Syphilis – An Enduring STD

Syphilis is an STD or sexually transmitted disease that can be passed sexually through the mouth, vagina, lips, anus, penis, and urethra.

Syphilis can cause serious health problems when it is untreated.


Symptoms can be mild or there would be none which could make an infected person unaware of it.

There are 3 stages of syphilis which could show a latent stage where the infected person will be symptom-free for a long period of time.

There are different symptoms for every stage and they may include:

Primary stage

One or a few painless chancre, which is a wet ulcer or a sore, will appear after 3 weeks or 90 days after infection. The sores or chancres will appear in the anus, vagina, breasts, the cervix, mouth, and lips that go away after 3-6 weeks even without treatment. The infected person will also experience swollen glands at this stage.

Secondary stage

After the sores disappear, other symptoms will start to appear if the infection is untreated. The symptoms that show in this phase will come and go for two years. Rashes growing on the soles of the feet or palms of the hand will last for 2-6 weeks. The infected person will also have other symptoms such as muscle pains, low-grade fever, headache, fatigue, swollen glands, sore throat, weight loss, and hair loss.

Late stage

If syphilis remains untreated during the first two stages, it will progress to the late stage which causes serious health problems and damage to the brain, nervous system, heart, and other major organs resulting in death. Reaching this stage would mean 20 years has passed since the time when the infection happened.


The first two stages of syphilis are highly treatable. An antibiotic regimen usually clears up the infection. Your sexual partner/s should have to be informed to make them take an STD test and be treated if found to be positive for infection.

The late phase of syphilis can still be treated, but the damage that has been done to the major organs of the body cannot be undone. The best way to avoid this is to have regular testing leading to an earlier treatment which could prevent future serious health problems.


Contact with the syphilis sores is the way the infection is spread. Direct contact takes the form of:

  • Kissing (not very common)
  • Anal and vaginal intercourse
  • Oral sex

The early stages of the infection are the highly contagious phase of the disease. The liquid from the chancres or ulcers that oozes fluid is very virulent. The latent stage of the disease is also the non-infectious stage. Latent stage untreated syphilis can lie dormant for many years or for a person’s lifetime, but could be transmitted to a fetus from an infected mother.


Syphilis can be prevented by abstaining from sex.

If you like to engage in anal or vaginal intercourse, just remember to use latex or female condoms to all sexual activity. Condoms or latex should also be used when performing oral sex. This safe sex practice lowers your risk of acquiring the infection.

Recognize the Signs of HIV

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV is a lentivirus that when left untreated will gradually process to AIDS. The process of the HIV virus is to affect the immune system by destroying the white blood cells which are responsible to ward off diseases and infections in the human body. Doctors are agreed that even with the appearance of symptoms, an HIV test will be the only way an individual can get confirmation if he or she is infected or not.

Here is a list of early onset symptoms that may or may not make an appearance:

An extreme feeling of tiredness or fatigue that has no probable cause or explanation would be an early onset indication. While it is true that a lot of diseases could also cause fatigue, the fatigue that is present in an HIV-infected person will have the following characteristic:

There are times that we feel sleepy at the start or middle of the day maybe because we were not able to get a good night’s sleep. For an HIV-infected person, the sleepy feeling will be felt throughout the day even after a restful and uninterrupted sleep the night before. The energy level is also way down which forces an infected individual to take frequent naps. The fatigue that is felt is not only for a day but continues for weeks and even a month.

Excessive night sweats accompanied by fever is another sign. This usually happens during the primary or acute stage of an HIV infection. Many infected people may not feel this, but most of them will experience this around two to four weeks from infection.

Other than night sweats and fever, there will be manifestations of flu-like symptoms such as chills, swollen lymph nodes and glands in the genital area, neck, and armpits, a sore throat, headache, muscle aches and pains, and nausea. Again, it has to be stated that the flu-like symptoms can also be manifestations from other infections that would not necessarily be an HIV virus disease.

There will be some instances of diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. This will result in weight loss that is one of the symptoms of either the first phase or last phase of an HIV infection. They can also be symptoms of other illnesses or infection.

Growth of mouth and genital ulcers are some of the early signs of an HIV infection. Most of the time these ulcers are painless but would still be a cause for concern.

