Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Consultation

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What you need to know about STD

It's diseases that are passed  on from one person to another through sexual contact. The infection can be passed on through vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex.

Some sexually transmitted infections can spread through the use of unsterilized drug needles, from mother to baby during childbirth, or breast-feeding, and blood transfusions.

Sexually transmitted infections have been around for thousands of years. The genital areas are generally moist and warm environments - ideal for the growth of yeasts, viruses, and bacteria.

Microorganisms that exists on the skin or mucus membranes of the male or female genital area can be transmitted, as can organisms in semen, vaginal secretions, or blood during sexual intercourse. Sexually transmitted infections are more easily passed on during unprotected sex.

Most common sexually transmitted infections below:

Chlamydia- Also known as chlamydial infection, a bacterium that infects humans exclusively. Chlamydia is the most common infectious cause of genital and eye diseases globally - it is also the leading bacterial STI.

Women with chlamydia do not usually have signs or symptoms. If there are any, they are usually non-specific and may include:

  • cystitis
  • a change in vaginal discharge
  • mild lower abdominal pain

If chlamydia is left untreated, it may lead to the following signs and symptoms:

  • pelvic pain
  • painful sexual intercourse, either intermittently or all the time
  • bleeding between menstrual periods

Chancroid- is also known as soft chancre and ulcus molle. It is a bacterial infection caused by fastidious gram-negative streptobacillus Haemophilus ducreyi and is characterized by painful sores on the genitals. It is only spread through sexual contact. 

Within 1 day to 2 weeks after becoming infected, 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 is very painful, may have well defined, undermined borders, and a yellowish-gray material at its base. If the base is grazed, it will typically bleed. In some cases, the lymph nodes swell and become painful (lymphadenopathy).

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 (coronal sulcus) in uncircumcised males, or, in females, the labia minora (small inner folds of the vulva) or fourchette (thin fold of skin at the back of the vulva).

Chancroid is treated with a 7-day course of erythromycin, a single oral dose of azithromycin, or a single dose of ceftriaxone.

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 appearance of the lice, with their crab-like claws and body shape.

Genital herpes- 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:

  • HSVp1, also known as herpes type 1
  • HSV-2, also known as herpes type 2

Herpes is a long-term (chronic) condition. A significant number of infected individuals never show any symptoms and do not know about their herpes status.

HSV is easily transmissible from human-to-human by direct contact. Most commonly, transmission of type 2 HSV occurs through vaginal, oral, or anal sex.

Type 1 is more commonly transmitted from shared straws, utensils, etc. In most cases, the virus remains dormant after entering a human being, in other words, there are no symptoms.

The signs and symptoms associated with genital herpes, if they do appear, may include:

  • blisters and ulceration on the cervix
  • vaginal discharge
  • pain on urinating
  • fever
  • generally feeling unwell (malaise)
  • cold sores around the mouth - for type 1 HSV

Also, there may be red blisters - these can be painful, especially after they burst and leave ulcers on the external genital area, rectum, thighs, and buttocks.

Hepatitis B- This STD is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It is transmitted through contact with infected semen, blood, and some other body fluids.

A person can become infected by having unprotected sex, using an unsterilized syringe, being accidentally pricked by a sharp object, drinking infected breast milk.

The patient's liver swells, and they can suffer serious liver damage. In some cases, the disease can become chronic. Blood donation centers always check to make sure the donor's blood is free of the hepatitis B virus.

 Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Most people with an HPV infection have no symptoms.

Human papillomaviruses

Human Papillomavirus is a name for a group of viruses that affect the skin, as well as the moist membranes that line the body, such as the throat, cervix, anus, and mouth.

There are over 100 types of HPV, of which, about 40 can affect the genital areas; these types may also infect the mouth and throat. The ones that affect the genital area are known as genital human papillomavirus.

