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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Bloodindex helps to break the silence and to alert everyone to the growing crisis of sexually transmitted diseases. We support the cause of STD Awareness Month, observed annually in April, a campaign to encourage public to learn about STDs and take steps to protect themselves against infection.


Overview

A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is a disease caused by a pathogen (e.g., virus, bacterium, parasite, fungus) that is spread from person to person primarily through sexual contact. STDs can be painful, irritating, debilitating, and life threatening. More than twenty sexually transmitted diseases have been identified.

Incidence and Prevalence
STDs occur most commonly in sexually active teenagers and young adults, especially those with multiple sex partners.

Characteristics

Most STDs cause relatively harmless disease, producing few or no Symptoms. However, some produce persistent asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic disease (e.g., chlamydia). Some people carry the disease for days or weeks, while others carry the disease for longer periods, even for life. During this time, an infected individual, or carrier, can spread disease.

In persistent infection, the pathogen evades detection by the immune system and remains fairly inactive, causing no overt disease. This inactivity is called latency. However, certain triggers (e.g., stress, immune suppression, injury) can reactivate latent pathogens. In some cases, reactivated disease is asymptomatic (e.g., chlamydia); in others, overt (e.g., genital herpes); and in still others, severe and even fatal (e.g., HIV/AIDS).

Complications of STD infection include pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis) in women, inflammation of the urethra (urethritis) and inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis) in men, and fertility and reproductive system problems in both sexes.

A person infected with an STD is more likely to become infected with HIV, and a person infected with HIV and another STD is more likely to transmit HIV.


Here are some facts about some of the more common STDs:

CHLAMYDIA
Symptoms
Chlamydia is found in semen and vaginal fluids and although there is often NO signs to tell you that you are carrying chlamydia (you can have a test done anyway if you are worried) you may notice:
Discomfort when you urinate or needing to urinate lot more often than normal.
Men - Unusual discharge from your nether regions (odd colour, smell or amount)
Women - Abdominal pain (or pain during sex for women) and/or bleeding in between periods.
Risks
Women - Can cause infections of the cervix, womb and fallopian tubes which can cause severe pain and lead to infertility
Men - can also cause infertility

THRUSH (Candosis)
Symptoms
Women - Itching and soreness around the vagina, which can lead to pain when peeing or burning sensation after sex. A thick white discharge is often present and in recurrent cases the vagina can become abnormally 'dry'. (Thrush may be present in the women's vagina without showing Symptoms but can still be passed on to their partner.
Men - often irritation at the tip of the penis or around the foreskin particularly after intercourse with an infected partner.
Risks
Once you have had Thrush, it may recur periodically.

GENITAL WARTS
Genital warts are as common as skin warts
Symptoms
Pink or reddish warts with cauliflower-like tops appearing in the genital area of men or women. The warts can be transmitted sexually but also from hands to genitalia.
Risks
If left untreated the warts may spread and disfigure the genital area, interfering with sexual activity, urination and defecation.

GENITAL HERPES
This is one of the commonest viral infections.
Symptoms
A 'tingling' or itching on or around genitalia followed by the appearance of fluid filled blisters or 'cold sores' which can be tender and painful. There may also be pain when passing urine and the sufferer may feel shivery and unwell.
Risks
If left untreated the warts may spread and disfigure the genital area, interfering with sexual activity, urination and defacation.

CRABS OR PUBIC LICE
Symptoms
Intense itching in the genital area or occasionally in the body hair of the chest or armpits cause by tiny lice which are practically invisible to the human eye.

SYPHILLIS
Symptoms
An ulcer at the point where the organisms enter the body which lasts for 1-5 weeks and is usually painless. Up to 6 months after the infection a rash will usually appear on the chest, back, arms and legs accompanied by enlarged lymph nodes on the neck, under arms and in groin and flu-like Symptoms
Risks
3 years or more after the infection the sufferer may experience internal and external ulceration, arthritis, loss of feeling in limbs and even disability due to damage to the heart, blood vessels, spinal cord and/or brain.

HIV and AIDS
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is an incurable condition caused by the incurable virus HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) that can damage the body's defense system so that it cannot fight certain infections. These illnesses can be fatal.



If you or your regular partner have had vaginal, oral or anal sex with another person without using a condom then you are putting yourself at risk of catching an STD.
If you do begin to suffer from any Symptoms do not wait for them to clear up. Although some Symptoms do go away without treatment this does not mean the infection has gone away and if left untreated the infection can get worse and in some cases lead to permanent damage.
If you are worried that you may have caught something then always get it checked: by a doctor







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