Sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) can affect anyone. Every year approximately 12 million new STD cases occur in the United States. At this time, there are roughly 50 identified organisms and syndromes (aka: STD's) identified by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). STD's can be either viral or bacterial infections-with some treatable and others that are non-responsive to drug treatments.
How are STDs spread?
Sexually transmitted diseases are often spread through sexual activity including vaginal, anal and oral sex. HIV and hepatitis B can also be transmitted through blood. The only way to ensure that you do not contract an STD is through abstinence. However, through safer sex practices, you can significantly reduce your risk of contracting an STD.
Chlamydia or NGU (Non-Gonococcal Urethritis)
Can show up 7 to 28 days after intercourse. Many men and women are asymptomatic (without symptoms). Chlamydia can occur in men and women; men can get NGU.
Antibiotics for both partners to prevent reinfection.
Genital Warts/HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)
Can be visible 1 to 8 months after transmission from infected partner small bumps (dark pink or red) may be seen or felt on or in the infected area. Other times the warts are not visible to the naked eye but you might experience itching or burning around the genitals. In some cases, a person can be infected and never show any symptoms.
Even though warts can sometimes go away on their own, most treatments involve the removal of the warts. This can be done through the application of a caustic solution directly on the wart, through cryotherapy (using liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart), burning the wart via electrosurgery or surgically removed. HPV is a virus and will remain in your system even when not physically present.
Usually show up 2 to 21 days after having sex with an infected partner. In some instances, no symptoms are present.
Since gonorrhea is a bacteria infection, it is curable with anti-biotics. Usually penicillin is the treatment of choice, but other combinations of antibiotics also work.
Hepatitis B (Viral Hepatitis Type B)
Show up 1 to 9 months after contact with the virus.
Herpes (Herpes Simplex - Type I or Type II)
Type I herpes is the cause of cold sores while type II is responsible for sores on or around the genitals. Either virus can infect either area. Transmission of the virus occurs through direct contact with an active sore or genital secretions which contain the virus (blood, semen, vaginal fluid).
Show up between 1 to 30 days (or more) after contact with infected partner.
Since herpes is a virus, there is no cure. There are now products on the market that can help alleviate some of the symptoms and their severity.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). The HIV virus attacks and weakens the immune system of the infected person causing the body to lose its ability to fight disease and infection.
A person can be infected with HIV for many years before symptoms present themselves. One can feel healthy and look healthy for years (and continue to spread the HIV virus) before becoming sick.
Caused by a bacterium, this disease can infect most organs or tissues of the body. The process of infection has four stages: primary, secondary, latent and late. It is imperative to seek treatment during the first stage as, if left untreated, syphilis can be fatal.
Symptoms of 1st Stage (primary)
Symptoms of 2nd Stage (secondary)
Symptoms of 3rd Stage (latent)
Symptoms of 4th Stage (late)
Late stage syphilis causes irreparable harm to internal organs including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. This damage can be fatal.
Trichomoniasis (Trich or Vaginitis)
Trich can be spread through sexual intercourse but can also be transmitted through wet towels, washcloths and underwear. Left untreated, trich can also cause urinary tract infections.
It is important to note that with most sexually transmitted diseases, both partners must be treated to prevent re-infecting one another. In cases of viral STD's there is not treatment and no cure, so safe sex practices are vital to prevent further transmission of the disease.