SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that you can get from having sex with someone who has the infection. The causes of STDs are bacteria, parasites and viruses. There are more than 20 types of STDs, including
- Genital herpes
Most STDs affect both men and women, but in many cases the health problems they cause can be more severe for women. If a pregnant woman has an STD, it can cause serious health problems for the baby.
SYMPTOMS OF SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES
- Changes in Urination
- Unusual Discharge from the Penis
- Burning or Itching in the Vaginal Area
- Pain during Sex
- Abnormal Vaginal Discharge or Bleeding
- Bumps or Sores
- Pain in the Pelvic or Abdominal Region
- Weight loss
TREATMENT OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES
Treatment for secually transmitted diseases epends on the severity of symptoms.
STIs caused by bacteria are generally easier to treat. Viral infections can be managed but not always cured. If you’re pregnant and have an STI, prompt treatment can prevent or reduce the risk of infection of your baby. Treatment usually consists of one of the following, depending on the infection:
- Antibiotics, often in a single dose, can cure many sexually transmitted bacterial and parasitic infections, including gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. Typically, you’ll be treated for gonorrhea and chlamydia at the same time because the two infections often appear together. Once you start antibiotic treatment, it’s crucial to follow through. If you don’t think you’ll be able to take medication as prescribed, tell your doctor. A shorter, simpler treatment regimen may be available. In addition, it’s important to abstain from sex until you’ve completed treatment and any sores have healed.
- Antiviral drugs have fewer herpes recurrences if you take daily suppressive therapy with a prescription antiviral drug. Antiviral drugs lessen the risk of infection, but it’s still possible to give your partner herpes. Antiviral drugs can keep HIV infection in check for many years. But the virus persists and can still be transmitted, though the risk is lower. The sooner you start treatment, the more effective it is. Once you start treatment — if you take your medications exactly as directed — it’s possible to lower your virus count to nearly undetectable levels.
DIAGNOSING SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES
- Physical examination: Physical examination, including pelvic exam, and thorough medical history, plus one or more of the following blood tests: VDRL (Venereal Disease Research Laboratory) blood test or RPR (Rapid Plasma Reagin) blood test, (FTA-ABS) Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody-Absorption antibody blood test or (TPHA) T. pallidum hemagglutination assay, to confirm a positive finding on the VDRL or RPR test.
- Blood tests: Blood tests can confirm the diagnosis of HIV or later stages of syphilis.
- Urine test: Some STIs can be confirmed with a urine sample.
- Fluid samples: If you have active genital sores, testing fluid and samples from the sores may be done to diagnose the type of infection. Laboratory tests of material from a genital sore or discharge are used to diagnose some STIs.