Sexually transmitted diseases or diseases (STIs, STDs) are infections that are transmitted from one person to another through sexual contact. The contact is usually vaginal, oral or anal. However, it can sometimes spread through other intimate physical contacts. This is due to the fact that some STDs, such as herpes and HPV, spread only through skin-to-skin contact.
Some STIs are harmless, but others can cause serious complications if left untreated. HIV, for example, has multiple routes of transmission. These STDs can be spread, for example, through the use of contaminated medication needles as well as sexual contact. STDs can infect anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or hygiene practices. Many STDs can also be transmitted through non-penetrative sexual activity.
According to the World Health Organization, around one million STIs are acquired every day worldwide. They also predicted 374 million cases of one of four sexually transmitted diseases in 2020: chlamydia (129 million), gonorrhea (82 million), syphilis (7.1 million), and trichomoniasis (156 million).
The numbers are alarming, but these diseases can be prevented. Learn about some STIs, how to prevent them, and when to seek medical attention.
Various causes of sexually transmitted diseases
STDs, or STDs, can be caused by:
bacteria: Syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are some of the sexually transmitted diseases caused by bacteria.
Parasites: Trichomoniasis It is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite.
Viruses: STDs Caused by viruses include human papillomavirus, genital herpes, and HIV.
Other types of infection: Hepatitis A, B, and C viruses, shigella and giardia infections. It can be spread through sexual activity, but it is possible to become infected without sexual contact.
Anyone who engages in sexual activity is at risk of contracting an STD or STD. The following factors may increase the risk:
- Having unprotected sex. Vaginal or anal penetration by an infected partner who is not wearing a latex condom greatly increases the risk of an STI. Improper or inconsistent use of condoms can also increase risks.
- Although oral sex is less risky, infection can still be passed on if a latex condom or dental diaphragm (a thin, square piece of latex or silicone rubber) is not used.
- Having sex with more than one partner. The more people you have a sexual relationship with, the higher your risk.
- Having a history of sexually transmitted diseases. Having an STI makes it easier for another person to take hold.
- Forced sexual activity. It is difficult to deal with rape or assault, but it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to receive examination, treatment, and emotional support.
- Abuse of alcohol or recreational drug use and substance abuse can impair judgment, making you more willing to engage in risky behaviors.
- Injecting drugs Many dangerous infections, including HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, are spread through sharing needles.
- Half of all new STDs are diagnosed in people between the ages of 15 and 24.
Types of STDs
pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
A variety of microorganisms can cause PID in the female upper reproductive tract. Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhea are the two most common pathogens, accounting for four out of five cases.
Pelvic inflammatory disease caused by a chlamydia infection usually has mild or no symptoms, but it must be treated as soon as possible. Otherwise, it can lead to inflammation of the ovaries and fallopian tubes, just like other types of PID. Moreover, because pelvic inflammatory disease affects the fallopian tubes, where pregnancy occurs, the female may experience lower abdominal pain. In other words, infertility may be the end result of pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Discomfort in the lower abdomen
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- painful intercourse
- Menstrual disorders
HIV and AIDS
AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and is spread through unprotected sexual contact with an infected person or by injecting drugs with a contaminated needle. It can also be transmitted through intravenous drug use. In addition, it can also be transmitted through blood, blood products, needles, or other sharp objects contaminated with infected body fluids or blood.
When HIV microorganisms enter the bloodstream, they hijack a type of white blood cell known as helper T lymphocytes (also known as CD4 cells, T cells, or helper-Ts). The T cells of a healthy immune system work together to help the body defend itself against disease. However, the hijacked T cells are forced to replicate HIV in large numbers. If the helper T cells are left untreated, they produce large amounts of HIV, depleting the number of normal helper T cells in the bloodstream, making the individual susceptible to AIDS.
The five most common are as follows:
- Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia
- AIDS-related wasting syndrome
- Candidiasis of the stomach
- Kaposi’s sarcoma
When the immune system is functioning properly, opportunistic diseases do not pose a significant threat; However, when the body’s defenses are compromised, as in AIDS, they seize the opportunity to wreak havoc.
However, in the first ten years of the AIDS crisis, the disease was a de facto death sentence for most of those who contracted it. Few people live on average more than two years. Today, however, there are many different types of HIV medications available. While HIV is still incurable, good adherence to medication can allow those infected to live long, productive lives without AIDS.
- Difficulty swallowing
- night sweats
- Weight loss
- Chronic diarrhea
- Itching, rash/skin lesions
- Chronic cough
- confusion / delirium
- breathing difficulties
Chlamydia infection is sometimes confused with gonorrhea, a bacterial infection spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Not only do they share many of the same symptoms, but they can also occur concurrently.
Gonorrhea usually begins in the urethra (the opening of the bladder) or the cervix. On the other hand, the rapidly spreading bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae can migrate to the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Infections, such as chlamydia, can affect the rectum.
Two to ten days after exposure, symptoms usually begin to appear.
- Penis ejection
- Burning when urinating, ranging from mild to severe
- It can progress to epididymitis
- Yellow or bloody vaginal discharge, as well as pain or burning when urinating
- Bleeding between periods
- development of pelvic inflammatory disease
- anal secretions
- anal itching
- painful bowel movements
Chlamydia, the most common type of sexually transmitted bacteria, is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, which can infect the urethra and cervix (the opening of the uterus). It is common among teenagers between the ages of fifteen and nineteen. The disease is easily treated, but, like other STIs, chlamydia is often silent and therefore not diagnosed until it has progressed to a more serious stage.
Three out of four women and one in two men have no symptoms. Hence, by the time the girl seeks medical care, the disease progresses to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID, as described above), which is a major cause of female infertility and pelvic pain in 40% of cases.
Symptoms begin to appear one to three weeks after exposure.
- Unexpected vaginal discharge
- Increase in pelvic inflammation
- expulsion of the penis
- Discomfort when urinating
- Progression towards epididymitis, an inflammation of the tube-like structure of sperm transport and storage
Genital herpes (HSV-1, HSV-2)
The herpes simplex viruses, which cause genital herpes, are classified into two types. Also, herpes simplex 2 is most commonly found around the vagina, penis, anus, buttocks, and thighs. Herpes simplex type 1a type 2 causes cold sores around the outside of the mouth, as well as blisters on the gums or in the throat. On the other hand, HSV-1 can infect the anal-genital area, and both types can be transmitted to the mouth through oral sex.
Genital herpes is a chronic, lifelong condition because the virus permanently infects the sensory nerves at the base of the spinal cord. HSV is asleep most of the time. It occasionally becomes active, causing sores or vesicles, most notably small sores that look like cold sores. These outbreaks, which usually last about a week, should be interpreted as a sign that the disease is contagious. The virus spreads into the nerves leading to the surface of the skin where it multiplies and causes new sores. (The initial symptoms of genital herpes are usually more severe and last longer than subsequent episodes.) Even if there are no sores or lesions, the disease may be contagious.
Symptoms appear two to ten days after exposure. In general, the first episode lasts anywhere from two to three weeks:
- Itching or burning in the genitals, also known as the anus
- Genital, buttock and leg pain
- Discharge from the cervix
- Feeling of pressure in the abdomen
- small red bumps on the vagina, cervix, penis, and/or anal area; They develop into blisters that then turn into painful open sores.
- fever and headache
- muscle pain
- Painful or difficult urination
There are many varieties, symptoms, diagnoses, and preventive measures that are most important for sexually transmitted diseases. Which will be covered in more detail in the next part (Part 2) of this article.