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.

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.

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.

Hepatitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

An inflammation or swelling of the liver is a medical condition called hepatitis.


Hepatitis can be developed by:

  • Medication overuse such as over dosage intake of acetaminophen or other drugs
  • Liver being attacked by the immune cells in the body
  • Liver damage from poison or alcohol
  • Infections from other viruses such as hepatitis C, A, or B, parasites or bacteria

Inherited disorders such as hemochromatosis, which is a condition that holds too much iron in the body or cystic fibrosis, can also cause liver disease. Another disorder that can lead to liver disease is Wilson’s disease wherein too much copper is retained in the body.


Hepatitis may begin and heal quickly. It may also turn into a chronic condition that will stay with you forever. Liver cancer, liver damage, and liver failure are some of the cases that are caused by hepatitis.

Usually, it is hepatitis A that has a shorter term and does not develop into chronic liver conditions. However, it should be noted that if you have existing illnesses including the ones that may have caused some damage to the liver, acquiring hepatitis may give additional severe health conditions.

Some of the symptoms of hepatitis may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Bloating or pain in the abdominal area
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Clay-colored or pale stools and dark urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Low fever
  • Jaundice
  • Itching

When first infected with hepatitis B or C, you may not show any symptoms. It will still later lead to liver failure. Tests should always be done often if you have risks conditions for these two types of hepatitis.

Tests and examinations

A physical exam is needed to look for:

  • Jaundice or yellowing of the skin
  • Tender and enlarged liver
  • Ascites or fluid in the abdomen

Lab tests to monitor and diagnose the condition of the liver may include:

  • If fluid is present in the abdomen, a paracentesis is needed
  • Ultrasound of the abdominal area
  • Liver biopsy to check for damages in the liver
  • Autoimmune blood markers
  • Liver function tests
  • Diagnostic tests for Hepatitis A, B, or C


Options in a treatment program will be discussed with you by your health provider. Treatments will be varied, depending on the causes that led to the liver disease. If you have lost weight, a high-calorie diet may be recommended.


  • Liver cancer
  • Cirrhosis, which is permanent liver damage
  • Liver failure

Contacting a medical professional

Help must be immediately sought if you have these symptoms:

  • Delirious and confused
  • Have too much of medicines such as acetaminophen and showing symptoms for the overdose.
  • Have tarry or bloody stools
  • Vomit blood

The doctor also needs to be called if:

  • You have just come from a travel from Central America, Asia, South America, and Africa and now feel sick
  • You think you have been exposed to hepatitis A, B or C as you are showing the symptoms

Excessive vomiting cannot keep food in your stomach.

Symptoms of Gonorrhea

One of the most common sexually transmitted diseases that can be transmitted during an unprotected sexual activity is gonorrhea. It is often referred to as ‘the clap’ or ‘the drip’ and the highest infected groups are the following:

  • Habitual drug users
  • Young adults and adolescents
  • African Americans
  • Often Poor people living in the southern states or urban areas

The bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes gonorrhea through anal, vaginal or oral sexual relations which are the means of transference.

  • During vaginal childbirth, a mother infected with gonorrhea may pass the infection to her newborn.
  • There is a 20% risk of men getting infected when they engage in sexual relations with an infected woman.
  • A woman stands a high 50% risk of infection when she has sexual intercourse with an infected man.


In women, it could take as long as three weeks before they show symptoms but the usual route is around 2 to 10 days.


It should be noted that women have a small percentage of showing symptoms which could unwittingly make them spread the infection especially when she is sexually active with multiple partners. Symptoms when they occur may include:

  • Bleeding between periods
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease or PID is a serious health risk that causes infertility to women
  • Irritation and infection of the vagina
  • Irritation and infection of the cervix
  • Burning and itching of the vagina
  • Thick green or yellow colored discharges in the vagina
  • Painful sex
  • Pain or burning sensation during urination


  • Most of the time, there will be thick, yellow colored discharges from the penis
  • Inflammation of infection of the prostate gland
  • Burning or pain sensation when urinating
  • Infection or inflammation of the testicles



The mucous membranes of the eyes become irritated which could cause blindness if left untreated.

Rectal and oral symptoms

  • Discharges or rectal pain is a sign that infection is in the anal area where sexual intercourse could have been done.
  • A Sore throat can be an effect of a gonococcal infection which is caused by the gonorrhea infection transmitted during oral sex.

Medical help

As soon as you suspect that you have been infected with gonorrhea, set an appointment with your health care provider. It will even be more important should you show the following symptoms:

  • Had sexual relations with a person infected with gonorrhea
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Pus-like discharges from the vagina or penis
  • Pain and discharges from the anus
  • Painful urination
  • Appearance of a dark centered rash
  • Fatigue

It should be noted that an early onset of gonorrhea that is tested and treated stand a better chance of quick recovery. It is recommended that sexually active people with multiple sex partners get a yearly STD test in order to rule out STDs that do not show any symptoms like gonorrhea. This will not only lead to prevent serious health conditions but also help contain the spread of infection.

