infected with syphilis resulting in approximately 350 000 adverse birth outcomes including stillbirth in 2012 (2).
In some cases, STIs can have serious reproductive health consequences beyond the immediate impact of the infection itself (e.g., infertility or mother-to-child transmission)
Drug resistance, especially for gonorrhea, is a major threat to reducing the impact of STIs worldwide.
Types of STD
Here are the symptoms and treatments of all STDs, also called Sexually Transmitted Diseases or venereal diseases.
Chlamydia can cause symptoms such as yellowish and thick discharge, redness of the genital organs, pain in the pelvis and during intimate contact, however in many cases the disease causes no symptoms and the infection goes unnoticed.
The disease is caused by bacteria through unprotected intimate contact or by sharing sex toys.
How to treat: Normally, the treatment is done with antibiotics such as Azithromycin or Doxycycline.
Gonorrhea is a disease caused by bacteria, which can arise in both men and women, and is transmitted through unprotected intimate contact or by sharing sex toys.
The bacteria can cause pain when urinating, yellowish discharge similar to pus, vaginal bleeding outside menstruation, abdominal pain, red balls in the mouth or pain during intimate contact.
How to treat: the treatment must be done with the use of antibiotics such as Ceftriaxone and Azithromycin, in case that the treatment is not done it can affect the joints and the blood, being able to endanger the life of the individual.
3. HPV – Genital warts
This infection is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), which promotes the growth of skin lesions called genital warts that appear on both the male and female genitalia, which may have a smooth or rough texture, the color may vary depending on of the skin tone and they do not cause pain but they are contagious.
How to treat: genital warts have no cure, because the HPV virus remains dormant in the body, but there is treatment with the application of ointments such as Aldara or Wortec on warts. Crises can arise due to situations such as excessive alcohol consumption, high fatigue and stress.
4. Genital herpes
Genital herpes is a disease that is easily transmitted, it is caused by the same cold sore virus and causes small red pellets on the skin very close to each other, which contain a virus rich in yellowish virus, can also cause redness around them and itching, mainly affecting the thighs, anus and genitals. In addition to this, they can cause fever, pain when urinating and flow in the case of the woman
How to treat: the treatment must be done with medicines such as Aciclovir, Valaciclovir or Famciclovir, helping to reduce the discomfort caused by the symptoms.
Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite that causes symptoms such as greyish or yellowish-green and frothy discharge with a strong, unpleasant odor, and it can cause redness, intense itching and swelling of the genital organs.
The infection is not very common, however it can be transmitted by sharing wet towels, bathing or using a Jacuzzi and the treatment is done with antibiotics.
How to treat: usually the treatment of this infection is done with the use of antibiotics such as Metronidazole or Tioconazole for 5 to 7 days. If the treatment is not done, there is a greater chance of developing other infections, having a premature birth or developing prostatitis.
Syphilis is a disease that causes wounds and red spots on the hands and feet that do not bleed and do not cause pain, in addition to this they can also cause blindness, paralysis and heart problems. Transmission can be given, in addition to intimate contact, by blood transfusion and sharing of contaminated syringes and needles, and the first symptoms appear 3 to 12 weeks after infection.
How to treat: treatment is done with drugs such as Penicillin G or erythromycin and, when done correctly, there is a chance of being cured.
AIDS causes symptoms such as fever, sweating, headache, sensitivity to light, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea. This disease has no cure, just treatment to reduce symptoms, increasing time and quality of life.
How to treat: treatment is done with antiretroviral drugs such as Zidovudine or Lamivudine. These drugs fight the virus and strengthen the immune system, but they do not cure the disease.
8. Mycoplasma genitalium
The Mycoplasma genitalium is an STD that causes symptoms like the appearance of flow in the penis of man and bleeding outside the menstrual period in women. In addition to inflaming the urethra causing urethritis.
How to deal: The Mycoplasma genitalium can be a bit difficult to treat, however, the doctor will usually start treatment with azithromycin and, if not work, try other antibiotics such as moxifloxacin.
How to know if I have an STD
The diagnosis of an STD can be made based on the symptoms and the observation of the genital organs, being confirmed through examinations such as the pap smear and the Schiller test.
In addition to this, the doctor can indicate a blood test to make the diagnosis of the disease and indicate the most appropriate treatment.
When it is necessary to repeat the exams
When the woman or man has an STD, the doctor recommends performing medical tests every 6 months for 2 years, until the result of 3 consecutive tests is negative.
During the treatment phase it may be necessary to go to the doctor several times a month to adjust the treatment and cure the disease, if this is possible.
How to avoid an STD?
PREVENTION IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN CURE
Given the prevalence of STD and their terrible effects, it is essential to know the necessary preventive measures. Many STDs cannot be cured and can leave a stigma that can last throughout a person’s lifetime. They also make you a potential source of harm to the people you love.
Ways to Protect Your Self from STDs
Therefore, it is essential to be aware of measures that can help prevent STDs and minimize the risks of contacting any of it.
- Pay closer attention to your sex life :Abstinence is still the best means of prevention. When you abstain from sex, the likelihood of contracting an STD reduces. However, for those who cannot abstain from sex, the first safety measure is to know your sex partner and refrain from multiple partners. It is essential to be sure your sex partner at any point in time is clean. Don’t just accept their words for it since many people don’t even know if they are at risk of these deadly diseases. Therefore, the best step to take is to go for a test with your partner or ask for a verified test result to be sure of your safety. Consequently, ensure you and your partner is faithful to each other. STD status is not constant, and one test is not a lifetime guarantee unless both of you don’t have multiple partners. Ensure your sex partner is someone you can trust. If you need to have sex, put enough safety measures in place. Buy quality condoms or use quality vaginal rings as the case may be. Using good condoms and vaginal rings The risks are reduced when you use good condoms or vaginal rings. Safe sexual practices play a major role in preventing STDs. Prevention is still the best cure. The best way to avoid getting contaminated is to use a condom in all relationships, whether you have intimate vaginal, anal or oral contact, since contact with secretions or skin can transmit the disease.
- Go for a regular checkup: Every disease is better diagnosed earlier than later. Don’t wait for symptoms to develop because in most cases, there may not be significant symptoms. Make sure you register with an STD clinic where you can go for a regular checkup to be sure everything is ok.
- Avoid bloody/skin contact: STDs can be committed through blood contact with victims. Sharing of needles or clippers is discouraged. It is advisable not to share any object that can have contact with another person’s blood. As much as possible, avoid contact with any other person’s blood.
Keep yourself safe and secure so you won’t live a diseased life.
Question: What can happen if the treatment is not done?
Answer: When an STD is not treated correctly, more serious problems can arise such as uterine cancer, infertility, heart problems, meningitis, abortion or malformations in the fetus in case of pregnancy.