The second phase of an HIV disease is the latency period where symptoms disappear even when nothing has been done. The latency stage covers a long period where the infected individual will look and feel healthy. It is also the most dangerous period for spreading the infection especially when the infected individual does not get an HIV test. This will make the infected person unaware that he or she has the HIV infection as they feel healthy and robust and think that the period of sickness that happened was only a flu infection.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases – Understanding STD

Any type of sexual contact that has an infection that can be passed from one person to another is termed as a sexually transmitted disease. It is important to note that sexual contact would not only mean sexual intercourse through the anus or the vagina. It also covers the sharing of sex toys, kissing, and genital-oral contact. STDs are not modern diseases but has been around for years. It was only in 1984 that HIV/AIDS was recognized.

Most STDs are curable but some are not treatable at all such as the viral infections of hepatitis B and C, HPV, and the dreaded HIV. Gonorrhea, used to be a highly treatable STD, has evolved some strains that have become resistant to older created antibiotics. This is the reason why awareness and knowledge about STDS can be the best prevention against the infection.

What Are Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)?

STDs/STIs are sexually transmitted diseases/infections are otherwise known as venereal diseases which are transmitted from one person to another through sexual intercourse that include genital contact. The spread of these infections is through oral, vaginal, and anal sex. There is a range of various symptoms involved in 25 different STDs/STIs.

STD or sexually transmitted disease has another name which is STI or sexually transmitted infection. STI is now the preferred term used because some STDs can infect but not cause any disease. Take the case of Chlamydia. One can get infected with Chlamydia yet do not show any signs and symptoms associated with the disease. When there is the absence of symptoms, people believe that they do not have a disease even when there is the presence of an infection that needs to be treated.

Sometimes the only way you will be able to know you have an STD would be the manifestation of symptoms or your sexual partner tells you that you are infected because he or she has been diagnosed with STD. The absence of symptoms still makes an infected person infectious. Some STDs can be passed by an infected mother to her unborn child.

If you suspect that you may have been exposed to an STD, you should see a doctor. Most STDs are curable, but it can also bring serious medical conditions if left untreated.

Here are some of the most common genital diseases and STDs:


Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that is bacterial in nature and one of the most reported. It infects the cervix in women, and the eyes, urethra, and rectum of both sexes. An infected person can pass the infection through sexual intercourse and genital contact. Infertility problems will be one of the serious health conditions if left untreated for a long time.

Genital warts

Some sub-types of HPV or human papilloma virus cause genital warts. They appear in the genital area looking like lumps shaped like a cauliflower which could be fleshy and large or small bumps colored flesh or white. They are hard to spot as they are painless. Having a wart on the cervix may make a woman experience colored discharges from the vagina or may have some slight bleeding.


Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease that is popularly called in slang language as ‘the clap’. It can infect the throat, urethra, anus, cervix, and rectum. It may not have any symptoms but if it does, it appears between 1 to 14 days after infection and may include:

  • If the rectum is infected there will be discharges or irritation from the anus
  • Painful urination
  • Changes in the discharges from the vagina
  • A yellow or white discharge from the penis


Inflammation of the liver due to viral infections is called hepatitis. There are several kinds of hepatitis virus that have been named after the alphabet, from A to G. The most common types are A, B, and C. Prolonged and excessive use of alcohol or usage of certain drugs and medications can lead to hepatitis but the common infection comes from a virus.

There are more varieties of STDs and learning more about them could make you see ways and means to prevent acquiring them. Prevention is still the best choice against a cure.

A Few Facts About Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is the shortened name for human Papillomavirus which consists of more than 150 virus’ strains. A number is given to each HPV virus to identify its type and named after the papillomas or warts that are caused by some HPV types. There are some HPV types that can cause cervical cancer and other cancers. Infection of the genital areas of men and women are caused by more than 40 types of HPV. However, there are available vaccines that can protect against infection from the most common HPV types.

Close skin-to-skin contact can transmit HPV. Someone infected with the virus can infect you with HPV through oral, vaginal, and anal sex. It is through anal or vaginal sex that the infection gets commonly spread. The most common STI or sexually transmitted infection is HPV. It is so common that almost every sexually active individual has been infected with it even when they were unaware of the infection.

HPV can affect the moist membranes and skin of the body including

  • The anus
  • The lining of the throat and mouth
  • The vagina
  • The vulva
  • The cervix

Changes in the cells in the lining of the throat and mouth and of the cervix can be developed by some HPV types. These are classified as HPVs that causes high-risk health problems. The cell changes are called dysplasia which has a high-level risk of turning cancerous.