Know More About Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Once transmitted it quickly grows in the moist and warm areas of the body including:

  • Reproductive organs of women which include the uterus, fallopian tubes, and cervix
  • The urethra which is the tube that drains the urinary bladder of urine
  • Anus
  • Eyes
  • Vagina
  • Penis
  • Throat

Unprotected sex through the vagina, mouth, and anus transmit gonorrhea. People who have the greatest risk of infection are those who do not use a condom and have multiple sex partners. Protection against the infection can best be achieved with the use of a condom in every sexual activity, or abstinence or a monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.

Signs and symptoms


It usually takes around two to five days after infection for symptoms to happen. However, there are some men who may never show symptoms while it may take several weeks for some men to develop symptoms.

For women, the developed symptoms may be related to other infections or milder in a form. Even without the presence of symptoms, the infected person is still highly contagious. This symptom-free occurrence is the cause of widespread infection because the infected people are unaware of the infection.

The first symptom to be noticed in men is often a painful or burning sensation when urinating. It may also include:

  • Recurring sore throat
  • Frequency of urination
  • Pain or swelling in the testicles
  • Green, white or yellow colored pus-like discharges from the penis
  • Redness or swelling at the penis’ opening

Gonorrhea symptoms in women may be tricky as it could be similar to bacterial or vaginal yeast infections. Symptoms may have the following:

  • Fever
  • Foul smelling discharges from the vagina
  • Pain in the lower abdominal area
  • Burning or painful urination
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Frequency of urination
  • Sore throat

If gonorrhea is left untreated, the infection may well spread to the bloodstream where the body may develop joint pains, rashes, and fever.


There are several ways a healthcare professional can diagnose gonorrhea. Vaginal or penis discharges will be taken as a specimen and exposed to a stain. The reaction of the cells to the stain would probably be gonorrhea. It is a quick and easy test but could not be termed reliable.

Another way is to take samples of vaginal and penile discharges and incubating it for a couple of days inside a special dish. A growth of gonorrhea bacteria will be the way to determine the infection.

It will take three days before final results can be determined. Some of the samples that can be taken from an infected person may include fluid from the joints, the throat, blood, vagina, anus or tip of the penis. A needle is inserted with the extraction of a small amount of specimen if joint fluid or blood is needed as samples.


Gonorrhea can mostly be cured through a regimen of modern antibiotics. However, there has been a development of new strains of gonorrhea that are resistant to common antibiotics. Extensive treatment is needed that may use antibiotic combinations.

Everything You Need To Know About Chlamydia

The bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis causes Chlamydia which is one of the most common sexually transmitted that affects people of all ages, particularly individuals aged below 25 years. It is also known as the ‘silent infection’ because most of the time people are unaware that they are infected.

A person can get infected by Chlamydia by having anal or vaginal sex with an infected individual.




Most women are unaware that they have been infected with Chlamydia because of the absence of signs or symptoms. It can cause PID or pelvic inflammation disease once the infection has reached the neck of the cervix and spread to the fallopian tubes and uterus. It could also lead to infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and ectopic pregnancy. An infected mother can pass the infection to her baby during birth which could cause eye or lung infections. The rectum can be infected which may cause bleeding, rectal pain or discharges.

If symptoms show, they could include:

  • Pain in the lower abdominal area
  • Unusual discharges from the vagina
  • Bleeding after sex or spotting or bleeding between periods
  • Pain or burning sensation during urination
  • Painful sexual intercourse


Chlamydia would be asymptomatic or show no symptoms in men. It can cause pain when the tube of the penis or urethra is infected which could reach the epididymis. The rectum can be infected which may cause bleeding, rectal pain or discharges.

If symptoms show, they can include:

  • Sore and swollen testicles
  • Discharges from the penis
  • Burning pain during urination


Chlamydia could easily be diagnosed with painless tests that normally use urine. A cotton swab test would be another alternative where specimens can be taken from the penis, vagina, anus or cervix and sent to the laboratory for analysis.


Having unprotected anal or vaginal sex with an infected person could get you infected with Chlamydia. Safe sex practices should always be done in every sexual activity such as using a condom or a dam which is made of thin latex that is fitted over the anus or vagina.

Many people are unaware they have the infection since Chlamydia does not often show signs and symptoms. Looking at the outward appearance of a person may not show that he or she is infected with Chlamydia even when they look healthy.

A new sex partner who may have an earlier partner infected with Chlamydia poses a high risk through unprotected sexual activity. A long-term partner could also infect you if he or she had unprotected sex with other infected people.


It is highly recommended that people under 25 years old and are sexually active should have annual check-ups for Chlamydia or other possible STDs. Chlamydia can infect any sexually active person at any age, more so when sex is unprotected and involves multiple partners.


A single dose of antibiotics can treat Chlamydia if it is detected early. A longer course of antibiotic treatment has to be done when Chlamydia complications have been developed such as PID or pelvic inflammatory disease.

