Wednesday, May 2, 2012


April is STD awareness month. Today's health and beauty buzz is on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). We tell our kids not to drink and drive, not to text and drive, not to drive and chat on their phones, but we also need to tell them not to have unprotected sex. According to the American Social Health organization, one out of four teens becomes infected each year with an STD. 19 million people are thought to be infected with an STD every year. Almost half of new infections are amongst people ages 15 to 24 years of age.  There are more than 20 types of STDs
Some STDs cause symptoms and others do not. STDs can cause serious health problems later in life such as cancer as well as infertility.
Most STDs affect both men and women but in most cases, the health problems can be more severe for women. An STD in a pregnant women can cause serious harm to the baby.
Types of STDs:-
These are amongst the most common of the STDs
  • Genital herpes: Genital herpes is the most common viral infection. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus. One in 6 people are infected with herpes.  Symptoms may include blisters, sores, ulcers and pain urinating. For the most part, there are usually no symptoms. Once you get herpes there is no cure and it is easily transmitted. Genital herpes increases HIV risk.
  • The HPV virus- The human papilloma virus is a very common type of STD.  Most people have no symptoms, although some may develop warts in the genital region. HPV can lead to cervical, vaginal, anal, penile and oral cancer. HPV usually clears on it's own and is tested for during a pap smear. The HPV vaccine, Gardasil is available and given in a series of 3 shots over 6 months. It is recommended for girls ages 9 through 26. It should ideally be given before girls become sexually active.
  • Chlamydia- This is the most common bacterial infection in the United States.  Symptoms may include pain whilst urinating, discharge from the vagina and penis. Women may have abdominal pain. Most people have no symptoms. Chlamydia can cause PID (pelvic inflammatory disease). This can affect the ability to fall pregnant and increase the risk of getting HIV. Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. Both partners need to be treated.
  • Gonorrhea-Gonorrhea is the 2nd most common bacteria infection.  Gonorrhea symptoms are the same as for Chlamydia and most people will show no symptoms at all. Untreated infection can damage joints, heart and the brain. Gonorrhea increases your risk of contracting HIV. Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics and both partners need to be treated.
  • Trichomonas-Trichomonas is a very common infection caused by a parasite. Symptoms may include itching, discharge, pain urinating and pain during sex. In most cases there are no symptoms. Antibiotics are given to treat trichomonas and need to be taken by both partners.
  • HIV/Aids- HIV is a virus which destroys the immune system reducing your ability to fight infection. If untreated will develop into Aids which is fatal. HIV is contracted through sex and contact with infected blood. Drug users are at high risk from contracting HIV from needles. Anal sex is extremely risky and oral sex is thought to be unsafe. Symptoms include flu like symptoms such as fever and aches as well as fatigue. Treatments include antiretroviral drugs for HIV.
  • Syphilis- This is a bacterial infection contracted through contact with sores or infected areas in the genitals, near the genitals or in the mouth. Syphilis can be contracted through oral and anal sex and contact with the infected skin. Symptoms include a sore and then later flu like symptoms and a rash. Treatment with antibiotics for both partners is essential.  Untreated syphilis will result in brain and heart damage, blindness and death.
  • Hepatitis B- This is a serious viral infection which affects the liver. It is transmitted through blood, saliva and body fluids. It can also be transmitted through anal and oral sex. Symptoms may include nausea, yellow skin and eyes, weakness and loss of appetite. Hepatitis B is treatable, but the medication is very expensive and not always successful in all cases. The hepatitis B vaccine is very effective and highly recommended.
  • Hepatitis C- (HCV) is a serious viral infection affecting the liver.  85% of infected people will fail to eliminate the virus and will become chronically infected.  Hepatitis C is contracted through blood, saliva and body fluids. Most common transmission is through blood. Untreated Hepatitis C may lead to liver cancer or liver damage requiring a liver transplant. It is the same family of viruses that cause yellow and dengue fever. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. 
All STDs are spread during vaginal, oral and anal sex as well as genital touching.
Having an STD puts you at greater risk for contracting HIV. STDs often have no symptoms. 80% of infected people do not even know that they are infected.

There is no one test for all STDs.
Tests may include
  • Pelvic and physical exam.
  • Blood sample.
  • Urine sample.
  • Fluid or tissue sample.                              
                                                              Prevention of STDs
                                                              1. Being monogamous.
                                                              2. Abstinence.
                                                              3. Using condoms from start to finish.
                                                              4. Avoid using drugs.
Research on the treatment as well as prevention of STDs is a health priority. One study is testing a herpes vaccine for women. Topical microbicides could play a major role in protecting women, but so far they have been difficult to design. They are gels or creams that would be put into the vagina to kill the STD before it could infect. Scientists are developing new antibiotics to treat drug resistant infections which are becoming more prevalent.

*Do not self diagnose. Visit your doctor immediately if you think you maybe infected.

Stay healthy, happy and safe.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
This policy is subject to change at any time.

No comments:

Post a Comment