HPV infection can lead to:

  • The abnormal growth and alteration of cells within the cervix, which significantly increases the risk of developing cancer of the cervix.
  • Genital warts, the most common STI in the majority of developed nations.

The majority of infected individuals have no symptoms and are unaware. The best protection from HPV infection is to be vaccinated.

However, women are more likely to experience symptoms. The infection is caused by a single-celled protozoan parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis.

Signs and symptoms of trichomoniasis include:

  • vaginal odor
  • vaginal discharge
  • pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • pain when urinating

 

Molluscum contagiosum- is a contagious skin infection caused by a virus. There are four types: MCV-1 (most common), MCV-2 (most commonly sexually transmitted one), MCV-3, and MCV-4. 

Signs and symptoms include small, round bumps and indents on the skin. If left untreated, the bumps usually go away, but this can take up to 2 years. A doctor can remove the bumps with chemicals, an electrical current, or by freezing them. There are some prescription medicines that will eventually get rid of the growths.

Scabies- is a contagious skin condition caused by Sarcoptes scabiei, a tiny mite. They burrow into the skin and lay their eggs.

The patient develops a skin rash and experiences intense itchiness. People with scabies are often unaware of their condition for several weeks after initial infection, which means scabies infestations spread rapidly.

Some experts believe scabies is caused by poor living conditions and a lack of personal hygiene - however, there is no scientific proof of this.

Scabies is most commonly transmitted through close body contact, such as holding hands for a long time or sexual intercourse. Hugging a person who has scabies or simply shaking hands with them is unlikely to lead to transmission.

Signs and symptoms of scabies may not become apparent for several weeks after initial infection, and may include:

  • A skin rash - small red spots, known as burrow marks; they look like tiny insect bites. Some people may think it is eczema.
  • Intense itching, which gets worse at night or after taking a hot shower.
  • The burrow marks, which typically appear as a small line of at least four tiny spots, appear on the elbows, wrists, around the nipples (in women), near the genitals (in men), and in between the toes and fingers.
  • After scratching the rash, the area can become inflamed, and crusty sores may develop.
  • Less commonly, the rash may appear on the buttocks, ankles, axillae (armpits), genitalia (in women), groin, the inside of the elbow, scalp, neck, face, head, shoulders, waist, soles of the feet, lower leg, and knees.

Syphilis- is the result of infection by Treponema pallidum, a bacterium. It is transmitted by sexual contact - the infected person has a syphilis lesion. 

There is a 9-90-day incubation period after initial infection - average time 21 days, before the initial signs and symptoms of the disease emerge. Each syphilis stage has characteristic signs and symptoms. Some infected people have no signs, while for others they may be mild. In some cases, even if signs and symptoms go away, the bacterium is still there and can cause serious health problems later on.

Gonorrhea- Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria- Also known as the clap or the drip, this sexually transmitted bacterial infection usually attacks the mucous membranes.

Gonorrhea is the second most common STD. The bacterium, which is highly contagious, resides in the warm and moist cavities of the body.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria cause gonorrhea

The majority of infected women show no signs or symptoms. If left untreated, females may develop pelvic inflammatory disease; males may develop inflammation of the prostate gland, urethra, or epididymis.

As soon as a person is infected, they risk spreading the bacteria to other parts of their body - somebody may inadvertently rub their eye and spread the infection; this prolongs the treatment period. A mother can pass the infection on to her baby during childbirth.

Signs and symptoms of gonorrhea may appear from 2-10 days after initial infection, in some cases, it may take 30 days. Some patients have such mild symptoms that their infection is mistaken for something else, such as a yeast infection.

Women are less likely to show symptoms, but if they do, they may include:

  • spotting after sexual intercourse
  • swelling of the vulva (vulvitis)
  • irregular bleeding (between periods)
  • pink eye 
  • pain in the pelvic area
  • burning or pain during urination

Prevention

Abstain - abstaining from any unprotected sexual act, as this is probably the most effective way to avoid becoming infected with an STD.

 

 

 

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