A person can be exposed to sexually transmitted diseases (STD) through either oral, anal, virginal intercourse or even through genital touching. Everyone can be subjected to an STD, no matter the sexuality or the sex.
You should always be careful about getting an infection from your partner. Be cautious and do not just hope or believe them that they do not have an STD, since many people may not even be aware of having it.
You need to know for certain. Condoms are very effective in reducing transmission of some of the STDs, however, not of all of them.
It is not always obvious if a person has an STD, since some of them do not show any signs. If you suspect something, always check with your physician.
It is important that you are aware of the fact that some of them are easily treatable, others require complicated treatments, and some of them do not even have cure. Nonetheless it is essential for a person with STD to get treated and inform their partner of their diagnosis.
If the STD is curable, yet left untreated, the chances of acquiring another STD like HIV are much higher, since your immune system is impaired. STDs that are not treated may even cause infertility in some cases.
How Can You Know If You Have an STD
Most often sexually transmitted diseases do not show any signs or symptoms. However, your sex partner is in danger as well. The most important thing is to always use protection, although it may not always work.
Regular visits to the doctor are a must if you are sexually active, so you can identify an infection early, and lower the chances of passing it on to your partner.
Some of the diseases can only be transmitted sexually, like gonorrhea. However, some of the STDs can even be transmitted without sexual contact.
If a person comes into contact with another person’s blood they can infect themselves with hepatitis or HIV.
Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
This is a sexually transmitted infection on the genital tract and it is one of those infections that are difficult to be detected. The reason is because chlamydia has very few symptoms that can be detected in the early stage.
The symptoms usually occur after a week or three after a person has been exposed to the infection. The signs can be so mild that usually people do not pay attention to them.
Signs and Symptoms
Usually, people who have Chlamydia experience painful urination and pain in the lower abdomen. Women have vaginal discharge, experience pain during sexual intercourse, and they can even bleed between periods.
Men also discharge from the penis and they experience pain in the testicles as well.
Gonorrhea is also a bacterial STD that often goes together with Chlamydia. It can affect the anus, the throat, the eyes, or the urethra, so it can be transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
This infection also does not show any early symptoms, but they appear within 10 days after a person has been exposed to it.
Signs and Symptoms
People who have been infected may be having pain while urinating or burning sensation, and anal itching. Also, they may have a bloody discharge from their genitals, which can also be thick and cloudy.
They will experience painful bowel movements as well. Women might bleed between periods or bleed heavily during their periods, and men may have painful and swollen testicles.
The parasite that causes this sexually transmitted disease is called Trichomonas vaginalis. This parasite can only be spread through a sexual intercourse with someone who already has it.
Similarly to the previous two, this infection does not show early signs. However, thrichomoniasis usually infects the urinary tract in men and the vagina in women.
It takes around 25 to 28 days for the symptoms to appear. They may be mild, or they may cause severe inflammations.
Signs and Symptoms
Once a person gets infected they experience pain during urinating or during sexual intercourse. Men have a discharge from their penis, and it also causes irritation and itching sensation to this organ.
Women have strong vaginal odor and they also have a discharge from their vagina, which can be yellowish, greenish, white or clear. Nonetheless, if the color is unusual, you should check for symptoms.
HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus
HIV or human immunodeficiency virus is an infection that makes your body easily susceptible to viruses, bacteria, and fungi which might cause an array of illnesses.
It attacks a person’s immune system, and the organism is unable to fight the infections. HIV usually takes years to make the body lose its ability to fight infection and to eventually lead to AIDS, which is a chronic disease that has no cure and it is fatal for the human life.
However, there are powerful therapies that can help people with HIV and AIDS live longer.
The infection can be transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluids or breast milk. The most common way of getting HIV is through unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, or through an already used needle form a person who has already been infected.
These are the only bodily fluids that can transmit HIV. Therefore, kissing is safe as long as there are no cuts in the mouth from both partners, since it cannot be transmitted through saliva.
Signs and Symptoms (Early Stages)
In the first two to six weeks after a person has been infected they might not experience any symptoms. However, in that time some might experience symptoms that are similar to flu, but that still cannot be a certain sign. The most accurate way for knowing if you have been infected is to do a HIV test.
The earliest signs of HIV are the ones typical of flu: headache, fatigue, fever, rash, swollen lymph glands, sore throat etc. However, these often disappear during a week or a month-time period, and most people confuse them with flu.
The virus slowly destroys the immune cells and it can be even years for the body to show certain signs of HIV. It may even take 10 years or more for that to happen.
The virus can begin by slowly attacking the immune system and developing some mild infections, and as it grows the symptoms can get chronic. If your lymph nodes are swollen it is usually the first sign of the virus.
