One of the major health problems in the world are Sexually Transmitted Diseases. In modern medicine, these diseases prove to be some of the most complex ones. According to the statistics shared by World Health Organization, there are more than one million cases related to Sexually Transmitted Infections every day around the globe. In addition to it, American Sexual Health Association states in a report that one in two sexually active individuals will contract an STI by the age of 25. This poses a serious threat to young population.
This article aims to provide necessary knowledge related to STDs for awareness purposes. Read more to learn about what STD/STIs are and how we can protect ourselves from them.
What Are Sexually Transmitted Diseases/ Sexually Transmitted Infections?
STDs/ STIs are the diseases or infections that are transmitted from one person to another through a sexual contact. One can transmit this disease to another through any sexual intercourse. One of the major reason behind common transmission of such diseases is the lack of awareness. People generally do not know what STDs are, how they can be prevented and treated. The reasons for this can vary from social taboos to illiteracy and lack of seriousness on the part of state governments.
STDs can be caused by virus, bacteria or parasite. These germs are present in blood, saliva, vaginal secretions and semen.
Categorization of STDs
For better understanding, STDs can categorized as curable and non-curable STDs.
Following are the curable STDs.
Chlamydia is one of the most common curable STD. It causes infection in the cervix and penile urethra of women and men, respectively. The symptoms of chlamydia are pain during sexual intercourse and discharge from vagina or penis. The reason why chlamydia is common is because it is asymptomatic. The person may have the disease but does not show any symptoms for weeks, months or even years.
Syphilis is another common curable STD caused by bacteria. However, if left untreated, it can cause serious complications. The disease is transmitted through contact with syphilis sores on the mouth or external genitals.
It is another curable yet asymptomatic STD. The symptoms include burning sensation while urinating and colored discharge from penis. The major problem with its treatment is growing antibiotic-resistance.
Trichomoniasis is another common curable STD. It is, however, more common among women than men. The symptoms include itching, pain during sex, irritation and frothy discharge.
It is another curable STD caused by bacteria. The symptoms include tiny red bumps near genital area. These can change to open sores. These ulcers are painful along with burning sensation.
All non-curable STDs are caused by virus. These make them the most dangerous Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Even though, there is still no cure for this type of STDs, there are certain treatments available to relieve the symptoms.
The virus associated with AIDS is Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It adversely affects the ability of immune system to fight the infection. If not treated in earlier stages, it can turn into a life-threatening disease. The virus is transmitted through exchange of bodily fluids such as blood, semen, breast milk and vaginal secretions.
Genital Herpes (HSV) is another incurable STD. It has two forms. HSV1 is often associated with cold sores whereas HSV2 is associated with genital sores. It can be transmitted from mouth to genitals and from genitals to the mouth. Even without any sores or other symptoms, people who have herpes can still transmit the disease (through skin-to-skin contact). Unfortunately, there is no cure available for the disease. However, anti-viral drugs can help alleviate the symptoms.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is another common incurable STD. It can cause genital and other warts. Moreover, it can also lead to cervical or other types of cancer. In some cases, it can be asymptomatic as well. HPV vaccine is often recommended to 11-12 years olds in order to protect them from the four most common virus strains. It is an incurable STD, however, treatments are available to provide some relief from the treatments.
The virus which causes hepatitis directly impacts the liver. Generally, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are considered to be sexually transmitted. In addition to it, chronic hepatitis B can lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis. Even though, there is a vaccine available for hepatitis virus, there is no definite cure for it.
Apart from these, the other Sexually Transmitted Diseases include scabies, vaginal yeast infections, pubic lice, bacterial vaginosis and molluscum contagiosum.
Common Symptoms of STDs
As mentioned before, some STDs are asymptomatic, therefore, without adequate testing and medical check-up, it is difficult to diagnose the disease. However, there are common STD symptoms which can give you some hint.
These symptoms include itching, burning sensation while urinating, painful rashes or bumps clustered on or around your genitals and unusual discharge from vagina or penis. In addition to it, the most important symptom to look for is pain during sexual intercourse. You should immediately go for a check-up if you experience any of these symptoms, particularly if they persist.
How to Prevent or Avoid STDs?
There are various things that you can do in order to protect yourself from acquiring Sexually Transmitted Diseases/ Sexually Transmitted Infections.
First of all, always remember that safe sex is the key to prevention. It is not only important for protecting yourself from STDs/STIs, but it is also crucial for your overall well-being. Always use protection before sex. In addition to it, you should also avoid having sexual intercourse with several partners. You never know who might carry the disease. Moreover, avoid one-night stands. Your health comes first!
You should improve your eating habits, not just for preventing the acquisition of STDs, but also for your overall health. Focus more on balanced diet and exercise in order to strengthen your immune system. You should also go for regular medical check-up, at least once a year. The regular testing and medical check-up can help you monitor your health.
Furthermore, never use someone else’s razor or even tweezer. STDs can also be transmitted through bodily fluids. Immediately go to a doctor if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above. Remember! Prevention is better than the cure.