Sexually Transmitted Diseases Essay, Research Paper
Sexually transmitted diseases, STD’s, also known as Venereal diseases, VD, are spread through sexual contact, and the exchange of body fluids. Anyone who is sexually active can contract an STD. Most STD’s don’t show symptoms, so you can have, spread and even contract an STD without even knowing it. Some STD’s are serious and others can have long term consequences. Some of the consequences could be infertility, certain cancers, and other chronic diseases years after initial infection. If symptoms do appear it may take anywhere from two days to a couple of months after initial exposure to appear. Some may take years to show up. One out of every five Americans carry a sexually transmitted disease. More than thirteen million are affected every year. Nearly one-fifth infected are younger than twenty-five years of age. Every year three million American teenagers acquire an STD. Adolescents are at a higher risk because they may have multiple partners, unprotected intercourse, and their partners are at higher risk. You would be at a higher risk of acquiring an STD if: you or your partner have had unprotected sex with someone, if you or your partner has had sex with someone after using drugs or alcohol, you or your partner have had sex after using cocaine, or you or your partner have used IV drugs.
Some general symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases are genital sores, bumps, or blisters, pain and itching. In men some common symptoms could be penile discharge, pain during urination, and testicular swelling or pain. In women general symptoms could be vaginal discharge, lower abdomen pain, painful intercourse, and painful urination. Bacterial STD’s like gonorrhea and chlamydia, can be cured with antibiotics. Viral STD’s like genital herpes are life long infections.
Ways to Prevent
The number one way to prevent STD’s is abstinence. If you do decide to become sexually active, you can do a few things to prevent a STD. For example you could talk to your partner about other sexual partners they may have had, ask them if they have ever had an STD, been exposed to one, or even symptoms of one. Another thing that you could do if you have sex is to use a condom or another form of a contraceptive that helps to prevent STD’s.
Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. If gonorrhea is not treated early, it can cause serious
problems, especially in women. About one million American men and women contract gonorrhea each year.
It is very easy to contract gonorrhea. You can contract it from unprotected anal, vaginal, and oral sex. Gonorrhea can be found on the tip of the penis, in the anus, in the vagina, in the throat, and also in the eye. You can also get gonorrhea from secondary contact. For example, if you have gonorrhea and you touch the infected part with your hand you now have the disease on your hand if you now touch your eye it is possible for you to get it in your eye.
It is possible to have gonorrhea and not have any symptoms. If symptoms do appear it will usually take from one to two weeks for anything to appear. Some possible symptoms could be discharge from the penis or vagina, the need to urinate often, burning or pain when urinating. In women bleeding between monthly periods. About half of the women with gonorrhea have no symptoms.
Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics. Ineffective or incomplete treatment can result in serious problems later, such as chronic lower abdominal pain, sterility, tubal pregnancy, and painful joints. In order to avoid reinfection and potential transmission of infection to others, you should stop having intercourse until both you and your partner are cured. The sooner you are treated the better your chances are for recovery.
Chlamydia is the number one sexually transmitted disease. In the United States, four million new cases of chlamydia occur every year.
You can get and spread chlamydia through unprotected vaginal and anal intercourse. Also intimate skin contact such as dry humping and genital-to-genital contact, even without penetration. You can also transmit the disease through secondary contact. For example, fondling, foreplay and petting.
Chlamydia is known as the “silent epidemic” because three quarters of women and half the men with the disease have no symptoms. Possible symptoms include discharge from the penis or vagina, a burning sensation when urinating. Additional symptoms for women include lower abdominal pain or pain during intercourse and bleeding between menstrual periods. Men may experience burning and itching around the opening of the penis, pain and swelling in the testicles.
Chlamydia can be treated by various antibiotics. Once you are cured you don’t have to worry about the infection coming back, unless you contract it from someone again.
Genital herpes is a chronic lifelong viral infection. It is estimated that 40 million people have it. Each year about five hundred million new people get symptomatic herpes. There are even more people who have no symptoms.
Herpes can be spread very easily, depending on how good your health is. The easiest way to get it would be intimate skin contact between the affected partners skin and your own bare skin. Also oral contact of any type can transmit it. Anytime there is direct skin contact with an open sore, there is a chance of infection.
Most people have no noticeable symptoms. If you do get symptoms you will probably notice them in about two to twenty days after being exposed to the infection. Early symptoms may include a burning sensation in the genitals, lower back pain, pain while urinating, and flu-like symptoms. A few days later, symptoms could be small red bumps in the genital area. Later these bumps may develop into painful blisters, which then crust over form a scab, and heal. Outbreaks of herpes can occur several times a year. Brought on by stress, sunlight, and sickness. Some people believe certain food can bring on an outbreak.
Herpes can be treated but not cured. Although herpes is a chronic, lifelong viral infection, you can treat the symptoms. Treatment of genital herpes outbreaks especially when started early, could shorten the duration of the outbreak and reduce the symptoms.
Pubic Lice and Scabies
Pubic lice is often called crabs. Scabies is often called itch mites. Pubic lice and scabies are tiny insects that live on the skin. Pubic lice infects the hairy parts of the body, especially around the groin area and under the arms. The eggs can be seen easily on the skin, where they may hatch in five to ten days. Scabies is an itchy rash, which is the result of female mite burrowing into a persons skin to lay her eggs.
Pubic lice and scabies are sometimes spread sexually, but you can also pick them up by using the same bed linens, clothes, or towels as an infected person. Skin-on-skin contact is not necessary, just lying next to someone that is infected could transmit them.
Some people infected with pubic lice may have no symptoms. But others may experience a lot of itching around the genital area. It will usually take about a week for symptoms to show. For scabies it will usually take about a month for symptoms to show. If it is your second infection, symptoms may appear after a day. Some people may see brown insects the size of a pinhead moving on the skin or oval eggs attached to the hair. The main symptom of scabies is itching, usually at night. A rash may appear in the folds of skin between the fingers or on the wrists, elbows, abdomen, or genitals.
The most effective treatment include shampoos and creams that contain lindane or related compounds. You can treat lice at home with these special creams and shampoos that are available at drug stores without a prescription. You may have to repeat the treatment a second time if it doesn’t all go away. Do not try to treat scabies on your own. Avoid close contact with others. If you have pubic lice or scabies then you should wash all of your clothes and bed linens in hot water.
Syphilis is a serious disease that can weaken the body, and even result in death, if it is not treated. You can have syphilis and pass it on to others and not even know it.
Of course you can get it from penetrative sex. You used to be able to get it from blood transfusions, but now the blood supplies are cleaner. You can get it from other kinds of skin contact too. Kissing, dry humping, petting, and foreplay involve skin contact, therefore, can transmit the infection. A mother can pass it on to her child during birth.
Syphilis has three stages, during the first stage, a painless sore may appear on the spot where the bacteria first entered the body, usually nine days after contact with an infected person. The sore may appear around or in the vagina, on the penis, or inside the mouth or anus. Sores that are inside the vagina or anus are usually unnoticed and go away. If they do go away you still have the bacterial infection and the second stage may start. The second stage starts from three weeks to three months after the first stage, and include flu-like symptoms and possible hair loss. Some people experience a rash on the palms of their hands, and soles of their feet, as well as all over the entire body. Although extremely rare, tertiary syphilis can appear three to ten years after the first and second stages. Symptoms of this stage may include skin lesions, mental deterioration, loss of sensation, shooting pain in the legs and heart disease.
Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics. The most common would be a shot of penicillin.