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6 sexually transmitted diseases explained

Men's Health, General, Women's Health | August 14, 2014 | Author: The Super Pharmacist

men, sex, women's health

6 sexually transmitted diseases explained

Sexually transmitted diseases are poorly discussed in most populations as a result of the sensitivity of the subject matter. Here we will detail a list of 6 more common sexually transmitted diseases, a basic understanding of what they are and treatment strategies for those medicines. The best course of action is practising safe sex consistently, particularly with new partners. Most sexually transmitted diseases can be effectively diagnosed with pathology testing ordered from a doctor.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. It is the most commonly reported bacterial infection in the United States and most common of all the sexually transmitted diseases. The bacterial infection can affect the fallopian tubes, ovaries, endometrium, and cervix in women. In men, the bacterium can affect the urethra, scrotum, and anus (in men who have receptive anal intercourse with an infected person).

Symptoms

ChlamydiaWomen symptoms may include a vaginal discharge, abnormal vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, pain with urination, and pain during sex.

Men symptoms can include a discharge from the penis is the most common symptom along with burning and pain with urination. Swelling and pain may also occur in the testicles and scrotum. 

Some people with chlamydia will have no symptoms at all.

Chlamydia can be prevented by using a latex condom

Treatment 

Without prompt treatment, women can develop serious illnesses such as pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. Most people with Chlamydia will receive a one-time, oral antibiotic called azithromycin. In people who are allergic to azithromycin, a seven-day course of oral doxycycline is usually the drug of choice.

Since the bacteria can live inside the body without causing symptoms, it is important that every recent sexual partner of infected person within the past two months also receive antibiotic treatment. Otherwise, the infection can be passed back and forth between partners.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is also caused by a bacterium, Neisseria gonorrhoeae. More than half a million people in the United States become infected with gonorrhea each year.

Symptoms - Like chlamydia, gonorrhea may not cause symptoms.

GonorrheaIn women, gonorrhea may cause vaginal itching, bleeding, or spotting; abnormal vaginal discharge; pain during urination; and, when there is an infection in the anus, anal itching, discharge, or pain with bowel movements.

In men, gonorrhea causes pain with urination and a milky discharge from the penis. Men may also experience pain and swelling in one testicle.

In men who have receptive anal intercourse, gonorrhea may cause rectal discharge, constipation, and pain with defecation.

Treatment

Treatment for uncomplicated gonorrhea includes an antibiotic that is usually administered by injection into a muscle. Over recent years, the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae has developed resistance to many antibiotics. As a result, the specific antibiotic chosen will vary. Generally, physicians will administer ceftriaxone.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are often passed between partners at the same time, so physicians usually treat both infections at the same time. This means that in addition to an injection of ceftriaxone, infected individuals will usually also receive a single, oral dose of azithromycin. Gonorrhea that affects the joints, eyes, or other body areas may require more aggressive treatment (i.e. longer courses of antibiotics). 

Syphilis

Syphilis is a chronic infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum—symptoms of the illness may change over time.

Early syphillis. Early in the disease, infected individuals may develop a painless sore on the genitals called a chancre. A chancre occurs within three weeks of acquiring the infection, on average, and heals with or without treatment 3 to 6 weeks later.

Secondary syphillis. If syphilis goes untreated, it may turn into secondary syphilis, which causes rash, flulike symptoms, hair loss, swollen lymph nodes, and many other symptoms.

Tertiary syphilis. In people who still do not receive treatment, tertiary syphilis or neurosyphilis may occur, which causes balance disorders, paralysis, eye problems, and meningitis.

Unlike most bacteria, the bacterium that causes syphilis is sensitive to penicillin. The treatment of choice for syphilis is a single injection of penicillin into a muscle, specifically benzathine penicillin G. Late stage syphilis may require multiple injections, specifically three doses each given a week apart. Patients who are allergic to penicillin will usually receive doxycycline, ceftriaxone, or azithromycin taken orally.

Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is caused by a virus, not a bacterium.

Most genital herpes infections are caused by the herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2), but herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) can also cause genital herpes.

Symptoms

The initial symptoms of genital herpes can vary dramatically. Some people have painful genital ulcers, discomfort with urination, fever, headache, and swollen lymph nodes around the thighs while others will have few or no symptoms at all. At some point in the illness, people with genital herpes will experience painful sores on the genitals. While symptoms of genital herpes come and go over time, the disease never goes away completely, even with treatment.

Treatment

Since genital herpes is caused by a virus, antiviral medications are the main treatment in infected individuals. The main antiviral treatments for genital herpes are aciclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), and valaciclovir (Valtrex). The goal of treatment is not the same for all individuals. People who are not sexually active and who are not at risk for passing on the infection may not need treatment. Other people may simply take a course of antiviral treatment when they have a recurrence of the illness (a painful genital lesion). Still others may take a daily low dose of an antiviral drug continuously to suppress the virus. This reduces the likelihood that the virus will be spread during sexual intercourse and the likelihood of having an outbreak of genital herpes.

HIV/AIDS

Individuals infected by the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV are considered to be HIV-positive. This virus attacks cells of the immune system, specifically CD4+ T cells. Once HIV-positive individuals experience an AIDS-defining illness or their CD4+ T cells drop below a certain level, they have AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Symptoms

People initially infected with HIV may or may not experience a temporary, flu-like illness. Most people with HIV have no symptoms until they develop AIDS. HIV/AIDS used to be considered a death sentence, but recent developments in treatment approaches make it a chronic, manageable illness. People who maintain treatment can live relatively normal lives.

HIV/AIDSTreatment

The principal treatment for HIV/AIDS is called HAART, which stands for highly active antiretroviral therapy.

HAART is a combination of two or more antiretroviral drugs that attack the human immunodeficiency virus in different ways. Not everyone with HIV infection will be started on HAART right away—treatment may depend on CD4+ T cell levels.

HAART can be expensive, needs to be followed faithfully every day, may cause severe side effects, and can become ineffective. This is because the HIV virus may develop resistance to the specific antiretroviral drugs used. Since HIV destroys the immune system, it makes sufferers more vulnerable to certain infections. People who have low CD4+ T cell levels (less than 200) may also need to take one or more drugs (e.g. antibiotics, antifungals) to prevent opportunistic infections. AIDS patients may need to take these prophylactic medications until their T cell levels once again rise above 200.

Hepatitis B infection

The hepatitis B virus can be passed through sexual intercourse, contaminated needles, blood transfusion/organ transplantation, and any close contact if blood or infected bodily fluids are exchanged. The virus can also be passed from mother to infant. Hepatitis B causes both acute and chronic inflammation of the liver.

Symptoms

Initial infection. After someone is initially infected with the hepatitis B virus, he/she will usually experience a flu-like illness including symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, malaise, and a yellowing of the skin and eyes called jaundice.

Chronic infection. People with chronic hepatitis B may have few symptoms or they may experience fatigue and diminished appetite on an ongoing basis. Some people may experience a severe hepatitis B infection that can cause liver failure.

Treatment

Hepatitis B infectionThe best treatment for hepatitis B is to prevent the infection before it starts, specifically by receiving a hepatitis B vaccine.

If hepatitis B infection does occur, the infected individual may be treated with antiviral therapy, including drugs such aslamivudine (Epivir-HBV), adefovir (Hepsera), entecavir (Baraclude) tenofovir (Viread) or telbivudine (Tyzeka).

Additionally, some patients may receive interferon-alpha, which is not an antiviral drug, but does help stimulate the immune system to destroy the hepatitis B virus. In patients who have severe disease or liver failure, liver transplantation may be the only effective therapy.

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