Sexually Transmitted Diseases
There are more than 250 diseases that are transmitted through sexual relations and are caused by various causes, including:
- Germs, such as gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and syphilis
- Viruses, such as herpes, condyloma, hepatitis and AIDS
- Parasites, such as trichomoniasis and pediculosis pubis
Infection occurs through direct contact between the surface of the skin and the mucous membrane of the genital organs (syphilis, condyloma), or by contaminated secretions from the genital organs (gonorrhoea, chlamydia, herpes and AIDS).
Many women who are infected with STDs have no symptoms. Therefore, the period between exposure to the cause of the disease and the diagnosis is much longer compared to men, which increases the risk of disease transmission and spread in the genitals and pelvic infection. Consequently, women with STDs experience recurrent episodes of pain in the lower abdomen, disturbances in fertilization and ectopic pregnancy due to obstruction of the fallopian tubes because of inflammation (chlamydia, gonorrhea).
A pregnant woman who is infected with some sexually transmitted diseases (syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, viral hepatitis and AIDS) may transmit the cause of the infection to her fetus through the placenta, or during childbirth, and cause them to develop a serious or fatal disease.
STDs can cause various symptoms, including some symptoms that may go unnoticed until complications develop or symptoms appear in the sexual partner. Common symptoms and signs that might indicate a sexually transmitted infection include:
- Ulcers or bumps on the genitals, rectum, or the mouth
- Burning sensation during urination
- Penial discharge
- Painful intercourse
- Unusual or strange-smelling vaginal discharge
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Swollen lymph nodes, especially in the groin,
- Lower abdominal pain
- Skin rash on the trunk, hands, or feetThe following complications may occur if the disease is left without treatment for long:
- Pregnancy complications
- Pelvic pain and pelvic inflammatory disease
- Eye inflammation
- Heart disease
If your sexual history and your current signs and symptoms indicate a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or a sexually transmitted infection (STI), laboratory tests can determine the cause and identify the infection that you may also have.
- Blood tests. Blood tests can confirm the diagnosis of HIV or late stages of syphilis.
- Urine samples. It can confirm infection with some STIs through urine sample.
- Fluid samples. If you have open genital ulcers, your doctor may examine fluids and sore samples to diagnose the type of infection.
Sexually transmitted diseases caused by bacteria are usually easy to treat. Viral infections can be controlled but not always cured. If you are pregnant and have a sexually transmitted infection, receiving immediate treatment may prevent the risk of transmission to the fetus or reduce the chances of it occurring.
Treatment for a sexually transmitted infection usually includes one of the following methods depending on the type of infection:
- Antibiotics, A single dose of antibiotics taken by the patient can eliminate many types of sexually transmitted bacteria and parasites including gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia and trichomoniasis.
Once you start taking the antibiotic treatment, it is necessary to continue the treatment. If you suspect that you will not be able to take medication according to the instructions, tell the doctor. A simpler treatment regimen may be available and take a shorter period.
Moreover, it is necessary to abstain from sex until seven days have passed after the completion of the antibiotic and the recovery of all sores. Specialists also suggest retesting women for about three months as they have a greater chance of infection recurrence.
- If you are infected with herpes or HIV, you will be prescribed an antiviral drug. Herpes recurrence rate will decrease if you take an inhibitor treatment every day with a prescription antiviral drug. However, there is still a possibility that the herpes infection will pass to your partner.
Antiviral drugs can control HIV infection for several years. However, you will still be HIV-positive and can spread the infection despite the reduced risk.
The sooner you start treatment, the more effective the medicine will be. And if you take your medications strictly according to the instructions, the number of viruses will probably drop to almost undiscoverable levels.
If you have a sexually transmitted infection, ask your doctor how long you will need to retake the test after treatment ends. Re-testing will ensure the effectiveness of the treatment and that the infection will not infect you again.