S-e-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that pass from one person to another through s-e-xual contact.
They are also known as s-e-xually transmitted infections (STIs) or venereal diseases (VD).
Some STDs can spread through the use of unsterilized drug needles, from mother to infant during childbirth or breast-feeding, and blood transfusions.
The genital areas are generally moist and warm environments, ideal for the growth of yeasts, viruses, and bacteria.
People can transmit microorganisms that inhabit the skin or mucous membranes of the genitals. Infectious organisms can also move between people in semen, v@ginal secretions, or blood during s-e-xual intercourse.
Individuals pass on STDs more easily when they are not using contraceptive devices, such as condoms, dams, and sanitizing s-ex toys.
Some infections can transmit through s-e-xual contact but are not classed as STDs. For example, meningitis can be passed on during s-e-xual contact, but people can acquire a meningitis infection for other reasons. It is therefore not classed as an STD.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are more than 1 million new STDs acquired each day globally.
People between the ages of 15 and 24 years acquire half of all new STDs, and 1 in 4 s-exually active adolescent females has an STD. However, STD rates among seniors are increasing.
The following sections explain the most common STD’s.
Chlamydia is an STD caused by Chlamydia trachomatis (C. trachomatis). This bacterium only infects humans. Chlamydia is the most common infectious cause of genital and eye diseases globally. It is also the most common bacterial STD.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2015, nearly 3 percent of girls aged 15 to 19 years had chlamydia.
Women with chlamydia do not usually show symptoms. Any symptoms are usually non-specific and may include:
a change in vaginal discharge
mild lower abdominal pain
If a person does not receive treatment for chlamydia, it may lead to the following symptoms:
painful s-e-xual intercourse, either intermittently or every time
bleeding between periods
Chancroid is also known as soft chancre and ulcus molle. It is a bacterial infection caused by called streptobacillus Haemophilus ducreyi. The infection causes painful sores on the genitals and is only spread through s-e-xual contact.
This infection is more common in developing nations, especially among commercial s-e-x workers and some lower socioeconomic groups. This is due to the lack of access to healthcare services, the stigma attached to seeking help, a lack of sufficient sexual health education, and other factors.
In 2015, just 11 cases of chancroid were reported in the United States. Chancroid increases the risk of contracting HIV, and HIV increases the risk of contracting chancroid.
Within 1 day to 2 weeks of acquiring the infection, the patient develops a bump that turns into an ulcer within a day. The ulcer can be from 1/8 of an inch to 2 inches across. It will be very painful and may have well-defined, undermined borders and a yellowish-gray material at its base.
If the base of the ulcer is grazed, it will typically bleed. In some cases, the lymph nodes swell and become painful.
Women often have at least four ulcers, while men usually have just one. Males tend to have fewer and less severe symptoms. The ulcers typically appear at the groove at the back of the glans penis in uncircumcised males, or, in females, on the labia minora or fourchette.
Chancroid is treated with a 7-day course of erythromycin, a single oral dose of azithromycin, or a single dose of ceftriaxone.
Crabs, or pubic lice
Pubic lice manifestations are primarily spread through s-e-xual contact. Pets do not play any part in the transmission of human lice.
The lice attach to the pubic hair, and may also be sometimes found in the armpits, mustache, beard, eyelashes, and eyebrows. They feed on human blood.
The common term “crabs” comes from the crab-like appearance of the lice.
This STD is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The virus affects the skin, cervix, genitals, and some other parts of the body. There are two types:
HSV-1, also known as herpes type 1
HSV-2, also known as herpes type 2
Herpes is a chronic condition. A significant number of individuals with herpes never show symptoms and do not know about their herpes status.
HSV is easily transmissible from human to human through direct contact. Most commonly, transmission of type 2 HSV occurs through v@ginal, oral, or anal s-e-x. Type 1 is more commonly transmitted from shared straws, utensils, and surfaces.
In most cases, the virus remains dormant after entering the human body and shows no symptoms.
The symptoms associated with genital herpes, if they do occur, may include:
blisters and ulceration on the cervix
pain on urinating
generally feeling unwell
cold sores around the mouth in type 1 HSV
Also, red blisters may occur on the external genital area, rectum, thighs, and buttocks. These can be painful, especially if they burst and leave ulcers.
You may also like…The best foods to eat and stay well this winter
Winter can be tough when it comes to your health and well-being but it doesn’t have to be like that. With the right foods, you can survive winter with your health intact. All we have to do is eat the right foods so we can stay well.
Dietitian, nutritionist and spokesperson of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Isabel Maples has some advice and tips for the best foods eat to stay well this season…Read more here