Individuals who practice intercourse without protection and/or engage in sexual activity with multiple partner(s) at a time, are at increased risk for STIs also known as sexually transmitted infections. Many don’t know about them and I would like to introduce a few STIs and encourage early checkups if you think you are experiencing symptoms or have had contact with someone and are suspecting you might have been exposed.
A couple of STDs I can check you out for include a list beneath as well as a description for an overview about them.
Chlamydia infection involves the exchange of fluids from vaginal, oral or anal intercourse resulting in the infected individual to pass this on to a noninfected one. There can be no symptoms as well as symptoms include discharge from the vagina and penis accompanied by burning while urinating sometimes. A test using a swab from the women’s vagina or cervix and a swab from the tip of the penis or a urine sample to check for this microorganism.
Fortunately, there is a cure for chlamydial infections and it advised that all partners exposed be tested and abstain from intercourse until cured. Since recurrent infections are common, it is ok to await a period of time before resuming sexual activity.
Gonorrhea is another sexually transmitted bacterial infection that can cause similar symptoms including such as vaginal discharge in the female or penile discharge in the male as well as pain on urination. Some patients may be asymptomatic. This condition can be detected by a swab collected from the women’s vagina or cervix and the discharge from the penis. Otherwise, urine sample may be obtained to check for Neisseria gonorrhea known to cause this sexually transmitted infection.
Same as chlamydia, Neisseria gonorrhea has a treatment with antibiotics and it highly advised again to abstain until all partners have become treated to prevent “ping pong” effect where it is transmitted right back to the uninfected individual after treatment.
Syphilis, a bacterial spread by sexual contact, usually begins a a painless ulcer of the male or female genitalia, mouth or rectum depending on the type of sexual contact and is called primary syphilis. Stage 1 happens within days to months.
Secondary syphilis is marked by the onset of a characteristic rash on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet as the painless ulcer disappears. Stage 2 appears within several weeks.
Tertiary syphilis is then a manifestation of various organ systems being impacted at later stages. The impact can be on the eyes as well as the nervous system including the brain and nerves and the heart. Stage 3 appears within years.
Associated symptoms include feeling tired, having vaginal discharge, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes and itching.
A test can be performed to diagnose this by a blood draw to confirm infection looking for an antibody.
Genital Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that can occur through sexual intercourse with an infected individual. Multiple sexual partners is one risk factor of transmitting the disease from person to person even if they do not show any symptoms at the time of transmission of this virus. The virus called the herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 are interchangeable in causing lesions to appear on both the anal, genital as well as oral area. Early symptoms may be none to painful blisters on a red irritated skin (base) called ” a dew drop on a rose petal,” in text books as descriptive term as far as the appearance of these lesions. Associated symptoms may include itching as well as a pins and needles sensation. Usually these can be diagnosed by simply looking at the rash which is very characteristic rash and can be easily identified sometimes. Other times a virus culture can be obtained by using a sterile needle tip to gently unroof one of the vesicles in order to swab the fluid that is then sent out to lab. Treatments include to help lower the severity and duration of the symptoms with an antiviral drug that can be obtained through a prescription by a provider.
Genital warts are a “cauliflower” like growth (s) that appear on the genital areas exposed to a virus called the human papilloma virus through sexual intercourse. This virus can be transmitted from person to person even though the infected individual may not be showing signs or symptoms. Shedding this virus, the person exposed can soon develop warts that start out as tiny painless pimple like skin lesion (s) and can continue to grow as time progresses without intervention. These skin lesions are usually felt or palpated by the individual. Usually a surgical excision can aid in diagnosis if unconfirmed. Methods to treat such lesions include liquid nitrogen destruction of these lesions, surgical removal, or topical therapies such as podofilox that your provider can prescribe.
Another common sexually transmitted disease in individuals with high risk including sex with multiple partners or with a partner who has multiple partners and not using protection such as condoms.
Trichomoniasis is an infection caused by a micro-organism called a trichomonas, a protozoa. It is flagellated and propels itself forward with its tail called the flagella, a threadlike structure attached to his pear-shaped body allowing it to swim.
It can spread from infected individuals to noninfected individuals and cause symptoms such as but not limited to:
- Green frothy vaginal discharge
- Vaginal itching
- Vaginal odor
- Vaginal burning
- Burning on urination
- Abdominal pain
- Pain on sexual intercourse
Diagnosis involves obtaining vaginal cultures through what is called the affirm testing. The doctor usually inserts a speculum into the vagina to collect vaginal fluid onto a swab or collects discharge from the tip of the penis using a swab and sends it to lab for confirmation of infection.
Treatment includes treating both partners with a course of antibiotics as a cure for this infection. Abstinence is advised until both partners are treated in an attempt to prevent the “ping pong” effect where infected partners keep infecting each other back and forth who have become clear from infection.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus
The human immunodeficiency virus is a virus that once an individual becomes infected, they live with it for life as there is not cure for it due to the mutating capacity of this virus. Through mutations it continues to survive within the human body and suppressing the immune system.
The history of this virus is thought to be originating in Africa from the consumption of chimpanzees. The virus found in this animal spread from chimpanzee to humans as far back as the 1800s. As time passed on this virus spread globally.
HIV can cause symptoms such as:
- Flu like symptoms
- Sore throat
- Sore throat
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Infections such as colds and flu, etc
Diagnosis involves looking the viral count in the human blood, the antibodies to this virus in the blood as well as detecting presence of antigens found on this virus. The CD4 cell count is also monitored, which is a type of white blood cell that is attacked by the HIV and destroyed lowering out levels in the blood. When these levels drop, then the individual loses its defense mechanism to fight off common infections making a person susceptible to infections.
Treatment involves only suppression of this virus as there is no cure using antiretroviral therapy.