Verrucas and warts are caused by other HPV types. The HPV types 6 and 11 are oftentimes called the genital wart virus or the wart virus. The genital areas, particularly around the anus, and the feet and hands are the common spots for the growth of verrucas and warts. They can also be found on any area of the body. The verrucas and warts HPV types are referred to as low risk as they seldom develop changes in the cell which could cause cancer.

Skin contact with an infected person can transmit the HPV type that affects the skin. Sexual activity such as oral sex and open mouth kissing can be infected with the HPV type that affects the throat and mouth. During sex where close contact skin-to-skin happens is also the way to get a genital HPV infection. Multiple sex partners increase the risk for getting infected with HPV.

Genital HPV can infect a person for a long time without showing any signs or symptoms. A cervical screening showing you have the virus may make you think that your life long partner has been unfaithful and given you the infection. Acquiring HPV does not mean that your partner or you have been unfaithful. There is no way of finding out the exact time you’ve had the virus which you or your partner could have acquired in past relationships years ago.

Cervical screening done on a regular basis will be the best protection against HPV types that causes cancer. The screening will be able to detect abnormal cell changes before they turn cancerous. Cervical screening is more important for women who have low or weak immune systems that may be the result of medications for another health condition.

How To Avoid the Risk of Acquiring HPV?

HPV or human Papillomavirus is a very different virus from HIV and herpes or HSV, very common, which has affected almost all sexually active men and women one time in their lives without being aware of it. There are over 100 strains of HPV, with some varieties that can develop health problems including cancers and genital warts. Vaccines are available to prevent these health problems from developing.

A person infected with HPV can transmit the virus through oral, vaginal, and anal sex. The most common infection happens during anal or vaginal sexual contact. The absence of signs and symptoms in an infected individual can still pass on the infection.

Even if you only have sex with one person, as long as you are sexually active, you are prone to get infected with HPV. Symptoms can sometimes develop after several years from an infection which makes it difficult to know the exact time and occasion when you first got exposed.

Most of the time health problems are not caused by HPV as it disappears on its own. It is only when it does not leave the system would it create health problems such as cancer and genital warts.

The genital area could be affected by groups of bumps or a single bump of genital warts. They can be cauliflower-shaped, big or small or flat or raised. By looking at the genital area, a medical practitioner can mostly diagnose warts.

HPV can be the cause of other cancers aside from cervical cancer such as cancer of the anus, vulva, penis, and vagina. It can also develop other types of cancer such as oropharyngeal cancer which includes the tonsils and the base of the tongue.

After infection to HPV, it can take years for cancer to develop. The strains of HPV that causes cancer are different from the strains that cause genital warts.

There is no way of knowing what kind of individuals infected with HPV will acquire health problems or cancer. Weakened immune systems particularly people infected with HIV/AIDS may not be able to ward off HPV and be likely candidates for serious health conditions.

There are several ways to avoid or lower the risk of acquiring HPV.

Submit to a vaccination. HPV vaccines are effective and safe to use. They will be able to protect men and women from developing diseases and cancers that HPV can cause when the vaccination is given to the right age groups. The vaccination comes in three doses covering a period of six months and once started, should be finished to get lifetime protection.

Pap tests should be one of the routine tests for women 21 to 65 years of age as prevention for cervical cancer.

Latex condoms used the right way every time there is sexual activity could lower the risks of acquiring HPV infection. Some genital areas cannot be covered by a male condom and the better option would be the use of a female condom as it covers a larger area.

Engage in a monogamous relationship or have a sexual relationship with only one person where you are also the only sex partner.

What is Human Papillomavirus? – Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

HPV means human Papillomavirus and it has more than 100 strains. HPV is more common but a different virus than Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV or herpes (HSV).

These are the three characteristics of HPV:

  1. Asymptomatic which means that it shows no signs and symptoms
  2. Pre-cancerous which causes abnormal Pap tests in women
  3. Causes warts in other parts of the body other than the genital area

HPV # 16 and #18 are the two types of HPV infection that lead to abnormal findings in Pap tests in women. If they are not treated, they become high risks for acquiring cervical cancer. These are the varieties of HPV that do not develop any warts in the body.

The two types of HPV infection that causes the bulk of genital warts are #11 and #6. Genital warts can grow outside or inside the genitals, they come and go, and even if you do not see them you will still get infected.

