Sexually transmitted diseases or STDs are those diseases which are passed from one person to another during sexual intercourse between them. These are common diseases which infect a healthy person if he/she has a sexual intercourse with a person who’s already affected. In STDs the greatest risk factor isn’t any medical, necessarily, it’s educational, being ignorant about the transmission, symptoms and prevention of the disease can prove damaging and even fatal in some cases. So before you go out there, make sure you do know everything about STDs.
The very first piece of knowledge you essentially need About STDs (Sometimes referred to as STIs – Sexually transmitted infections) is about the transmission of these diseases. They are very common diseases and can even be present in people who seem perfectly healthy as there are some STDs which do not cause any visible symptoms. Anal or vaginal penetration (by a partner during sex, or through pleasure objects) during unprotected sex can definitely be the cause of an STD. However some may believe oral sexual contact is safer, which is a wrong belief.There are many STDs (e.g. gonorrhea, herpes, and syphilis) which can surely be transmitted via oral sex. Same is true for anal sex.
Contrary to the name, a non-sexual way of transmission is also present. This happens in children who are born to infected mothers and acquire STD during passage through the birth canal. Examples include Hepatitis A, B and C, Shigella and Giardia intestinalis. Anyone who has an unprotected sex with an unknown partner is at the risk of contracting an STD, still, there are some people who are at greater risk than others. These include people having sex with multiple partners (at the same time or in consecutive monogamous relationships), people with an infection of STD already – e.g. a person who has gonorrhea has an increased risk of acquiring HIV during sexual intercourse with someone who has HIV, forced sex victims, people using recreational drugs and excessive alcohol, females in the age of adolescence – because they have immature cervical cells, men using drugs for erectile dysfunction (e.g. Viagra).
Causative agents and symptoms
STDs includes a long list of diseases with one or two happening at the same time except in the case of syndromes. The most common diseases are:
- Gonorrhea , syphilis, Chlamydia (Bacterial)
- Trichomoniasis (Parasitic)
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), genital herpes, Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) – (Viral)
Treatments to variable extent are present for bacterial and parasitic infections but no direct treatment is available for viral diseases. These diseases have a range of symptoms which seem totally unrelated, thus it is difficult to identify for sure if someone has an STD or not. The most common signs and symptoms however include:
- Sore and wounds on genital/oral/rectal area
- Painful urination
- Immature ejaculation
- Awful smell in body secretion (sweat, vaginal fluid, semen)
- Vaginal bleeding that is not usual
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Lower abdominal pain
- Certain rashes on skin
Signs and symptoms of these common diseases may appear form one week to one year after having the risky intercourse. Also the symptoms are different for men and women to some extent owing to their different anatomy.
If you have a suspicion of may be contracting any STD, then there are few tests which can clarify the situation.
- HIV or later stages of syphilis – Blood tests
- Gonorrhea and trichomoniasis – Urine tests
- HPV and genital herpes – Body fluid tests
Body fluids include saliva, semen and vaginal fluid. These tests confirm the presence of causative microorganism in the respective fluids.
As far as the treatment is concerned, most of these common diseases are treatable, except viral as mentioned earlier. The treatment takes variable time from 1 week to 2 years depending upon the organism.
The best method of not having an STD is not having sex at all. We know that this is almost impossible, so we must use other methods and the best one is use of condoms. Ingesting contraceptive pills and other methods of contraception are not useful in preventing STDs. Only latex condoms are a preventive measure but only against bacterial and parasitic infection. These do not prove to be effective against viral infections. However having a relationship with one uninfected partner can also be considered safe.
The fact to be essentially kept in mind is that all STDs are preventable. Prevention is the key in these diseases. The risks are often underrated by many ignorant people. STDs are a fact and there is no one “immune” or “too smart” for STDs.