Many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as venereal
diseases, are present without causing any symptoms. When symptoms are
present, they include itching, swelling or rash on the genitals and
surrounding areas, pus or foul smelling genital discharge, frequent or
painful urination, genital warts or ulcers, fever, achiness, pelvic or
abdominal pain, and/or painful intercourse.
Since symptoms of STDs
mimic many other conditions, your doctor may order various laboratory
tests to pinpoint your condition. Many STDs are very treatable. If you
are experiencing unusual symptoms, or have had sexual contact with a
possibly infected individual, talk to your doctor about being tested for
STD TestingAfter a physical exam, your doctor may prescribe blood and urine tests
to identify infection or tumor markers (substances produced by cancer
or by other cells in response to cancer). Samples of bodily fluids can
be used in a sexually transmitted infection screening to help
identifying bacterial or other infections in the semen.
using x-ray or ultrasound devices can identify structural problems in
the testes or penis. If cancer is suspected, a biopsy may be taken.
Most STDs are caused by bacteria or viruses, and many are highly treatable if identified early.
Treating Bacterial STD's with Antibiotics
Antibiotics are effective forms of treatment for the following bacterial venereal diseases.
is the most common bacterial STD transmitted through sexual contact.
Some individual experience genital discharge and painful urination, but
others do not express any symptoms at all.
Gonorrhea is another common STD. Like Chlamydia, many infected individuals don’t express any symptoms.Syphilis
can be life threatening if left untreated – it can progress to
conditions which cause stroke or meningitis. There are often no symptoms
associated with syphilis, but one identifying symptom is a painful,
open sore around the genitals. Sores may also be present around the
mouth, hands, or anus.
Syphilis can be transmitted through sexual
contact, or through non-sexual skin-to-skin contact. Talk to your doctor
if you have sores and you have had contact with an infected individual.
Treating Viral STDs
The following viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics.
is an STD caused by contact with the Herpes Simplex Virus Type2 (HSV-2)
during vaginal, oral or anal sex. Herpes Simplex Virus Type1 (HSV-1) is
a related condition caused by oral sex or by non-sexual contact. Both
can be controlled by anti-viral drugs.
Genital warts are
caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus and are characterized by
cauliflower-like clusters on or around the genital area. Although there
is no cure for genital warts, topical medications can help. Sometimes
clusters can be removed with minor surgery.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
(AIDS) is an incurable STD caused by the human immunodeficiency virus
(HIV); HIV is spread through sexual contact with an infected individual
or by coming in contact with infected needles. Mothers with HIV can
transmit the virus to their children through gestation, childbirth or
nursing. After being infected with HIV, some people experience flu-like
symptoms for 1-4 weeks. Some people experience no symptoms at all. HIV
can remain dormant for years before developing into AIDS. There has been
great progress in developing anti-viral cocktails (mixtures of drugs)
which prolong the life and improve the health of an HIV-positive
individual. Talk to your doctor immediately if you suspect you have had
unprotected exposure to an HIV positive individual.
You can protect yourself from contracting STDs by:
- abstaining from sexual contact
- limiting the number of sexual partners you have
- avoiding sexual contact with infected individuals
- correctly using a condom
- ensuring that you use sterile needles
to your doctor immediately if you have disconcerting symptoms or
suspect you have been exposed to an infected individual. STD testing and
treatment can save your life and the lives of people close to you.