There are 150 varieties of HPV like plantar warts that can grow on your feet or common warts that can grow on your hands, and over 40 different strains of sexually transmitted HPV. Warts that appear and grow in the other parts of your body cannot be transmitted to your genital area. It has been noted that many sexually active people will never know that at one point in their life they were able to get infected with genital HPV.


Genital touching can transmit HPV. They include:

  • Sharing of sex toys
  • Genital to genital
  • Anus to mouth
  • Genital to hand
  • Anus to hand
  • Genital to mouth
  • Anus to genital


Exposure to HPV will not show symptoms for months or years or never at all, but the most common for warts to develop after infection would be between 4 weeks to 8 months. This is the reason why you will not be aware that you have it.

Raised bumps are the most common trait of warts, but some are hardly noticeable for their very small sizes. Some new wart growth will not make you experience soreness or burning although there will be some that will be a little bit itchy.


A pap smear would be the best way to find out if you have HPV strains that can cause cervical cancer. There are other tests to detect HPV, but these tests are not normally done. Doctors hardly ever perform biopsies on warts and rely more on ocular examination.


Condoms can be slightly effective, but not in areas such as the vulva or testicles which can pass on the infection. The most effective one to use is a female condom because of the large area that it can cover.

A vaccine is available for both sexes that are generally given to individuals ages 9-26. It will be more effective to use on people who are not sexually active yet.


The abnormality of cell changes and the location are the factors that can determine a medical treatment plan. Some of the most common treatments are abnormal cells burning, LEEP and freezing cells in the cervix.

HIV Symptoms In Women

People infected with the HIV virus have weakened immune systems because of the virus’ attack on the white blood cells. HIV’s natural pathway will be AIDS if left untreated. The virus’ receptacles are body fluids such as blood, vaginal fluids, and semen. The virus needs a host body in order to survive which is why it is so virulent the moment it enters a person’s body via the mucous membranes of the mouth, rectum, bloodstream, vagina, and urethra.

There is a degree of difference in manifested symptoms between men and women. In men, the symptoms may range from swollen but painless lymph nodes in the armpits, groin or neck, headaches and fever, and an unexplained drop in energy levels and stamina.

In the past, more men were infected with the HIV virus than women. Today, the slow rise in the number of women infected with HIV has grown more than men and has been noted to rank on the same level as cancer and heart disease as one of the conditions that leads to their mortality rate. The younger generation of African-American women is more affected compared to their older generation. It usually takes more than three years before symptoms appear which makes HIV asymptomatic in women.

A persistent recurrence of infections in the vagina particularly yeast infections is the usual symptoms in women infected with the HIV virus. Other common symptoms include abnormal findings in pap smears, pelvic inflammatory disease or PID accompanied by genital ulcers or warts.

A disruption in the natural flow of monthly cycles that produces abnormalities is a possible sign of HIV infection. A non-pregnant state with a manifestation of several missed periods is a notable abnormality, which over time lead to the cessation of periods is another sign for a woman to suspect that she is infected with HIV. After several weeks after periods cease, the infected female will manifest flu-like symptoms such as sore throat, pains and aches in different parts of the body, fatigue, and fever. These signs signify the way the immune system tries to ward off the HIV infection. There will be additional signs such as loss of appetite and diarrhea that leads to dramatic weight loss.

The best action to take is to get an appointment for an HIV/AIDS test and counseling from a medical practitioner should any or all of these symptoms are manifested. An HIV test does not bore the shame and stigma it had before and it has also become affordable as well. There are numerous HIV testing centers that will test and treat you efficiently, quickly, and reliably without foregoing your privacy. Submitting to an HIV test will not only give you a chance to live for a longer time but also help in preventing the spread of infection which you will do inadvertently as you were not even aware that you already have the HIV infection.

HIV symptoms may be different between sexes, but the need to get an HIV test if they suspect to have acquired the infection is equally important for both of them.

Common Symptoms of Herpes

HSV-1 or herpes simplex type 1 is the most common type of infection which one can get as a child or an infant. An infected adult can spread the virus by skin-to-skin contact. Sores do not have to be present in an adult to transmit the virus. Sharing a towel, a kiss or eating using the same utensil from an infected adult can pass the infection to a child.

