Sexually Transmitted Diseases: The Lowdown on STDs

Sexually Transmitted Diseases STD’s can strike anyone, and they are not pleasant. The UK’s Health Protection Agency reports that STDs are on the increase, especially in men and women aged 16 to 24. If you are sexually promiscuous, do not like wearing condoms, or prefer to be a non-monogamous relationship, it is better to be aware about the signs and symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, as some can cause infertility.

The Four Common STDs

  • Gonorrhea: The bacterium, neisseria gonorrhea, known to cause this STD can infect the urethra, cervix, throat and anus. Over sixty million cases of gonorrhea are reported each year, many of which strike females. It is treatable if caught in the early stages, but an undiagnosed case of gonorrhea can lead to meningitis, infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Herpes Simplex Viruses: Oral herpes results from the HSV-1 virus, and infectious genitals sores arise from the HSV-2 herpes virus.
  • Chlamydia: This is the most common of STDs, and also the most dangerous, since many of its symptoms go undetected. An untreated case of Chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility, but if caught early, it can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Syphilis: Treponema pallidium is the bacterium that causes syphilis. It is readily caught through sexual contact.

The Symptoms of STDs

  • Gonorrhea: Irritation and/or discharge from the anus, yellow or white discharge from the penis, or a sensation of burning during urination.

  • Herpes Simplex Virus: The symptoms can be so mild in some individuals it goes undetected. The herpes virus can live in the body and easily spread to others, even without you experiencing an outbreak. Symptoms include itching sensations in the genital and anal region, backache, headaches, fever and pain during urination.

  • Syphilis: Symptoms may take three months to manifest, but ulcers often appear during a very infectious stage. Areas of infection often include the penis in men and the cervix and vulva in women. If the first stage of infection is left untreated, it could lead to flu-like illness, patchy hair loss and white patches appearing over the body.
  • Chlamydia: This STD causes a burning sensation during urination, discomfort after intercourse, testicle pain, abdominal pain, and frequent urination.

How Are STDs Tested?

A genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic can test and treat your STD. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are treated through a urine sample for women, but a swab taken from inside the penis is needed to test men. To screen syphilis, a blood sample is taken. If there are genitals sores, a swab sample may also be taken. The herpes virus is difficult to distinguish, especially if the symptoms are non-existent, but a blood sample could detect this virus.

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