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Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are infections gotten from sexual intercourse. They are passed from one person to another during sexual acts including the oral and anal sex. STIs become STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) when they start showing symptoms. The symptoms rear their ugly heads faster in men than in women. Some are easy to cure while some are difficult and may lead to sterilityor infertility in both sexes, miscarriages in pregnancy and other reproductive problems. Every sexually active individual is exposed to these infections. They are numerous but the common ones will be covered in this article
Gonorrhea: is a bacterial infection in the genital tracts and can later spread to other parts of the body such as the mouth, nose and anus. This infection is caused by Neisseria gonorrheae, aka gonococcus bacteriae. Symptoms might be immediate or not. Symptoms include pain when urinating, bloody or yellowish discharge from the vagina and penis, stained urine, itching, redness and swelling of the vagina, heavy menstrual flow, irregular menstrual periods, swollen testicles, anal itching, pain during sexual intercourse. Untreated gonorrhea can lead to the inflammation of the ovaries, uterus and the pelvic, infertility, sterility, miscarriages, and chronic abdominal pain. Symptoms usually start one week after contact.
Chlamydia: also a bacterium grows in the genital tracts, cervix, throat and urethra. It is similar to gonorrhea in terms of symptoms. Symptoms include discharge from the penis and vagina, painful and frequent urination, irregular and menstrual flow, painful sexual intercourse, pain in the testis. Others are pelvic infections, ovaries, oviducts (fallopian tubes) inflammation, infertility, miscarriages and can affect the foetus among the infected pregnant women.
Hepatitis: could be A, B or C. Hepatitis B and C are the serious ones. They are caused by virus which affect the liver and rarely affect the reproductive organs. Hepatitis are transmitted through sexual activities and kissing and are associated with late development of symptoms which are abdominal pain, fatigue, vomiting, itching of private parts, dark urine, jaundice, nausea, loss of appetite, swelling of the legs and abdomen, cirrhosis, liver inflammation, cancer and damage.
Syphilis: is a bacterial infection caused by the organism called spirochete (Treponema pallidum). The bacteria survive in the genitals and mouth, it can be transmitted through oral or anal sex and kissing. it affects the genital tracts, skin, heart, brain and foetus. Symptoms occur days or months after contact. They include sores (ulcer) on the genitals, lips, mouths and the body, painless and firm swelling on the penis, sore throat, fatigue, headache, rashes on the body, hair loss. Untreated syphilis leads to the secondary and tertiary stages of the infection which may damage the body organs, brain fatigue, eye defects, heart disease, stroke and death.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV): is a viral infection which affects the genital tracts or mouths of the patient. It can lead to cervical cancer in women. They are contacted through oral, anal or real sex, skin contact and are not associated with symptoms. The body gets rid of HPV on its own. They cause genital warts, cervical, mouth, penis and throat cancers.
Genital warts: warts are small in sizes but they later multiply. They affect the genital areas, mouth and throats. Warts grow in the vagina, around the vulva, cervix, anus, tip of the penis and scrotum. Symptoms include small and fleshy-like swelling and swelling of warts around the private parts, itching and pain in the genitals, bleeding during intercourse.
Genital Herpes: caused by a virus known as Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). Symptoms are mild and unnoticed sometimes. They include itching in the external genital tracts (penis and vagina), scrotum, buttocks, anus, cervix, urethra, groin, tingling in the private parts, muscle ache and fever; others are sores in and around the genital, anus, mouth, gum and lips. The sores cause pain during urination and can heal up with time. Headache, loss of appetite and fever can also develop as symptoms.
HIV/AIDS: caused by a virus, destroys the body immune system and its ability to fight against diseases. Human Immunodeficiency VIRUS (HIV) leads to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Symptoms may take weeks, months and even years before showing up. The only way to know one’s status is to get tested. Symptoms include fever, headache, high temperature, cough, difficulty in breathing, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue sores on throats and body parts, different disease attacks.
Chancroid: is a bacterial infection caused by Hemophilus ducreyi. It is transmitted through sexual intercourse. Symptoms are sores, ulcer and pain in the external genital areas.
Pubic lice:this infection is caused by an ectoparasite which is crab lice in this case. They are like bugs seen with the naked eyes and are seen on the pubic hair. They can be transmitted through sexual or close intercourse. Itching of the genital is the major symptoms.
Scabies: this is also an ectoparasitic infection, caused by mites, with the scientific name “Sarcoptes scabiei”. The mites cannot be seen with the naked eyes; they live on the skin and cause the itching of body parts such as the hand, legs and buttocks. They are transmitted through close contact or sexual intercourse.
How to Prevent of Sexually Transmitted Disease And Infections (STDs And STIs)
Prevention is better than cure. Sexual Abstinence is the safest for teenagers and unmarried people. Abstinence from the body fluids and body contacts of an infected person can prevent transmission. For those that cannot abstain from sex, safe and protected sex with the use of Condoms is another option. Multiple sexual partners expose an individual to sexually transmitted infections. Having a sexual partner and being faithful to spouse and sex partners reduces STIs. Condoms should not be used repeatedly or for several sex partners.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases can be treated with antibiotics, medications which can be given orally or by injections. Medical tests should be carried out in medical laboratories for diagnosis, prescription of medications and treatment. This is because diseases have different treatments even with their similarities of symptoms. Self medication should be avoided and adequate medical attention should be sought. The chronic ones like AIDS can only be managed as there is no yet cure for it. Any form of symptoms or irritations should be treated as soon as possible because those that are left untreated for a long time can result to severe organ damage, infertility, sterility, loss of libido, miscarriages in pregnancy and death.
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