Preventing Sexually Transmitted Diseases

There are ways to avoid getting an STD:

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  • Remain abstinent. Not having sex is the best protection from STDs.
  • The next best protection is sex that is between two people who have been tested and are not infected with any STD. As long as they have no other partner, they are free from STDs. But any contact outside of that relationship could lead to an infection.
  • Always avoid sex with anyone who has genital sores, a rash, a discharge, or other disease symptoms. If you are in a high-risk group you should:
  • Use condoms and water-based lubricants. Remember that condoms are not 100 percent effective at preventing disease.
  • Wash before and after intercourse.
  • Get a vaccination for hepatitis B.
  • Avoid sharing towels or items of clothing.

 

For people who have more than one partner, or who do not know for sure that their partner is not infected, there are other choices.

  • Creative lovemaking like mutual masturbation is less likely to transmit disease.
  • Use of latex rubber or plastic condoms, every time a person has sex.. Condoms should not be reused. A new condom should be used for each episode of intercourse. Remember condoms are not 100% effective at preventing disease!

TRADITIONAL TREATMENT
Never attempt to treat an STD yourself. These diseases are contagious and dangerous. You must see a doctor. Bacterial STDs can be cured with antibiotics if treatment begins early enough. Viral STDs cannot be cured, but you can manage symptoms with medications. There is a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B, but it will not help if you have already contracted the disease.

ALTERNATIVE AND NATURAL REMEDIES
We hope to in future include information on natural and alternative remedies. Never try and self treat and remember always seek conventional medical help first.

CHLAMYDIA
Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STD). It is estimated that about 1 in 6 sexually active teens are infected with chlamydia. In fact, chlamydia is seen most often among 15 to 24 year-olds. Chlamydia is treatable with antibiotics. A person with chlamydia may have no symptoms, but can pass the disease to others, or have serious complications.

Chlamydia symptoms in a male may include: a slight discharge (drip) from the penis, and a tingling sensation or pain with urination. A female may experience irregular bleeding, pain during intercourse, a vaginal discharge, belly pain, or pain with urination.

People are sometimes afraid to tell their sexual partner that they have an infection. Although it’s hard to talk about, it is necessary to do so. It is very important for the partner to get treatment also. Untreated chlamydia can lead to fertility problems. This disease can also be passed to babies during birth. If you have questions about chlamydia, contact the health department, a family planning clinic, or your healthcare provider.
To prevent chlamydia use latex or plastic condoms each time you have sex.

GENITAL WARTS
Genital warts are bumps of various sizes on the skin of the genitals. They result from infection with some types of human papillomavirus, or HPV (a common sexually transmitted virus). Sexual contact spreads this viral infection. It is uncommon before puberty or after menopause.

The warts can grow rapidly in the presence of heavy sweating, poor hygiene, or during pregnancy. Certain types of HPV infections may cause abnormal cell growth or cancer of the cervix.

Genital warts can occur in any sexually active person. Sometimes they pass from an infected mother to her baby at birth. Warts usually appear on moist surfaces about 2 months after exposure. They start as tiny red or pink swellings that can grow up to 4 inches. If several grow in the same area, they may appear like a cauliflower. If infected with bacteria, they take on a foul odor. Sometimes warts develop in the urethra. However, most patients report no symptoms. Many are unaware of the warts until discovery during a physical examination. A few complain of itching, pain, or odor.
Treatment is to remove the warts. There is no effective therapy to get rid of the viral infection completely. Treatment of small warts is usually an acid mixture applied directly on them. One should never use this acid during pregnancy. One must also avoid contact with eyes and healthy tissue around warts. Other methods for larger warts include freezing, laser treatment, and cautery. Warts often resolve on their own. However, warts may recur even after treatment.

HPV infection should be watched closely in women, even when no symptoms occur. The reason is that HPV may cause cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the second most common reproductive cancer in women.
Women exposed to HPV should have an annual Pap test. A Pap test can detect a cervical problem before it is actually cancer.

You can reduce your risk of getting genital warts by using condoms. It also greatly reduces risk to have only one sexual partner who has no other partners. If you or your sexual partner have symptoms of genital warts, do not be embarrassed to consult your healthcare provider.

GONORRHEA
Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted disease that is treatable with antibiotics. It is sometimes called the “clap” or the “drip.” There are one and a half million cases each year, with most occurring among 15 to 24 year-olds.

The symptoms of gonorrhea include: discolored discharge from the penis, vagina, or rectum, depending on which parts are infected. It can also cause painful urination and irregular menstrual bleeding. However, gonorrhea may occasionally cause so few symptoms that a person does not realize they are infected.

HERPES

Genital Herpes is a sexually transmitted viral infection that affects about 30 million Americans. About five hundred thousand new cases of herpes occur each year. This disease is caused by the herpes simplex virus types 1 or 2. Type 1 most often grows on the body above the waist. It causes cold sores or fever blisters. Type 2 occurs most often below the waist, and causes genital (sex organ) herpes. Either virus will grow on the opposite spot, if carried by oral sex. This is a virus that recurs, or comes and goes. Infection with this virus continues for life. Recurrences happen for many reasons, including being sick, friction from tight clothing or intercourse, emotional stress, and heat.

