STDs

By: Rachel Sneed

HIV

Symptoms can occur during this stage of infection. However, HIV symptoms are difficult to identify unless you know you have been exposed. Acute HIV symptoms are similar to those of other viral infections. They include:

  • tiredness
  • weight loss
  • frequent fever and sweats
  • lymph node enlargement
  • yeast infections
  • persistent skin rashes or flaky skin
HIV infection weakens your immune system, making you highly susceptible to numerous infections and certain types of cancers.

Herpes

Symptoms of herpes usually develop within 2 to 20 days after contact with the virus, although it could take longer. These symptoms may last up to several weeks, varying from one person to the next. In many people, the first infection is so mild that it goes unnoticed. It is possible that a person becomes aware of the “first episode” years after the infection is acquired. Many people who contract HSV are not aware of their infection.

If symptoms occur during the first outbreak, they can be quite pronounced. The symptoms can be very severe as many have shared their experiences on this site. Some people couldn't walk, were in bed for days, having excruciating pain radiating down their legs with weakness and flu-like symptoms. Others didn't even know they were infected.

There are three antiviral medications that are FDA-approved for the treatment of genital herpes:

Acyclovir: The oldest antiviral medication for herpes is acyclovir. It has been available since 1982 in a topical form (as an ointment) and sold since 1985 in pill form. Acyclovir has been shown to be safe in persons who have used it continuously (every day) for as long as 10 years.

Valacyclovir: A newer drug, valacyclovir, actually uses acyclovir as its active ingredient. This medication delivers acyclovir more efficiently so that the body absorbs much of the drug, which has the advantage of taking the medication fewer times during the day.

Famciclovir: Famciclovir uses penciclovir as its active ingredient to stop HSV from replicating. Like valacyclovir, it is well absorbed, persists for a longer time in the body, and can be taken less frequently than acyclovir. Antiviral medication is commonly prescribed for patients having a first episode of genital herpes, but they can be used for recurrent episodes as well. There are two kinds of treatment regimens: episodic therapy and suppressive therapy.

Complications associated with genital herpes may include:

  • Other sexually transmitted infections. Having genital sores increases your risk of transmitting or contracting other sexually transmitted infections, including AIDS.
  • Newborn infection. Babies born to infected mothers can be exposed to the virus during the birthing process. This may result in brain damage, blindness or death for the newborn.
  • Bladder problems. In some cases, the sores associated with genital herpes can cause inflammation around the tube ta delivers urine from your bladder to the outside world (urethra). The swelling can close the urethra for several days, requiring the insertion of a catheter to drain your bladder.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia symptoms in women

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge that may have an odor
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Painful periods
  • abdominal pain with fever
  • Pain when having sex
  • itching or burning in or around the vagina
  • Pain when urinating

Chlamydia symptoms in men

  • Small amounts of clear or cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis
  • painful urination
  • Burning and itching around the opening of the penis
  • Pain and swelling around the testicles



If you have chlamydia, your doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics, usually (Zithromax) or doxycyclon. Your doctor will also recommend your partner(s) be treated to prevent reinfection and further spread of the disease.

With treatment, the infection should clear up in about a week or two. It is important to finish all of your antibiotics even if you feel better.

Women with severe chlamydia infection may require hospitalization, intravenous antibiotics (medicine given through a vein), and pain medicine.

After taking antibiotics, people should be re-tested after three months to be sure the infection is cured. This is particularly important if you are unsure that your partner(s) obtained treatment. But testing should still take place even if your partner has been treated. Do not have sex until you are sure both you and your partner no longer have the disease.

If you have chlamydia that's not treated while you're pregnant, there's a chance you could pass the infection on to your baby. If this happens, your baby may develop an eye infection (conjunctivitis) and lung infection (pneumonia).

If your baby has symptoms of these conditions, your midwife or GP can arrange for a test to check for chlamydia and antibiotics can be used to treat the infection.

Gonorrhea

Untreated gonorrhea can spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which may result in scarring of the tubes, greater risk of pregnancy complications and infertility. PID is a serious infection that requires immediate treatment. Infertility in men.


Symptoms in Men

Men may not develop noticeable symptoms for several weeks. Some men may never develop symptoms.

The first noticeable symptom in men is often a burning or painful sensation during urination. Other symptoms may include:

  • greater frequency or urgency of urination
  • a pus-like discharge (or drip) from the penis (white, yellow, beige, or greenish)
  • swelling or redness at the opening of the penis
  • swelling or pain in the testicles
  • a persistent sore throat

Symptoms in Women

Many women don’t develop any overt symptoms of gonorrhea. When women do develop symptoms, they tend to be mild or similar to other infections, making them more difficult to identify. Gonorrhea infections can appear much like common vaginal yeast or bacterial infections.

Symptoms include:

  • discharge from the vagina
  • pain or burning sensation while urinating
  • the need to urinate more frequently
  • sore throat
  • pain upon engaging in sexual intercourse
  • sharp pain in the lower abdomen
  • fever

Modern antibiotics can cure most gonorrhea infections. However, the emergence of drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea is a growing challenge. Most states provide free diagnosis and treatment at state-sponsored health clinics. Doctors will usually give an injection of strong antibiotics. Some follow-up may also be necessary.

The law requires healthcare professionals to report the infection, usually to the County Public Health Department. Public health officials will identify, contact, test, and treat any sexual partners of the affected person to help prevent the spread of the infection. Health officials will also contact other people these individuals may have had sexual contact with.

Syphilis

Syphilis develops in stages, and symptoms vary with each stage. But the stages may overlap, and symptoms don't always occur in the same order. You may be infected with syphilis and not notice any symptoms for years.

