STD Info & Facts
Because most STDs can be symptom free, do not assume that you or your partner are not infected just because you do not have any symptoms. STDs can be present for years before they become symptomatic, so the only way to know for sure is if you or your partner gets tested for STDs.
There are more than 20 known sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Some of them will cause symptoms that should be brought to the attention of your doctor immediately. However, others may be “silent” – a person could have the disease but might not notice any symptoms of the infection. Therefore, it is important to be tested for STDs if you are sexually active.
The most common STD’s:
This bacterial infection at first may cause a slight discharge from the vagina, penis, or anus. However, if the infection is not treated, it can lead to sterility and other complications. Gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics.
Chlamydia trachomatis is often called “the silent epidemic” because infections are common yet many people do not realize that they are infected. This bacterial disease is easily cured with antibiotics but can have serious health consequences if left untreated.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can be easily missed. The first symptom is a painless blister or sore that will disappear on its own. Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics. However, if left untreated, the disease can spread throughout your body over the course of many years and cause considerable organ damage.
The genital herpes virus causes recurrent, periodic outbreaks of sores in the genital region and remains in you body for life. However, there are anti-viral therapies available that can shorten the duration of symptoms.
These are viral infections that can be transmitted through sexual contact. Hepatitis B and C affect the liver and can severely damage it. Treatment with interferon is available, but this drug therapy may have serious side effects.
HIV is associated with AIDS. This virus attacks and destroys certain white blood cells (T-helper lymphocytes) that are involved in the immune system. As the number of these cells is reduced, the ability of your body to fight off infections also decreases. This eventually results in death. Although there is no cure, early detection allows for treatment with anti-viral therapies that can help to prolong life.
Because most STDs can be symptom free, do not assume that you or your partner are not infected just because you do not have any symptoms. STDs can be present for years before they become symptomatic, so the only way to know for sure is if you or your partner get test.
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