The herpes virus is passed by direct contact with an infected person. A person may be infected, but have no symptoms. This means that a person with no obvious sores can spread the disease. When someone is newly infected or having a recurrence of herpes, they may have:

  • pain
  • itching
  • fever and
  • tiredness

Blisters form, then open and cause sores. These sores are usually painful. The blisters last for about a week, and then dry up. They may return several times a year.
Treatment includes a medication called acyclovir that stops the virus from reproducing itself. It does not rid the body of the infection. Treatment may help shorten the length of an outbreak. Some people take the medicine daily to stop outbreaks from recurring.
Depending on the location of the sores on the genitals, herpes may be prevented by using a latex or plastic condom every time you have sex. If you have a history of herpes and are planning to get pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider. Herpes can be passed on to a baby during birth.

 

HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a common sexually transmitted virus. There are more than 60 known strains of HPV. Some of them cause genital warts. Genital warts are bumps of various sizes on the skin of the genitals, your sex organs. They are uncommon before puberty or after menopause. They can grow rapidly in the presence of heavy sweating, poor hygiene, or during pregnancy. Infection can occur without a person developing warts. HPV infection may also cause abnormal cell growth or cancer of the cervix.
Genital warts can occur in any sexually active person. Sometimes they pass from an infected mother to her baby at birth. Warts usually appear on moist surfaces about 2 months after exposure. They start as tiny red or pink swellings that grow up to 4 inches. If several grow in the same area, they may appear like a cauliflower. If infected with bacteria, they take on a foul odor. However, most patients report no symptoms. Many are unaware of the warts until discovery during a physical examination. A few complain of itching or pain.
There is no effective therapy to get rid of the viral infection completely. Treatment aims to remove the warts. Treatment of small warts is usually accomplished by directly applying an acid mixture on them. This treatment cannot be done during pregnancy. For larger warts, treatment may include: freezing, laser treatment, and slicing with a hot wire. Warts often go away on their own. Or warts may recur even after treatment.
HPV infection should be watched closely in women, even if no symptoms appear. The reason is that HPV may cause cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the second most common reproductive cancer in women. A Pap test can detect a cervical problem before it is actually cancer. Once cancer has developed, it is much harder to treat and may be fatal. A Pap smear is suggested for all women who are sexually active or by age 18. It should be repeated every one to three years based upon individual risk. Women exposed to HPV may require more frequent testing as recommended by their healthcare provider.
You can reduce your risk of HPV infection by using condoms. It also greatly reduces risk to have only one sexual partner who has no other partners. If you or your sexual partner have symptoms of genital warts, do not be embarrassed to consult your healthcare provider.

SYPHILIS
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that is treatable with antibiotics. When the bacteria that causes syphilis gets into a person’s body from sexual contact
with an infected person, the first symptom it causes is an open sore. It is not very painful, and many people do not notice it. This is called the first stage of syphilis. The sore will go away on its own. However, without proper medical treatment, the infection will not leave the body, and will continue to cause damage.

Weeks later there will be a rash all over the body, even on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. This rash prompts many people to see their healthcare provider for treatment. This is called the second stage of
 

 
syphilis. If the disease is not treated, the rash will go away. However, the infection stays in the body and causes even more damage. Many years later it will appear again in the third stage of syphilis. In this stage, the tissues of brain, bone, and flesh are destroyed. This is rarely seen any more since antibiotics can easily treat the disease.
 

 
Syphilis can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy and birth. It can cause birth defects or even death to the baby. If a pregnant woman gets pre-natal care, she will be tested for syphilis. If she has the disease, she can be treated, and that will treat the baby.

If you are concerned about syphilis, then a blood test can show if you are infected. Talk to your healthcare provider, the health department, or a family planning clinic for a test.

VAGINITIS

Any irritation in the vaginal area it is called vaginitis. The symptoms are:

  • itching
  • redness
  • burning with urination or
  • unusual vaginal discharge

Vaginitis can be caused by many different things. The causes of this irritation may include:

  • douches and feminine sprays
  • tampons or certain soaps
  • chemicals such as Nonoxynol-9 in birth control foams, jellies, or lubricants
  • sexually transmitted diseases and
  • yeast infections

Women who are prone to vaginitis are:

  • pregnant women
  • those on certain kinds of birth control medicines
  • women who have gone through menopause
  • women with diabetes and
  • women with HIV

Since there can be so many causes, the healthcare provider must first find the cause to provide the correct treatment. A sample of the vaginal secretions can help in finding the cause. Sometimes, the healthcare provider will want to treat the sexual partner as well.
Do not use over-the-counter medications without the approval of your healthcare provider. It could be the wrong treatment. To treat vaginitis, you need to contact your healthcare provider.

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