Also, you may experience diarrhea that comes together with weight loss. Moreover, fever, coughing and not having the ability to take a breath can be some of the signs.
Signs and Symptoms (Late Stage)
A person who had contracted HIV might wake up soaking wet from sweating during their sleep. They will constantly experience fatigue and headaches without any particular reason or explanation for why that happens.
The fever, which often comes together with shaking chills, can be up to 38 °C for several weeks and not go down. If the lymph nodes are swollen for more than 3 months, and you have chronic diarrhea and unusual infections do an HIV test immediately.
Genital herpes is easily contagious and it is caused by HSV or herpes simplex virus. There are two strains, HSV-1 (oral herpes) and HSV-2 (genital herpes). This virus enters the body’s mucous membranes through small breakages of the skin.
This STD, just like the rest of the ones on this list, does not have easily noticeable early signs. Therefore most people are not aware of having it since they do not notice the symptoms.
However, when they start being noticeable there are also two stages of the genital herpes. The first one is the worst and it can be so bad that some people do not even have a second one, and others can experience this stage for years, even decades.
Herpes can be easily transmitted since all it takes is a contact to the skin. Even if you are using protection during sexual intercourse and there are parts of the skin that are touching, you have a chance of getting herpes.
The most contagious stage is when a person has the blisters. Viruses cannot be cured, so there is no cure for herpes. However, there are medications that can treat them.
Signs and Symptoms
Usually, small and red bumps appear on the genital area. There are often blisters and open sores in the genitals, the nearby areas and the anus. These areas can be painful and they might itch a lot.
The symptoms of the virus start with itching and pain in the first few weeks after a person has been infected. The red bumps appear after several days.
These break, and open sores on the place they have appeared. These sores start to ooze and bleed until they make a crust on the skin’s surface, which will later heal.
These ulcers and sores can erupt inside the vagina, the external part, the anus, the buttocks or the cervix. Men can have them on the penis, the scrotum, anus and buttocks, and even inside the urethra.
These open sores cause a feeling of pain and tenderness in the genitalia and painful urination. In the early stages you can get headache, fever, swollen lymph nodes and pain in the muscles.
HPV or Human Papilloma Virus
Human Papilloma virus is actually a group of viruses that has more than 150 strains. Among them, there are low-risk and high-risk strains.
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted disease, and almost every sexually active person can have HPV at some point of their lives.
There are more than 30 strains of HPV that can be transmitted sexually, which means through vaginal, anal or oral intercourse. But skin-to-skin contact is also not excluded.
Signs and symptoms
HPV usually does not have early signs and symptoms, and most types of HPV are not harmful since the body gets rid of them by itself.
Some of the symptoms you might notice are small swellings in the genitals, itching and discomfort in the genital area, bleeding while sexual intercourse, and several warts close to each other that make a shape of a cauliflower.
Some of the strains cause genital warts, infections in the mouth and throat, and some of them can even cause cancer of the mouth, throat, cervix and penis.
Genital warts grow on different places. In women it can be on the walls of the vagina, on the vulva, the area between the external genitals, the anus, and the cervix. In men they usually appear on the tip of the penis, the anus, or the scrotum.
However, there are two vaccines that prevent HPV, and they have been approved by the FDA: Gardasil and Cervarix. The vaccines are recommended for young men from 11 to 21, and women from 11 to 26.
Syphilis is the trickiest of all STDs and it is a bacterial infection. It has four stages during which it can affect your genitals, the skin and also other parts of the body like the heart or the brain.
Despite these four stages, there is another stage of syphilis, called congenital syphilis, which occurs when a pregnant woman infected with syphilis passes the infection to her newborn.
Signs and Symptoms
This stage starts with a sore and it may occur from 10 days to 3 months after a person has been infected. The sore is usually small, painless, and usually on the tongue, lips, genitals, or rectum.
It can look like a rash or a cut. It can heal without being treated, however it may appear again in the next stages.
In this stage usually there is a small reddish rash which can appear anywhere in the body.
It is accompanied by fever, swollen lymph nodes, soreness, fatigue and feeling of discomfort. However, these symptoms may disappear without a treatment and reappear again.
This stage has no signs or symptoms. It may or may not follow the secondary stage, which means the signs may never appear again or the disease may progress to the tertiary stage. This stage can last for years or for the rest of a person’s life.
This stage can be achieved if the syphilis is untreated, which makes the bacteria spread. It is dangerous since it may cause serious damage of the internal organs and it can be a cause of death.
There is a small percentage that develops this stage. But if it happens it can cause nerve damage and affect the brain. Antibiotics can treat syphilis, and it is best if they are prescribed earlier.