Sexually Transmitted Diseases Essay, Research Paper
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
A major question facing many teenagers is whether or not to have sex. A result of having sex is contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Sexually transmitted diseases, or venereal diseases affect 10 to 12 million Americans each year. (Daugirdas 75) In the United States, sexually transmitted diseases strike an average of one person every 1.5 seconds. (76) About half of STD patients are under the age of twenty-five. (Landers 45) Nearly 2.5 million teenagers are infected with these deadly diseases. (Welsh A-5) A few types of sexually transmitted diseases are gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, syphilis, etc. These diseases can be fatal if not attended to. In addition to those epidemic diseases already mentioned, such diseases include syphilis, crab lice, vaginal infection caused by the Hemophilus bacterium, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and the list goes on and on. There are many ways to transmit these diseases.
Transmission of all these diseases occurs only by intimate contact with an infected person, because all of the causative organisms die quickly if removed from the human body. (Leone 128) Although the usual area of contact is the genital, the practice of anal and oral sex also leads to cases of anal and oral infections. (130) A few of these diseases, notably chancroid and scabies, can be spread by the infected person from one area of skin to another by the hands. (Daugardis 86) Gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydial infections can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her infant, either in the uterus or during birth. Such congenital infections can be quite severe. Although venereal infections start at the external genitalia, they can spread to the prostate, uterus, testes, and nearby organs. (87) Most of these infections cause only irritation, itching, and
minor pain, but gonorrhea and chlamydial urethritis are a major cause of infertility in women.
People with sexually transmitted diseases may have no symptoms or symptoms that are so mild that they do not aware the person to seek medical attention. For example, almost half of the women with gonorrhea have no significant symptoms, and up to 3 percent of men will feel perfectly well. (Welsh A-5) Some STDs have overlapping symptoms. Swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin may accompany many sexually transmitted infections and may be tender or painless. (Leone 135) Such swelling may be the only manifestation of a relatively rare STD called lymphogranuloma venereum. Unusual or increased discharge from the penis or vagina can be a symptom of a number of STDs, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, and particularly in women, vaginitis, which encompasses three different infections: bacterial, yeast, and trichomoniasis, which is caused by a protozoan. (135)
Some STDs can cause skin lesions in the genital area. One of the first symptoms of syphilis is the chancre, a relatively painless ulcer found at the site of infection, which is
usually, but not always, the genital area. (Daugardis 107) Herpes causes sores in the genital area that are very similar to cold sores. Genital warts, caused by the human papilloma virus, resemble warts on other parts of the body and can be found both internally and externally in the genital region. (108) Large, painful genital ulcers are symptomatic of the bacterial infection chancroid, common is Southeast Asia, but rare in the United States. (Leone 137) Small bumps around the genitals may be molluscum contagiosum, a viral disease spread by contact; this infection is also acquired nonsexually
by young children. Itchy, crusted scabies lesions result from infestation with the mite Sarcoptes scabiei, which burrows into the superficial layers of the skin. Itching in the pubic hair region may result from infestation with Phthirus pubis, the crab louse, which is spread by close contact. (138)
This epidemic nature of sexually transmitted diseases attests to the difficulty of controlling them. Some public health officials attribute the increase in many of these diseases to increasing sexual activity. Also significant may be the replacement of the condom with birth control pills and diaphragms. Patterns of sexually transmitted disease also change. Whereas syphilis and gonorrhea were both epidemic at one time, widespread use of penicillin brought syphilis under moderate control. (Scott 52) Attention then turned to control of gonorrhea, at which time syphilis again began to increase in frequency. (52) The only definite way of controlling these deadly diseases is through abstinence. Other ways of control is by the use of a condom.
Treatment for these diseases can be rather easy with the proper medication and if taken care of promptly. One of the most effective ways to treat these diseases is with antibiotics. (59) Penicillin has been an effective drug against syphilis and gonorrhea, but many gonorrheal organisms are now resistant to this agent. (63) Ceftriaxone or spectinomycin is effective in these instances. (64) There are many other antibiotics being created everyday to treat these diseases.
Sexually transmitted diseases is a serious problem facing the teens of this country, but through proper protection and knowledge of the diseases, they can overcome this
epidemic. The only true way to protect oneself from any sort of diseases is by abstinence.
1. Daugirdas, John T.
Hinsdale, Ill.: Medtext, Inc., 1992.
2. Landers, Ann.
Ann Landers talks to teenagers about sex.
New York: Fawcett Crest, 1963.
3. Leone, Bruno.
St. Paul, Minnesota: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1983.
4. Scott, Fred J.
STDs : Prevention and Treatment.
New York: Rosen Pub. Group, 1990.
5. Welsh, Patrick.
“Sex and Today’s Teen-ager.”
Washington Post: Washington D.C., Nov. 29, 1987.