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STD ( Sexually Transmitted Diseases )

Intro

Common STDs have a variety of symptoms (if symptoms develop at all) and many different complications, including death.

  • Chlamydia
    • Most common of all STDs caused by bacteria
    • No symptoms in 80% of women and 50% of men
    • Discharge from the vagina or the penis, burning or pain during urination
    • Transmitted through vaginal, oral, or anal sexual contact
    • Ectopic pregnancy  and infertility for women   most serious complications
    • Treatable with antibiotics
  • Genital herpes: One type of herpes typically causes cold sores in the mouth, and another type causes genital sores; however, each type can cause either type of infection.
    • Recurring outbreaks of blisterlike sores on the genitals
    • Can be transmitted from a mother to her baby during birth
    • Reduction in frequency and severity of blister outbreaks with treatment but not complete elimination of infection.
  • Hepatitis (A, B, C, D)
    • Hepatitis B  most often associated with sexual contact
    • Yellowish skin and eyes, fever, achy, tired, might feel like the flu
    • Severe complications, including cirrhosis   and liver cancer
    • No cure available, remission possible with some aggressive medications
    • Immunizations available to prevent hepatitis A  and B  
  • Gonorrhea
    • Discharge from the vagina or the penis
    • Painful urination
    • Ectopic pregnancy and infertility for women most serious complications
    • Treatable with antibiotics
  • Syphilis
    • Mild symptoms, often goes undetected initially
    • Starts with painless genital ulcer that goes away on its own
    • Rash, fever , headache  , achy joints
    • Treatable with antibiotics
    • More serious complications associated with later stages of disease if undetected and untreated

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  • Chancroid
    • Not common in the United States
    • Causes painful ulcers on the genitals
    • Can be confused with syphilis or herpes
    • Treatable with antibiotics
  • HIV/AIDS
    • Spread primarily by sexual contact and from sharing IV needles
    • Can be transmitted at the time a person becomes infected with other STDs
    • Fatigue, night sweats, chills or fever lasting several weeks, headaches, cough
    • No current cure and generally fatal, with death usually occurring after 2-3 years; medication available to slow disease progression
  • Genital warts
    • Caused by a virus related to skin warts
    • Small, painless bumps in the genital or anal areas (sometimes in clusters that look like cauliflower)
    • Various treatments available (for example, freezing or painting the warts with medication)
  • Pubic lice
    • Very tiny insects living in pubic hair
    • Can be picked up from clothing or bedding
    • First notice itching in the pubic area
    • Treatable with creams, anti-lice agents, and combing
  • Scabies
    • Skin infection caused by a tiny mite
    • Highly contagious
    • Spread primarily by sexual contact or from contact with skin, infested sheets, towels, or furniture
    • Treatment with creams

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Self-Care at Home

Home treatment of STDs is not recommended because prescription medications are usually necessary.

Follow-up

Sometimes people with STDs are too embarrassed or frightened to ask for help or information. However, most STDs are easy to treat. The sooner a person seeks treatment and warns sexual partners about the disease, the less likely the disease will do permanent damage, be spread to others, or be passed to a baby.

If diagnosed with an STD, follow these guidelines:

  • Seek treatment to stop the spread of the disease.
  • Notify sexual contacts and urge them to have a checkup.
  • Take all of the prescribed medication.
  • Sometimes, follow-up tests are important.
  • Consult a doctor with specific needs and questions.
  • Avoid sexual activity while being treated for an STD.
Prevention

The best way to prevent STDs is to avoid sexual contact with others. If people decide to become sexually active, they can reduce the risk of developing an STD in these ways:

  • Be abstinent (refrain from sex entirely) or be in a monogamous relationship (both sexual partners are each others' only sexual partner).
  • Delay having sexual relations as long as possible. The younger people are when they become sexually active, the higher the lifetime risk for contracting an STD. The risk also increases with the number of sexual partners.
  • Correctly and consistently use a male latex condom. The spermicide nonoxynol-9, once thought to protect against STDs as well as to prevent pregnancy, has been proven to be ineffective for disease prevention. Do not rely on it.
  • Have regular checkups.
  • Learn the symptoms of STDs.
  • Avoid having sex during menstruation  . (HIV   is passed more easily at this time.)
  • Avoid anal intercourse or use a condom.
  • Avoid douching because it removes some of the natural protection in the vagina.
Outlook

Most of the common STDs can be cured with treatment.

  • In addition to the discomfort of the infection, some STDs can cause other, more serious, long-term problems, including infertility   and problems in newborns infected by their mothers during pregnancy such as blindness, bone deformities, mental retardation, and death.
  • HIV can only be slowed, not eliminated, and may cause death.
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