What are Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

Since a decade there has been a rapid rise in the spread of diseases such as Gonorrhea, Syphilis and AIDS. All these are sexually transmitted diseases and sex partners should be careful to prevent the spread of this disease. This article presents information about the cause, treatment, prevention and other aspects related to sexually transmitted diseases.

What are Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

The diseases that spread through any sort of sexual activity are termed as STD. It involves organs such as the anus, mouth and the sex organs. These diseases also spread through contact of sex organs with blood during the sexual activity.

However, the risk of disease transmission is less through contact with body fluids and tissues removed from an infected person. But, use of unsterilized needles increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. An infected pregnant woman can spread the disease to the fetus in the womb.

Causative Agents of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The microorganisms responsible for these sexually transmitted diseases are mainly viruses and bacteria. For example the disease Gonorrhea is caused by bacteria Neisseria gonorrhea, syphilis is caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum.  STDs caused by viruses includes the Herpes genitalis caused by the herpes simplex virus, HIV or AIDS caused by Human immunodeficiency virus. A minor section of the STDs are also caused by protozoa, fungi, and the parasites. STDs spread through protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis is Trichomoniasis. Disease such as the Jock itch is caused by fungi Tenia cruris. Similarly the STDs that spread through parasites are the scabies and the pubic lice.

Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

They cause a variety of diseases and in few people they lead to severe complications, even death. The bacterial STD Gonorrhea is characterized by symptoms such as the discharge from the penis or vagina, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease and pain while urinating.

However, every infected woman may not show these symptoms. But, they are the potential carriers of the microorganism and spread the disease. Other bacterial STD’s such as Chancroid Syphilis and donovanosis cause painful ulcers in the genital region.

Like bacteria, viruses causing STD may remain dormant in a person without causing any symptom. However, the carriers are at high risk of transmitting the disease. For example, AIDS caused by the Human Immunodeficiency virus may not show any symptoms even up to 10 years of time. But, the infected people can transmit the disease to their sex partners during that period.

Viral Sexually transmitted diseases such as Genital herpes are characterized by blisters on the genitals. There are no specific symptoms for HIV. But, the commonly characterized symptoms include the night sweats, fatigue, cough and fever lasting for weeks together. AIDS patients are at high risk of other diseases as they have a poorly responding immune system.

The mere presence of these symptoms cannot be regarded as the presence of the disease. The presence of the specific microorganism has to be confirmed through specific diagnostic tests.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Diagnostic Tests

To establish the presence of the disease body fluids such as blood or the fluid discharges from vagina or penis are analyzed for the presence of a specific microorganism. Few of these tests such as those used for syphilis can be completed in a short time but few take a couple of days.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatments

After establishing the presence of the disease, the infected person is recommended to take appropriate treatment.  Few of these sexually transmitted diseases cannot be treated completely. The treatment can only help to slowdown the progress of the disease. For example, Genital herpes cannot be treated completely but the drugs only help in reducing the intensity and frequency of the blister outbreaks. The physician should follow the guidelines suggested by Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some of the common antibiotics used in the treatment of STD’s include the azithromycin, erythromycin, ofloxacin, ciprofloxacin etc. The dosage requirement and the particular drug combination used for treatment vary with the disease and its severity.

No home Treatment

Home remedies are strictly not recommended for sexually transmitted diseases. The infected persons should visit the venereal or STD disease specialist and get the appropriate treatment.

The infected person should contact a physician and start taking the required medications to prevent further damage.

He/she should also inform the sexual partners to get them checked. The prescribed medications should be taken for the time period suggested by the physician even though the symptoms subside. After completion of the treatment, the patient should undergo follow-up tests to confirm the complete cure of the disease. Necessary measures should be taken to prevent re-infection.

No Sexual Activity during Treatment

The infected persons should stay away from sexual activity during the treatment period to prevent the spread of the disease to others and also to prevent attack of new STD’s from infected partners. Even after the treatment certain precautionary measures such as use of condoms and avoiding multiple sex partners should be strictly followed to prevent re-infection. People infected with HIV should refrain from sexual activity for the rest of the life as currently there is no cure for it.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Preventive Measures

Unlike the common disease such as the cold or other viral and bacterial infections it is very easy to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

Few preventive measures include:

  • Involve in sexual activity with only one sex partner.
  • Undergo regular checkup even in the absence of symptoms.
  • Avoid sexual activity at the very young age.

Do not rely on condoms and involve in sex with multiple partners. The condoms are not 100% effective in preventing the sexually transmitted diseases.

Take the required vaccines to prevent STD such as hepatitis and HPV.

Parents should educate their young ones on STD to protect them from having early sex.

Activities such as douching which remove the natural protection in the vaginal region should be avoided.For further information on STD you can contact your local health department, family planning associations or the center for disease control and prevention. You can also obtain information on sexually transmitted diseases by surfing over the internet and few medical journals publish articles regularly on STD to promote awareness among the people.

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