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An STD is an illness that is spread through sexual contact.
You can avoid sexually transmitted diseases:
- The fewer sexual partners a person has, the lower the risk of infection.
- Most sexually transmitted diseases can be avoided to a large extent by practicing safe sex (eg using condoms).
- Most sexually transmitted diseases can be cured if they are diagnosed and treated in their early stages.
- The most common diseases and their symptoms are described below.
Chlamydia is the most common and fastest spreading sexually transmitted disease. It stems from a bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis.
Women diagnosed with Chlamydia can also infect their newborn infant during delivery. Symptoms usually appear approximately 7 to 21 days after infection and differ for men, women and children.
Symptoms in men: inflammation of the urethra (the bladder duct within the penis), stinging feeling when passing water, clear discharge from penis and possible itchiness around the opening, pain or tenderness in the testicles.
Symptoms in women: stinging feeling when passing water, unusual vaginal discharge, pain caused by pelvic inflammation (pelvic inflammatory disease), pain during intercourse, in some cases, bleeding between periods.
Herpes genitalis (genital herpes)
Gential herpes is a highly contagious viral condition caused by the nerpes simplex virus (HSV). It principally infects the skin and mucous membranes of the genitals and rectum, but can also appear in areas such as the mouth. It is transmitted primarily through physical and sexual contact. During birth, the presence of herpes simplex virus on the genitalia or in the birth canal is a threat to the infant. Infection in the newborn infant can lead to herpetic meningitis, herpetic viremia (herpes virus particles present in the blood) and chronic skin infection. The symptoms of herpes simplex virus usually occur a week after infection, but sometimes take longer to appear. Initially, the skin becomes reddened and multiple small blisters filled with a clear, straw-coloured fluid appear. Prior to the presence of blisters, the infected individual may also experience increased skin sensitivity, tingling, burning or pain at the site where blisters will appear. Later, the blisters burst leaving shallow, painful ulcers which eventually scab and heal over a period of 7 to 14 days.
The outbreak may be accompanied by other symptoms such as:swelling and tenderness of the lymph nodes in the groin area, in women, vaginal discharge and painful urination, in men, a possibility of painful urination if the lesion is near the opening of the urethra., fever.
There is no cure for the herpes simplex virus; once infected, patients will remain a carrier for the rest of their lives. Some remedies, however, can reduce the duration of the eruption. In addition, by being more aware of the initial symptoms of recurrence (skin sensitivity and tingling), timely treatment with medication such as aciclovir (Zovirax tablets/suspension) will often abort the outbreak of blisters.
The best way to prevent recurrence is to avoid direct contact with an open lesion. People with herpes simplex virus should avoid sexual contact when active lesions are present.
Warts, or condylomata acuminata, are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Up to nine months can pass from the time of infection to the actual development of warts. In women, human papilloma virus can lead to changes in the cervix and to the development of cervical cancer. Therefore, it is important that this condition is diagnosed and treated.
The symptoms are raised, rough, wart-like growths that may occur singly or in clusters. In men, they are usually found around the head of the penis and tend to be drier. In women, they appear most often around the vaginal opening and may spread to the rectal area. It is also possible for the virus to appear on or near the cervix as whitish, flat-like lesions, usually only detectable through close visual examination of the cervix (colposcopy). In both men and women, lesions may also be present in the mouth and throat. In general, symptoms can intensify if the immune system is weakened, or during pregnancy or if the person has diabetes. The warts are very contagious so safe sex is advisable.
A fungal infection (= mycosis) is an infection caused by a fungus. Fungi consist of yeasts or moulds according to their appearance and means of growth. Candida species is a well known example of yeast-like fungi involved in infections.
It's a common infection in, and each year, tens of thousands of women get it. However, since the year 2000 it has become less frequently encountered. Nevertheless, it's still one of the commonest causes of vaginal discharge.
It can just live in the vagina for a while without producing symptoms, but very often, it produces soreness and a bubbly, yellowish-green discharge.
The standard treatment with Flagyl tablets taken by mouth works very well. Warning: do not have any alcohol while on these tablets.