Sexually Transmitted Diseases
What is it?
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are diseases that can be transmitted through sexual contact with another person. They can affect both men and women. There are often no symptoms.
The best way to protect yourself against STDs is to limit your number of sexual partners. Condoms, when used properly, have been shown to be about 99% effective against the transmission of STDs. Using a dental dam or cellophane wrap when performing oral sex on a woman, while commonly suggested, has not been shown conclusively to protect against the spread of STDs as well as the condom does.
STDs are usually lumped into one big group of nasty diseases, and little is said about each STD individually. Here we provide an explanation of the most common STDs.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that causes urethritis (inflammation of the urethra causing burning, pain, and discharge) in men and PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) in women. PID can lead to infertility. Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics.
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that causes urethritis in men and PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) in women. PID can lead to infertility. Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics.
Herpes is a viral infection that causes painful blisters to appear on the lips or the genitals. When the blisters are present, the virus can be spread to others. There is no cure for Herpes, but the symptoms can be treated.
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome. HIV can reside in the body for several years without any symptoms. Once AIDS develops, the health of the patient continually declines until death. There are no cures for HIV or AIDS.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a viral infection that causes warts on the external and internal genital area. In women, it can cause abnormal Pap test results and can lead to cervical cancer. The warts can be removed, but there is no cure for the virus.
Syphilis is an infection whose first sign is a painless sore on the genitals that may go away. However, the infection remains even after the sore is gone. Syphilis can lead to long term disability and systemic infection such as a low-grade fever, headache, malaise, sore throat, and a rash on the palm of the hands and soles of the feet. It can be treated with antibiotics.
Trichomonas is an infection caused by the overgrowth of an organism in the vagina. This causes a frothy discharge and itching. It is treated with a drug called metronidazole.