Who is at risk for STDs?
Anyone who engages in any kind of sexual activity is at risk for STDs. The only way to eliminate the risk of acquiring an STD is abstinence from sexual activity. The use of latex condoms during sexual contact can greatly reduce the chances of contracting many STDs, but no method is completely safe.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released a report that estimates that 20 million new STD infections occur each year. People aged 15 to 24 account for about half of those newly infected. Young men and young women are about equally affected. According to the CDC, sexually active gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are at greater risk for acquiring STDs. In addition to an increased risk of syphilis, over 50% of all new HIV infections occur in MSM.
List of STDs in men
Several varieties of STDs can affect sexually active men. The following list describes the signs, symptoms, and treatments for STDs in men.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is common in young adults who are sexually active. It is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Both men and women can be infected, and many of those infected do not have any signs or symptoms. When it does cause symptoms in men, symptoms of urethritis are the most common. It can also cause infection of the epididymis and testes. Chlamydia infection can be cured with antibiotics such as azithromycin. However, reinfection can occur, especially when sex partners of an infected person are not treated.
Like Chlamydia, gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that may not always cause signs and symptoms and can remain undiagnosed. Also similar to Chlamydia, gonorrhea can cause urethritis in men, leading to burning or pain on urination and discharge from the urethra. Gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria, and when symptoms do occur, they develop about 4 to 8 days after contracting the infection. Gonorrhea can also cause infection in the rectum and in the throat. Moreover, it is possible for gonorrhea to spread within the body, causing symptoms like rash and joint pain. Antibiotics, such as cefixime (Suprax) are typically used to treat gonorrhea, although other antibiotics have also been used. Treatment is often given that is also curative for Chlamydia infection, since these two infections frequently occur together.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the Trichomonas vaginalis parasite. Most women and men who are infected do not have symptoms, and as with chlamydia and gonorrhea, may not know they are infected. When the infection does cause symptoms, it typically results in urethritis, with itching or burning and discharge from the urethra. Trichomonas infection can be cured with a single dose of antibiotic medication. Metronidazole and tinidazole are antibiotics commonly used in the treatment of trichomonas infection.
STD Diagnosis, Images, Symptoms, Treatment
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is perhaps the most feared STD. Infection with the HIV virus can occur during sexual contact, by sharing needles, or from an infected pregnant woman to her baby. The virus ultimately causes dysfunction of the body’s immune system at a later time point. The average time from infection to immune suppression is 10 years. No specific symptoms signal HIV infection, but some people develop fever and a flu-like illness 2 to 4 weeks after they have contracted the virus. Once immune suppression is present, serious complications like unusual infections, certain cancers, and dementia may develop. Numerous medications are available to help affected people manage the infection and delay or prevent progression of the illness.
5. Genital herpes
The herpes simplex viruses (HSVs) cause painful blistering sores on sexually exposed areas of the body. They can be transmitted during any type of sexual contact. Typically, the HSV type 1 (HSV-1) causes cold sores around the mouth, while the HSV type 2 (HSV-2) causes genital herpes, but both types of HSV are capable of infecting the genital area. Like some other STDs, it is possible to become infected with HSV and have very mild symptoms or none at all. Even when symptoms have occurred in the past, it is possible to transmit the infection during any period in which symptoms are not present.
The lesions caused by HSV typically take the form of painful blisters that eventually open, forming ulcers, and then crust over. In men, the sores can be found on the penis, scrotum, buttocks, anus, inside the urethra, or on the skin of the thighs. The first outbreak of HSV infection may be more severe than subsequent outbreaks and can be accompanied by fever and swollen lymph nodes.
6. Genital warts (HPV)
Human papillomavirus infection (HPV) is a very common STD. Different types of HPV exist and cause different conditions. Some HPVs cause common warts that are not STDs, and other types are spread during sexual activity and cause genital warts. Still other types are the cause of precancerous chances and cancers of the cervix in women. Most people with HPV infection do not develop genital warts or cancers, and the body is often able to clear the infection on its own. It is currently believed that over 75% of sexually active people have been infected at some point in life. When HPV causes genital warts in men, the lesions appear as soft, fleshy, raised bumps on the penis or anal area. Sometimes they may be larger and take on a cauliflower-like appearance.
There is no cure for HPV infection, but it often resolves on its own. Treatments to destroy or remove genital warts are also available. Vaccines are available for boys and girls that confer immunity to the most common HPV types.
7. Hepatitis B and C
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are two viral diseases that can be transmitted by sexual contact. Both the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are transmitted by contact with the blood of an infected individual or by sexual activity, similar to the HIV virus. HBV may not cause symptoms, but it causes symptoms of acute hepatitis in about 50% of infections. The primary danger with HPV infection is that around 5% of those infected progress to have long-term liver damage, or chronic hepatitis B. People with chronic hepatitis B are at increased risk for the development of liver cancer. There is a very effective vaccine available for the prevention of hepatitis B. Treatment of acute hepatitis involves supportive care and rest, although those with chronic hepatitis may be treated with interferon or antiviral medications.