There are no home remedies or over-the-counter drugs that will cure syphilis, but syphilis is easy to cure in its early stages. A single intramuscular injection of long acting Benzathine penicillin G (2.4 million units administered intramuscularly) will cure a person who has primary, secondary or early latent syphilis. Three doses of long acting Benzathine penicillin G (2.4 million units administered intramuscularly) at weekly intervals is recommended for individuals with late latent syphilis or latent syphilis of unknown duration. Treatment will kill the syphilis bacterium and prevent further damage, but it will not repair damage already done.

Selection of the appropriate penicillin preparation is important to properly treat and cure syphilis. Combinations of some penicillin preparations (e.g., Bicillin C-R, a combination of benzathine penicillin and procaine penicillin) are not appropriate treatments for syphilis, as these combinations provide inadequate doses of penicillin.

Syphilis Complications. At its beginning stage, syphilis will cause sores called chancre in the body. Chancres are seen mostly in genital areas of the body. Syphilis can also cause rash, mild fever, fatigue, headache, sore throat, patchy hair loss, and swollen glands through the body.

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis can increase the risk of getting or spreading other sexually transmitted infections. For example, trichomoniasis can cause genital inflammation that makes it easier to get infected with the HIV virus, or to pass theHIV virus on to a sex partner.

Men often do not have symptoms of trichomoniasis and usually do not know they are infected until their partners need treatment. But when symptoms do occur, they include:

  • Irritation inside the penis
  • Mild discharge
  • Slight burning after urination or ejaculation

Many women do have signs or symptoms of infection. Symptoms in women can include:

  • Greenish-yellow, frothy vaginal discharge with a strong odor
  • Painful urination
  • Vaginal itching and irritation
  • Discomfort during intercourse
  • Lower abdominal pain (rare)

Usually an oral antibiotic called Flagyl is given to treat trichomoniasis. It is the only drug that should be used to treat trichomoniasis if there is any chance that you could be pregnant

Your partner should also be treated at the same time to prevent reinfection and further spread of the disease. In addition, persons being treated for trichomoniasis should avoid sex until they and their sex partners complete treatment and have no symptoms. It is important to take all of your antibiotics, even if you feel better. You should get retested after three months to be certain the infection is gone, even if your partner has been treated.

Pubic Lice

Pubic lice may occasionally be found on other coarse body hair, such as hair on the legs, armpits, mustache, beard, eyebrows, or eyelashes. Lice found on the head are generally head lice, not pubic lice. Signs and symptoms of pubic lice include itching in the genital area and visible nits (lice eggs) or crawling lice.

A lice-killing lotion containing 1% permethrin or a mousse containing pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide can be used to treat pubic ("crab") lice. These products are available over-the-counter without a prescription at a local drug store or pharmacy.

Scratching can irritate your skin, or it could lead to an infection such as impetigo (a bacterial skin infection) or furunculosis (boils on the skin). Eye infections, such as conjunctivitis, and eye inflammation, such as blepharitis, can sometimes develop if your eyelashes have been infested with pubic lice.

Hepatitis B

Having a chronic HBV infection can lead to serious complications, such as:

  • Scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). The inflammation associated with a hepatitis B infection can lead to extensive liver scarring (cirrhosis), which may impair the liver's ability to function.
  • Liver cancer. People with chronic hepatitis B infection have an increased risk of liver cancer.
  • Liver failure. Acute liver failure is a condition in which the vital functions of the liver shut down. When that occurs, a liver transplant is necessary to sustain life.
  • Other conditions. People with chronic hepatitis B may have kidney disease, inflammation of blood vessels or anemia.

Signs and symptoms of hepatitis B, ranging from mild to severe, usually appear about one to four months after you've been infected. Signs and symptoms of hepatitis B may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
If you know you've been exposed to the hepatitis B virus, call your doctor immediately. If you haven't been vaccinated or aren't sure whether you've been vaccinated or whether you responded to the vaccination, receiving an injection of hepatitis B immune globulin within 12 hours of coming in contact with the virus may help protect you from developing hepatitis B. You should be vaccinated at the same time.

HPV

If you know you've been exposed to the hepatitis B virus, call your doctor immediately. If you haven't been vaccinated or aren't sure whether you've been vaccinated or whether you responded to the vaccination, receiving an injection of hepatitis B immune globulin within 12 hours of coming in contact with the virus may help protect you from developing hepatitis B. You should be vaccinated at the same time.

Genital warts can show up weeks or even months after sexual contact with a person infected with an HPV virus. That person may not know he or she is infected and is responsible for HPV transmission.

Treatment is directed to the macroscopic (e.g., genital warts) or pathologic precancerous lesions caused by HPV. Subclinical genital HPV infection typically clears spontaneously; therefore, specific antiviral therapy is not recommended to eradicate HPV infection. Precancerous lesions are detected through cervical cancer screening

Mycoplasma genitalium

In men M. genitalium infection causes urethritis (infection of the urethra, the urinary canal leading from the bladder to exit at the tip of the penis). Symptoms may include:watery discharge from the penis. burning sensation in the penis when urinating.
In women M. genitalium infection causes infection of the cervix (opening of the uterus (womb) at the top of the vagina). Symptoms are usually absent but may include:
abnormal discharge from the vagina
discomfort on urination
bleeding between periods, often after sex.
Mycoplasma genitalium may make way for chlamydia, which in consequence may cause ectopic or tubal pregnancy. This condition may cause painful conditions to a pregnant woman during delivery and can be fatal for an unborn. It is not impossible that during delivery this STI gets transferred to a baby from a mother and then causes severe problems for the former. If a woman has already suffered from an STI and she ignores the treatment of mycoplasma genitalium, the risk of infertility increases significantly. The chance of internal organs being infected by bacteria of the infection increases

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