If you are infected with Chlamydia, your sexual partner has to know so she or he can be tested and treated as they may have acquired the infection from you and could re-infect you after you have been treated.

Chlamydia Infection: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Chlamydia is a very common sexually transmitted disease, especially in sexually active young adults and teenagers.


Most infected people do not show any symptoms and are even unaware they have it. But if symptoms show, it may include:

Swelling and pain in the testicles for men

Burning or pain when urinating

In women, lower abdominal pain, bleeding between menstrual periods, during or after sex bleeding

Unusual discharges from the rectum, vagina or penis

If you think that you have Chlamydia based on the symptoms listed above, visit the nearest STD testing centers to be tested and treated. The earlier you get the treatment, the lesser risk for serious health conditions that could last a lifetime.


Chlamydia is caused by a bacterium that is transmitted through sexual intercourse or contact with genital fluids such as vaginal fluid or semen that is infected.

You can get infected with Chlamydia by:

Getting infected vaginal fluid or semen in your eye

Unprotected oral, vaginal, and anal sex

Genitals coming in contact with an infected person’s genitals even when there is no ejaculation, penetration or orgasm

sex toys sharing that have not been covered with a new condom or washed after every use

infected mother to her newborn during birth

Chlamydia cannot be transmitted by utensil sharing, hugging and kissing, or sharing toilet seats, baths, swimming pools, and towels.

Serious health complications

Although Chlamydia can be easily treated with antibiotics, it can cause serious health conditions if left untreated.

If no treatment is done, other body parts can be infected leading to serious health problems such as reactive arthritis, PID or pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and inflammation of the testicles or epididymo-orchitis.

These are the reasons why a test and treatment as early as possible is very important if you suspect that you have been infected with Chlamydia.


Antibiotics can easily treat Chlamydia. It may either be a long course of capsules that needs to be taken for a week or a single dose oral or injectable form.

Sex should be avoided until you or your partner is done with the treatments. If a single dose treatment has been applied, sex should still be avoided for a week.

It is important that your sexual partners and current partner that you’ve had sexual relations within the past six months could also be tested and treated to stop the infection from spreading.

The health centers, testing centers or your health care provider can help you get in touch with your sexual partners. The clinics or health centers can either send them a letter or speak to them about the need to be tested and treated. The letter will not state your name to protect your privacy.


A sexually active individual will most likely be infected with Chlamydia. The risk will be higher for those who do not use protective barriers such as a condom during every sexual activity or having multiple partners.

Get tested and treated as soon as you suspect that you have been infected with Chlamydia or any other STD.

Understanding Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is one of the most common of the sexually transmitted diseases and around the world about 5,000,000 men and women are infected annually with it. It is still a misunderstood STD that needs more awareness since a lot of people infect other people for they never knew they had it. The reason would be the almost negligible symptoms during the early onset of the disease. However, if you are sexually active with multiple partners, STD testing should always be a requirement.

Symptoms and signs in Men

Most men do not show any symptoms at all but for some who did, these are the common ones:

o   While urinating, a burning sensation is experienced.

o   The penis gives a green or yellow discharge.

Symptoms and Signs in Women

Women with gonorrhea may experience this:

o   Copious vaginal discharges

o   Spotting or irregular menstruation

o   Painful urination

It is a fact that many women seldom experience symptoms even when they are already infected with gonorrhea. Most of the time the symptoms discussed could also mean a urinary tract infection. However, untreated gonorrhea could cause women lifelong and serious health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease or PID.

Symptoms of Rectal Gonorrhea

Both men and women have similar symptoms when they are infected with rectal gonorrhea and they are:

o   Pain during bowel movement

o   Discharges and itchiness in the rectum

o   Bleeding from the rectum


Gonorrhea if left untreated will bring lifelong diseases even when it has been cured. For women, it can be PID which is one of the main causes for infertility. It also gives a higher risk for ectopic pregnancy and abscesses with pain in the pelvic area. If gonorrhea is still present in a pregnant woman, there is a bigger chance of passing it to the baby which could cause serious blood infections, blindness, and infections in the joints. For the men, epididymitis can be a very painful experience and infertility is also another of the causes of untreated gonorrhea. The disease could reach the joints and could be debilitating.

Gonorrhea Testing

Gonorrhea can be spread easily since people infected with it are not even aware that they have it. It stands to reason that an STD test should be made a part of your health care especially when you have an active sexual life with multiple partners. Not having any symptom should not be the basis for not undergoing an STD screening or tests. The debilitating effect of gonorrhea that has remained unchecked has lifelong repercussions of pain that could pave the way for serious health problems.

Still after all that has been said and done, nothing could beat prevention or safe sex practices. Prevention may not mean abstinence; it would just mean a monogamous relationship with a lifetime partner that will be the safest relationship to be in right now! If monogamy is not your scene, then safe sex should always be practiced. These barriers are the only protection that you separate you from a healthy person to becoming a sickly one.