Unlike HBV, HCV is rarely transmitted by sexual contact and is usually spread by contact with the blood of an infected person. Still, it is possible to transmit this virus as a result of sexual contact. Most people infected with HCV have no symptoms, so a delayed or missed diagnosis is common. In contrast to hepatitis B, most people with HCV infection (75% to 85% of people infected) develop chronic infection with the possibility of liver damage. There is also no vaccine available against HCV.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection caused by Treponema pallidum bacteria. If not treated, the disease progresses through three phases and can also persist in a latent state. The initial manifestation is a painless ulcer known as a chancre at the site of sexual contact. The chancre develops 10 to 90 days after infection and resolves after 3 to 6 weeks. Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics, but if this first stage is untreated, secondary syphilis can develop. In secondary syphilis, there is spread of the disease to other organs, causing various symptoms that can include skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, arthritis, kidney disease, or liver problems. After this stage, some people will have a latent infection for years, after which tertiary syphilis develops. Tertiary syphilis can cause different conditions including brain infection, the development of nodules known as gummas, aortic aneurysm, loss of sight, and deafness. Fortunately, syphilis is curable with proper antibiotic treatment.
9. Zika virus
The Zika virus has been associated with birth defects in babies born to infected mothers. Transmission of Zika virus occurs among humans by the bite of an infected vector mosquito. However, sexual transmission of the Zika virus is also possible, and an infected individual may spread the virus to his or her sex partners.
What tests diagnose STDs in men?
Many STDs are diagnosed based upon the clinical history and characteristic physical findings. Herpes and syphilis are two conditions that can produce identifiable signs and symptoms. Often the diagnosis of an infection depends upon identification of the organism. A number of different tests are available for STDs in men that are based either upon detection of the surface proteins of the organism or of the genetic material of the organism. These methods are more commonly used than the culture to identify sexually transmitted infections.
Infections in Women
Common Infections in Women
Vaginal Infections and Vaginitis
Most women have been there. You’re distracted and squirming in your chair because it doesn’t feel right down there. Perhaps there’s a smell that’s a little, well, funkier, than usual. You want to do something to make it stop, now.
Although it can be darned uncomfortable, it’s not the end of the world. You could have an infection caused by bacteria, yeast, or viruses. Chemicals in soaps, sprays, or even clothing that come in contact with this area could be irritating the delicate skin and tissues.
It’s not always easy to figure out what’s going on, though. You’ll probably need your doctor’s help to sort it out and choose the right treatment.
Types of Vaginitis
Doctors refer to the various conditions that cause an infection or inflammation of the vagina as “vaginitis.” The most common kinds are:
– Bacterial vaginosis
– Candida or “yeast” infections
– Reactions or allergies (non-infectious vaginitis)
– Viral vaginitis
Although they may have different symptoms, a diagnosis can be tricky even for an experienced doctor. Part of the problem is that you could have more than one at the same time.
What’s Normal? What Symptoms Aren’t?
A woman’s vagina makes discharge that’s usually clear or slightly cloudy. In part, it’s how the vagina cleans itself.
It doesn’t really have a smell or make you itch. How much of it and exactly what it looks and feels like can vary during your menstrual cycle. At one point, you may have only a small amount of a very thin or watery discharge, and at another time of the month, it’s thicker and there’s more of it. That’s all normal.
When discharge has a very noticeable odor, or burns or itches, that’s likely a problem. You might feel an irritation any time of the day, but it’s most often bothersome at night. Having sex can make some symptoms worse.
You should call your doctor when:
– Your vaginal discharge changes color, is heavier, or smells different.
– You notice itching, burning, swelling, or soreness around or outside of your vagina.
– It burns when you pee.
– Sex is uncomfortable.
Yeast Infection or Bacterial Vaginosis?
Two of the most common causes are related to organisms that live in your vagina. They can have very similar symptoms. Yeast infections are an overgrowth of the yeast that you normally have in your body. Bacterial vaginosis happens when the balance of bacteria is thrown off. With both conditions, you may notice white or grayish discharge.
How can you tell them apart? If there’s a fishy smell, bacterial vaginosis is a better guess. If your discharge looks like cottage cheese, a yeast infection may be to blame. That’s also more likely to cause itching and burning, though bacterial vaginosis might make you itchy, too.
And you could have both at the same time.
Spread Through Sex
You can get vaginal infections through sexual contact, too:
– Herpes simplex virus
– Human papilloma virus (HPV) or genital warts
Women may not have obvious symptoms of these STDs. If you’re sexually active (especially if you have multiple partners), you should talk to your doctor about getting tested for them at your annual checkup.
If left untreated, some of these can permanently damage your reproductive organs or cause other health problems. You could also pass them to a partner.
Sometimes itching, burning, and even discharge happen without an infection. Most often, it’s an allergic reaction to or irritation from products such as:
– Fabric softeners
– Perfumed soaps
– Vaginal sprays
It could also be from a lower level of hormones because of menopause or because you’ve had your ovaries removed. This can make your vagina dry, a condition called atrophic vaginitis. Sexual intercourse could be painful, and you may notice vaginal itching and burning.
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