Sexually transmitted diseases, often referred to as STDs , Sexually Transmitted Infections STIs or venereal diseases, are a group of different diseases and infections that are transmitted from person to person during any type of sexual contact. They can cause serious health problems, including death. And, unfortunately, they also often have no symptoms, which means that someone could unknowingly transmit a disease.
But, there is good news. Each of the diseases in this group is highly preventable. Abstaining from sex is the sure way to avoid getting an STD. If you do have sex, either use a latex condom for protection each and every time from start to finish, or always stay faithful with one, uninfected partner. Choosing one of these simple practices allows you to avoid taking risks and protect yourself from getting a sexually transmitted disease.
STDs come in many forms. In the three counties covered by the Region 7 Public Health Office, the most prevalent diseases are Chlamydia, HIV/AIDS, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, Genital Herpes, Trichomonas and Syphilis. We have included some basic information about the more common STDs:
When Can I Have Sex Again After Being Diagnosed
|Chlamydia||Usually no symptoms are evident. If symptoms are present, they may include vaginal discharge, burning during urination, unusual vaginal bleeding, bleeding after sex, abdominal pain, unusual discharge from the penis or itching at the end of the penis. This is the major cause of pelvic inflammatory disease in women.||Can cause an infection of the urethra in men and an infection of the cervix in women. Possible long term effects include infertility, chronic pain, arthritis. Major cause of pelvic inflammatory disease in women.||Chlamydia can be cured with antibiotics. Be sure to take all the medication, do not stop when the symptoms go away||You should not have sex until you have finished all of the medication. Also, you should not have sex until your partner has also been treated|
|Gonorrhea||Women usually do not have any symptoms. When they do have symptoms, they can include vaginal discharge, burning during urination, unusual vaginal bleeding, bleeding after sex, abdominal pain. Most men have symptoms, usually within 2-5 days after being infected. Symptoms experienced by men include unusual discharge from the penis and/or burning during urination||If not treated early, the infection can spread to the uterus, cervix and Fallopian tubes in a women, causing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which can make it difficult or impossible to have children. In men, the disease can damage reproductive organs and cause sterility||Gonorrhea can be cured with antibiotics. Be sure to take all the medicatio. Do not stop when the symptoms go away.||You should not have sex until you have finished all of the medication. Also, you should not have sex until your partner has also been treated|
|Hepatitis B||About 30% of persons have no signs or symptoms. When symptoms are experienced, they include jaundice , fatigue , abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and joint pain.||While 90% of the people infected with this disease recover with no chronic problems, it can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death.||There is no cure for Hepatitis B. The best treatment is prevention. There is also a vaccine available. Ask your health care provider for more information about preventing this disease with a vaccination.||Tell your sex partner that you have Hepatitis B so they can get tested and/or vaccinated. To avoid passing Hepatitis B to your sex partners you should always use latex condoms during sexual intercourse.|
|Herpes, Genital (HSV-1 & HSV-2)||Most individuals have no or only minimal signs. When symptoms do occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum. The blisters break, leaving tender ulcers (sores) that may take two to four weeks to heal the first time they occur. Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months after the first, but it almost always is less severe and shorter than the first episode. Although the infection can stay in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to go down over a period of years. Other signs and symptoms during the primary episode may include a second crop of sores, or flu-like symptoms, including fever and swollen glands. However, most individuals with HSV-2 infection may never have sores, or they may have very mild signs that they don't even notice or that they mistake for insect bites or a rash.Most people diagnosed with a first episode of genital herpes can expect to have several symptomatic recurrences a year (typically four or five). These recurrences usually are most noticeable within the first year following the first episode.||Genital herpes can cause recurrent painful genital sores in many adults, and the infection can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.||There is no cure for Genital Herpes. Antiviral medications can shorten and prevent outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication.||You should not have sex until all of the sores have completely healed and disappeared. You should also always use a condom during sex as a person can infect others even when there are no symptoms.|
|HIV/AIDS||Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms
at all for many years. Some symptoms that MAY occur are: rapid
weight loss; dry cough; recurring fever or profuse night sweats;
profound and unexplained fatigue; swollen lymph glands in
the armpits, groin, or neck; diarrhea that lasts for more
than a week; white spots or unusual blemishes on the tongue,
in the mouth, or in the throat; Pneumonia; red, brown, pink,
or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth,
nose, or eyelids; memory loss, depression, and other neurological
The only way to determine for sure whether you are infected is to be tested for HIV infection.
|The HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. Current estimates are that about half the people with HIV develop AIDS within 10 years after becoming infected with HIV. This time varies greatly from person to person and can depend on many factors, including a person's health status and their health-related behaviors.||There is no cure for HIV or AIDS. There are medical treatments
that can slow down the rate at which HIV weakens the immune
system. There are other treatments that can prevent or cure
some of the illnesses associated with AIDS, though the treatments
do not cure AIDS itself.
The best course of action in the fight against HIV & AIDS is prevention
|You can abstain from sex. If you do have sex, you should also always use a condom. People infected with this disease should never again have unprotected sex. Anyone infected with this disease is required by law to let all partners know they have HIV/AIDS.|
|Syphilis||In the initial stage a person usually has a sore that is not usually painful and will go away in about 2-3 weeks without any medication. In the next stage, a person may experience a rash that starts on the palms of the hands or the feet. Symptoms may also include swollen lymph nodes, hair may fall out in patches and you may experience flu-like symptoms. These symptoms will disappear on their own without medication. In the third, latent stage of the disease, when the disease does the most damage, there are no symptoms.||Long term effects can include damage to the heart, blood vessels, brain and other internal organs.||Syphilis can usually be cured with injections of antibiotics.||You should not have sex until you have finished the course of treatment, and all symptoms have disappeared. Also, you should not have sex until your partner has also been treated|