With various new kinds of diseases breaking out into the world every day, it is very important that we do our very best to prevent ourselves from the prevailing diseases so that our bodies can prepare to fight against the new ones.
It is a known fact that lack of awareness regarding Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) is one of the leading causes of their spread. So, with the hope of reducing their spread, we will discuss some of the commonly contracted STDs in detail below.
What are STDs?
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are spread through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, or oral sex. There are various types of STDs, and each one has its own set of symptoms and treatment options.
Some of the most common STDs include chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV). These infections can cause a variety of symptoms, including genital sores, discharge, pain during sex, and itching or burning in the genital area.
However, many people with STDs do not experience any symptoms at all, which can make it difficult to know if they are infected.
STDs can have serious health consequences if left untreated, including infertility, chronic pain, and an increased risk of HIV transmission. Some STDs can also cause cancer.
What are the most commonly contracted STDs? And how do I deal with them?
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common STD caused by a virus that infects the skin and mucous membranes of the body, including the genitals.
Most people with HPV do not experience any symptoms, which is why it is often referred to as a “silent” infection. However, some strains of HPV can cause genital warts, which can be uncomfortable or even painful. In addition, some strains of HPV can lead to certain types of cancer, including cervical, anal, penile, vulvar, and oropharyngeal cancer. If left untreated, HPV can lead to serious health consequences, including cancer.
The best way to prevent HPV is to get vaccinated. The HPV vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent HPV infection and is recommended for both males and females. The vaccine is most effective when given before a person becomes sexually active, but it can still be given to adults who have not yet been infected with HPV.
Chlamydia is an STD caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. It is one of the most common STDs in India, with a high prevalence rate among sexually active young adults. It can be transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the infection. Chlamydia often has no symptoms but can cause rectal pain, discharge, and bleeding.
Pregnant women with chlamydia can give the infection to their baby during delivery, causing an eye infection, pneumonia, and preterm delivery.
Laboratory tests can diagnose chlamydia, and it can be cured with proper treatment. It is important to complete the medicine and wait until treatment is done before having sex again.
Gonorrhoea is an STD caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It can infect both men and women and primarily affects the genital tract, rectum, or throat. In India, gonorrhoea is a common STD.
Symptoms may be mild or severe or may not be present at all. Men may experience painful urination, pus-like discharge from the penis, and pain or swelling in one testicle. Women may experience increased vaginal discharge, painful urination, and vaginal bleeding between periods. If left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to serious health complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), internal abscesses, chronic pelvic pain, epididymitis, infertility, or an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. Gonorrhoea in newborns can cause blindness, joint infection, or a life-threatening blood infection. Additionally, untreated gonorrhea can increase the risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV.
Gonorrhoea is often asymptomatic, which can contribute to its spread. It is also important for pregnant women to get tested and treated for gonorrhea to prevent transmission to the baby during childbirth.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum that is primarily spread through sexual contact. It can also be transmitted from mother to baby and through nonsexual contact and blood transfer.
Syphilis progresses through four stages and can affect many organ systems, including the heart, if left untreated. Symptoms depend on the stage of the disease, which progresses through primary, secondary, latent, and late or tertiary stages. The primary symptom is a solitary non-tender genital chancre (it appears as a firm and painless lesion, and it oozes fluid that contains syphilis bacteria).
Other symptoms may include painless sores on the genitals, mouth, and anus, swollen lymph nodes, rash, fever, and fatigue. If left untreated, the bacteria can cause severe infections that can be fatal and can also lead to acquiring HIV. Congenital syphilis can result in abnormalities in newborns, such as blindness, deafness, joint swelling, and fever.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a common STD that spreads via skin-to-skin contact and causes painful blisters or ulcers. There are two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV-1, which causes oral herpes, and HSV-2, which causes genital herpes. Most people have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, but recurrent symptoms can be distressing.
The symptoms of Herpes can vary but often include painful blisters or sores that can take several days to heal. These sores can appear on the genitals, mouth, or anus and can be accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, and body aches.
If left untreated, Herpes can have serious health consequences. Herpes encephalitis is a severe and fatal infection caused by HSV-1. The mortality rate is greater than 70% if untreated. Rare complications of HSV-2 include meningoencephalitis (brain infection). Therefore, education and access to healthcare are crucial for the prevention and treatment of Herpes.
The best way to prevent STDs is to practice safe sex, including using condoms and getting regular STD testing. It is also important to talk openly with sexual partners about STDs and to seek medical treatment if you suspect you have an STD.
If you experience any discomfort, don’t delay consulting your doctor. Receiving the proper medical treatment and care is the only way to steer clear of any medical complications. It may seem like a small issue, but in reality, it may turn out to be a symptom of a serious illness.
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