What Should You Know About Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)?

You will be reading one term “sexually transmitted diseases” or STDs lately. It is a term, which is given to an infection that is transmitted from a person to another person via a sexual contact.

A sexual contact doesn’t mean the touch of a hand. It includes vaginal, anal or oral passage. An STD is sometimes called STI, which stands for sexually transmitted infection and both these mean the same thing. STDs and STIs are also known as venereal diseases (VD).

Sexually transmitted diseases are so common, yet people know less about them. You might understand STDs wrong too. This article is a complete guide on what are STDs, how common they are, how can you get them and what are the ways to prevent them.

What are sexually transmitted diseases ( STDs)?

Sexually transmitted diseases or STDs are infections, which are spread when you get in sexual contact with anyone. It can affect any gender and be transmitted to the partner too.

Most of the sexually transmitted diseases are asymptomatic. Only on high infection stages, they are more likely to show signs and symptoms such as discharge, ulcers, and pain.

There are some pathogens involved with causing sexually transmitted diseases. They can be virus, bacteria, and parasites. Common sexually transmitted infections include herpes, genital warts, HIV, etc. One typical example of parasitic sexually transmitted diseases is trichomoniasis.

How are STDs transmitted?

You now understand that sexually transmitted diseases are caused by sexual contact. But to your surprise that is not the only way to get infected. Depending on the infection, there are various method for transmission of STDs, such as,

·      Contaminated needles

·      Contaminated razors

·      Breastfeeding

·      Skin contact which is not sexual

·      Shared bed

·      Shared towels

·      Public toilets

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What are the typical symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases?

Many of the diseases show absolutely no sign, but at later stages, they show up a few effects that can tell you if you are developing an STD in your body or not. Some of these signs are as follows.

·       Body rashes

·       Pelvic pain

·       Painful intercourse

·       Vaginal discharge

·       Penile discharge

·       Painful urination

·       Sores

·       Bumps

·       Blisters

·       Warts

It may take several years for an STD to develop and another few years to show up like a disease. Sometimes even the patients have no idea that they are suffering from a sexually transmitted disease.

It is harmful in a way that they transmit it to their partners without even knowing what are they doing. There are higher chances that they have also received it from a person who was not aware of it.

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What are the consequences of STDs?

Sexually transmitted diseases, if not treated can cause so many problems. A few types of diseases such as HIV and syphilis are so destructive that they have severe outcomes for future.

Gonorrhea and chlamydia are common STDs but a long-term untreated period can cause extremely destructive problems for the patient’s body. Some of these effects include the following.

·       Infertility

·       Cancer

·       Internal inflammation

·       Urinary tract infections

·       Death

What are some common STDs?

Following are some common sexually transmitted infections that you should know.

  • Herpes

Herpes or herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a common disease which is transmitted through sexual contact. There are two further types of it, and both are sexually transmitted diseases. HSV-1 is oral herpes, and HSV-2 is genital herpes.

There is no treatment option for herpes virus. All the medicines that you may be given will be reliving the condition, but they don’t kill the virus. HSV is asymptomatic, and in that case, you can also transmit it to everyone. It’s not that you have to be having the infection to spread it.

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  • Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a bacterial STD, which is also sometimes called “the clap.” Like other STDs, it even doesn’t have a symptom. You may occasionally feel an itch around the genitals. Rarely there is a yellow discharge too.

Gonorrhea can cause infertility. In pregnant women, it can cause premature labor pains and severe health problems in the newborn babies. Being a bacterial strain, it is treatable with medicines.

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  • Chlamydia

Chlamydia is the most highly occurring STD in the whole world these days. It also doesn’t have a symptom, but there might be casual signs, i.e., itching, discharge, etc. In untreated cases, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in the patient.

It can sometimes lead to infertility. In pregnant women, it can cause health problems as well. It is easily treatable with antibiotic courses.

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  • Syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection, which is also asymptomatic. It appears like a sore but is different than canker sore. After prolonged exposure, it may show up signs like a rash, fever, pain, fatigue, etc.

Untreated syphilis can cause peripheral nerve damage and related problems of the brain. In extreme cases, it can even cause death. It is treatable in early stages through antibiotic medicines.

  • HPV

HPV or Human papillomavirus is one common sexually transmitted infection. It can cause warts and cancer, which makes it a lethal disease. There is no way to cure HPV. But you can get a vaccine for it as a part of protective measures.

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How to diagnose STDs?

Diagnosing a sexually transmitted disease is difficult. There are no symptoms and signs, which tell you before time if an infection is developing. If you go to the doctor and ask for a screening test, the doctor will recommend a urine or blood test.

Also, swab samples of your private parts are also used to check the disease especially the virus. All these tests can be done at the doctor’s office or a diagnostic laboratory.

How do we treat STDs?

The treatment options for sexually transmitted diseases depend upon which one of them you are having. Also, it is necessary for you and your partner, both to receive medical assistance so that you can continue your relationship even after it.

If only one of you will get the treatment and the other one is having an untreated or undiagnosed STD, there are high chances that you will get the infection again. The treatment options for STDs depend upon their type. For example,

  • STDs caused by bacteria

Many sexually transmitted diseases are due to bacterial strains. To treat them, the antibiotics work perfectly. You should complete the complete course of antibiotics as the doctor has recommended to you do.

  • STDs caused by virus

Like bacterial, virus is a particular type of pathogens. But there are no antiviral medicines available. The treatment option for viral STDs is those, which ease the signs and symptoms of the disease.

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Can we prevent the risk of sexually transmitted infections?

The only way to avoid a sexually transmitted infection is not to have sex. That sounds an obvious solution, but that is not a viable option. Specific ways make your sexual relationship safer from the risks of potential STDs.

Condoms are the first protection, which helps against various types of STDs. Not only a contraceptive, but condoms are also protective for the body against bacteria, virus, and protozoan sexually transmitted infections. Using latex condoms are also helpful in this regard.

There are some hormonal-based contraceptive options, which include medicines and ring treatment. These are only a way to control birth, and they have no role in protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Even these intrauterine devices can also not prevent you from STDs.

It is also necessary that you don’t switch between partners. If you have a new partner, it is required to discuss the sexual history and any previous experience with an STD. Also, make it a regular part of your check up to check against the STDs.

Only your care and time to time screening tests can tell you if you are developing an STD even before they show a symptom. Hepatitis and HIV have their vaccines available. It is better if you consider them for yourself.

Sources

  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/in-depth/std-symptoms/art-20047081
  • https://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm
  • https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/default.htm
  • http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/std.html