A Guide To What An STD Is
An STD or a Sexually transmitted disease is a virus that is transferred from one person to the other mostly via an unprotected sexual act. They are also recognized as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) or Venereal Diseases (VD). Such viruses not only spread through unprotected sexual intercourse but also via the use of unsterilized drug needles, they can be transferred during childbirth and breastfeeding as well, via blood transfusion and Oral sexual practices.
Yeast, Viruses, and Bacterias generally take birth and propagate in warm, moist places. Hence genitals fulfilling both these criteria are a perfect place for such diseases to grow. Not only can they take birth from one's genitals but can also move through blood, semen, mucus and vaginal discharges during any form of physical intercourse.
Types of STDs
There are several types of Sexually transmitted diseases. The most easily recognizable ones are:
- Gonorrhea: Also known as the clap or drip, it is a contagious inflammation of the genital mucous membrane caused by the Gonococcus which is a pus producing bacterium contracted because of unprotected sexual intercourse. Like any other virus, it stays in the warmer and moist cavities of the body. It is a highly contagious disease which spreads quickly through the body.
- Chlamydia: A bacterial infection/disease that causes or is associated with various diseases of the eye or urogenital tract including trachoma, cervicitis, etc. It is transmitted through oral, anal or vaginal sex with someone who is also infected by the same. In most people who are infected by chlamydia, symptoms are dormant but are displayed over the weeks. Some never show any symptoms at all but can be detected through medical examination and tests. If not treated soon, one or more bodily symptoms like inflammation of the pelvis, irregular bleeding during periods and pain during sexual intercourse are experienced.
- Pubic Lice or Crabs: This is an infestation of lice that usually occurs and spreads due to sexual contact. Such form of lice can be found on other bodily areas with hair like the eyebrows, mustache, armpits, and beard. They breed in heavy numbers and survive on human blood. They are also known as crabs because of their crab-like appearance. Products like lotions and shampoos containing Permethrin can be used to treat the infestation.
- HIV and AIDS: HIV or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus is either of the two retroviruses that infect and destroy helper T cells of the immune system causing the marked reduction in their numbers that is diagnostic of AIDS, also known as the AIDS virus. It leaves the infected host immensely vulnerable to diseases and infections that with time will evolve into deadlier forms of itself. This virus can be found and travel through the blood, semen, breast milk, mucus, vaginal and rectal discharge. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this but can be regulated through medication and regular checkups.
- Genital Herpes: Any of the several inflammatory diseases of the skin caused by the Herpesvirus and is characterized by clusters of vesicles which are like cysts. This virus affects the skin, genitals, cervix and a few other parts of the body. This being a chronic disease, individuals affected by it will not necessarily show any symptoms.
- Hepatitis B: It is an acute or chronic disease caused by a DNA virus of the genus Orthohepadnavirus. The marked symptoms are mainly fatigue, fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, darkened urine, jaundice, and joint pain but may be dormant at the beginning. It is contracted via unprotected sexual intercourse, use of an unsterilized syringe, feeding on infected breast milk, accidental prick by a sharp object and being directly bitten by an infected person. The virus can travel through mucus, semen, saliva, and blood which makes it the part of a deadlier epidemic. Unfortunately, there is no cure but it can be prevented by early vaccinations and safe sex.
- Syphilis: This disease is bacterial at its core caused by the bacteria Treponema Pallidum and the infection caused by it, generally goes unnoticed in the initial stage. The very first symptom is a small ulcer which in medical terms is known as a chancre. This ulcer can thrive on the genitals, the anus, and the mouth. The symptoms of the later stage are fever, headache, weight loss, joint pain, rash, hair loss, and fatigue. Luckily if Syphilis is caught in its early stage then it is effortlessly curable by the use of antibiotics. It is gravely dangerous for newborns and infants. If not treated soon enough, Syphilis can cause immense problems like loss of hair, extreme fatigue, loss of vision, mental illness, loss of hearing, brain and spinal cord infection and death. The earlier this disease is diagnosed and treated the less harm and damage it causes.
Treatment of STDs
The diagnosis and treatment of each STD differs and can be found in the types that are mentioned above in detail. It is strictly adviced by doctors to get regular checkups for the sake of early detection if any. It is also very important that the STD is completely gotten rid of before any person can resume being sexually active. As the risk of the infection spreading further gets higher with every minute. Being responsible and taking a smart approach for the prevention of STDs is the best for every individual which will keep one far away from further health issues in the future.
General preventive practices
The best and safest ways to prevent getting an STD are as follows:
- Use of sheath barriers like latex condoms for men, dental dams for oral sex and diaphragms for women during all forms of sexual intercourse like vaginal, anal and oral. Condoms are cheap and easily available at any pharmacy or convenience store. It not only helps protect one from STDs but is also one of the best methods amongst many others to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
- Washing of the genitals especially before and after sex and avoiding the sharing of one towel and underclothing.
- Getting regular clinical checkups.
- Getting a series of three vaccinations for Hepatitis B. An early treatment is the best way to deal with it.
- Avoiding having any form of sexual intercourse while being under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs and alcohol. People under the influence of such substances tend to be very careless and are susceptible to make mistakes that make them vulnerable to unwanted and sometimes life-threatening STDs.
- One can easily consider that having no sex is also the best way to prevent contracting an STD.
- Follow exactly what the doctor recommends if one is found to have been contracted an STD.
- Getting rechecks done during and after treatment.
- Making sure that an individual’s partner is also clinically checked at the same time.
- Explanation of wanting to have safe sex with one's partner beforehand.
The power in being aware of one’s sexual and bodily well being should be a priority as it will keep one safe and sound for a longer period of time. Following the methods of prevention and cure are a safeguard to having a healthy sex life both for an individual and their partner.
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