Sexual contact is the way a person gets infected with herpes simplex type 2 or HSV-2. In the United States, about 20% of sexually active people are carriers of HSV-2. There are certain characteristics in people that make them likely candidates for HSV-2 infection:

  • Immune system is weak due to medications or another health condition
  • Female
  • Had or have another sexually transmitted disease
  • Multiple sex partners
  • Started sexual relations at a young age

Close contact with an infected person can spread the herpes simplex virus. Touching a herpes sore can also infect you with the herpes simplex virus. Yet, most people get infected from a person infected with herpes simplex even when he or she does not have sores. This type of infection is called ‘asymptomatic viral shedding’.

A Herpes simplex type 1 or HSV-1 infected person can pass the infection to you through:

  • Sharing objects such as a razor, eating utensils or lip balm
  • Kissing
  • Touching the skin such as a pinch

Genital herpes can be passed when there is contact with HSV-1 or HSV-2. The HSV-2 infected person can pass the infection during sex. If a person has a cold sore and engages in oral sex, this can transmit HSV-1 to the genital area which could cause the genitals to develop herpes sores.

An infected mother can easily pass the herpes virus to her newborn during birth. The baby will have serious health problems when born to a mother who has experienced genital herpes for the first time.

The virus will never leave the body of a person once he or she becomes infected. The virus transfers from the skin cells to the nerve cells after the first outbreak episode. Once the virus has entered the nerve cells, it will stay there in the entire lifetime of the infected person. However, it will only be sleeping or lie dormant till a situation could trigger a reaction to activate it.

Here are some of the things that can activate the virus:

  • Surgery
  • Stress
  • Exposure to the sun
  • Illness
  • Menstrual periods
  • Fever

The worst outbreak for herpes simplex is the primary or initial stage after infection. Yet, some infected people may only have mild symptoms that are barely noticeable. However, if the first outbreak gave mild symptoms, the next recurrence may often be severe which could be mistaken as the first outbreak by infected people.

The first year of infection may have several recurrences after the first outbreak. After a time, the outbreaks decrease in frequency and show milder symptoms. The reason for this is the antibodies that the immune system has made to fight the virus.

Herpes: What Causes Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes is caused by the HSV or the herpes simplex virus and is one of the most common viral infections that can infect the mouth and genitals. The virus has two types, which are type 1 or HSV-1 and type 2 or HSV-2. The lesions that both HSV types cause look alike which only a laboratory testing can distinguish.

The first time experience of an HSV infection with symptoms produces severe reactions to the body as it is the first time for the immune system to come in contact with the virus.

The initial infection of HSV can take as long as 20 days and the symptoms that are expected will include specific symptoms from the genital area such as blisters or sores, fever, and pains and aches. There are other people though, who will only experience mild symptoms after the initial infection which could mostly lead it to be undiagnosed and unrecognized.

Most people who get infected with genital herpes will not feel any symptoms. For people who have experienced a previous cold sore infection, the symptoms may be less serious while others none at all especially when they had built a resistance to HSV1.

If ever there are symptoms, it begins with pain or burning, tingling, itching accompanied by an appearance of red and painful spots which changes after a day or two to blisters filled with clear fluid that quickly turn a yellowish-white color.

The blisters will eventually burst resulting in painful ulcers which when it has become dry, will heal and form a scab after 10 days.

There are cases where new blisters form over the ulcer stage, prolonging the episode of the initial infection. But then, there will also be a non-blister stage with only appearances of skin ulcers that may look like cracks or cuts in the skin.

There are women infected with genital herpes that manifest vaginal discharges.

There are no exact signs and symptoms for every person infected with genital herpes. There are women who experience pain and burning sensation when urinating which can be helped by drinking plenty of fluids that can reduce the pain when the urine is diluted.

Close skin-to-skin contact during sex transmits herpes. People infected with herpes can be infectious even when there are no present symptoms.

Cold sores or oral herpes lesions can infect the genital area when engaged in oral sex. If one partner has a cold sore, oral sex must be avoided. Most women get genital herpes infection through oral sex.

There is a reduced chance of transmitting herpes if condoms are used between outbreaks or abstaining from sex when symptoms are present. Herpes infection will be at very low risk if a combination of using condoms at all sexual activity and daily intake of retroviral drugs are followed.

Sharing of toilet seats and towels with an infected person is not a possible way of transmitting the infection. The herpes virus cannot survive for a few seconds outside a host body. Soap and water can also kill the virus.