Sexually Transmitted Diseases: What you should know?

Sexually transmitted diseases, abbreviated as STD, are those infections which spread from one person to another through sexual contact. Presence of viruses, bacteria, parasites or yeasts may lead to STDs. Mostly sexual activity leads to sexually transmitted diseases. However, it is also possible for the infections to spread without sexual contact.

Common Sexual Transmitted Diseases

STD’s are of many types, out of which the commonly spread infections include:

  • Gonorrhoea: A common type of sexually transmitted disease which may not show up any symptoms in women for long time. It may lead to bleeding between periods, pain while urinating, etc in later stages. If untreated, gonorrhoea may lead to infertility.
  • Human Papillomavirus: It is a common sexually transmitted infection which will cause warts in various parts of the body.
  • Genital Herpes: This type of infection is chronic and will create soreness in the genital area
  • HIV/AIDS: A type of infection spread through sexual contact which will damage the immune system of the body.
  • Chlamydia: A major type of STD which will not show any symptoms
  • Trichomoniasis: A parasital infection in woman with symptoms like genital itching, smelly vaginal discharge, pain while urinating etc.

Symptoms of Sexual Transmitted Diseases

Mostly STD’s will not have any symptoms in the initial stages. Men and woman may live with STD’s without realising it for long. The common symptoms include:

  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Pain while urinating
  • Fever
  • Bleeding from the vagina
  • Smelly vaginal discharge
  • Sores/bumps/inflammation in the genital or rectal area

Risk factors for Sexually Transmitted Infections

You are at some level of risk of getting sexually transmitted infections when you are sexually active. However, the following factors may increase the risk.

  • Unprotected sex: STD’s can spread through vaginal intercourse, anal sex, oral sex, etc. Unprotected sex refers to sexual intercourse without a condom.
  • History of STD: If you are having a history of sexually transmitted infections, you are a greater risk of catching it again.
  • Multiple partners: You may catch STD’s if you are having sexual intercourse with multiple partners, especially at a younger age.
  • Shared needles for injection: Infections like HIV spread through injection needles

Some of the sexually transmitted infections may pass on to the baby during pregnancy or childbirth, if the mother is suffering from it.

Treatment for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The diagnosis is made based on the type of bacteria, virus, yeasts or parasites that is responsible for the infection. Most of the STD’s are treatable. If untreated, STD’s can lead to complications like infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, pregnancy risks, heart diseases and certain types of cancer etc.
Treatment for sexually transmitted diseases include intake of antiviral drugs or antibiotics depending on the conditions. Bacterial infections are treated using antibiotics and it is completely curable. For viral infections like HIV, antiviral drugs are given to control the symptoms caused by it. It is advised to stay away from sexual activity during the course of treatment.