Sexually Transmitted Diseases are the ones that are easily passed from one person to another, cause various complications and are sometimes difficult or impossible to cure. This is why it is important to know the most common STDs, their ways of spreading, symptoms and possible outcomes. They can be caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites and are often interconnected. Some of them are very similar in symptoms and are hard to distinguish, some favor the development of other sexually transmitted infections.
And although it is impossible to be 100 per cent certain about not contracting one of them at some point, everyone can take preventive measures that will help you reduce the chances of having an STD to the minimum. The basic recommendations are having safe monogamous relations, using condoms when not sure about your partner and having regular visits to a doctor for routine examinations. So here is the list of all most common sexually transmitted diseases.
Chancroid is an infection, uncommon in North America. Transmitted during sexual contacts or through skin contacts, it mainly affects men and causes sores and painful ulcers on penis and other genital areas. Easily cured with antibiotics, Chancroid can lead to complications if untreated. The chances of transmitting the infection get lower when using condoms, however, it should be remembered that it might be enough to touch the skin of an infected person to contract it.
One of the most widespread sexually transmitted infections, Chlamydia can lead to serious complications if not treated timely and efficiently. The infection mainly affects women and may have no symptoms at all. In other cases the infected person may experience abnormal vaginal discharge or urinating discomfort. It is important to locate and take measures as soon as possible before Chlamydia damages the uterus, fallopian tubes, reproductive system, which may end in infertility. Pelvic inflammatory disease is also possible. Like most other STDs, Chlamydia is easily prevented by using condoms and having monogamous relations.
Gonorrhea is a widespread sexually transmitted disease, most common among young people under 24. Gonorrhea has few symptoms and is often difficult to diagnose. Men may feel burning during urination, have abnormal discharge from penis or pain in the testicles. Most women do not observe any symptoms, or may also have uncommon discharge and painful urination. The infection needs to be treated immediately as it might lead to genital, rectal or throat infections, as well as develop serious complications, especially in women, including obstruction of the fallopian tubes, infertility or ectopic pregnancy. Gonorrhea is easy to treat on early stages.
Hepatitis B and C lead to liver inflammation and may end up in death. It is typically contracted through body fluids and blood, which makes it easy to contract during unprotected sex or while sharing injection needles with an infected person. The early symptoms may include general sickness, nausea, vomiting, fever or dark urine. If not treated, the disease can develop into chronic hepatitis, hide for a while and lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer. Hepatitis vaccines have become routine for children in many countries. Unvaccinated people, gay men, drug users and even people living together with an infected person are more likely to contract Hepatitis.
Herpes is one of the most common diseases transmitted through all types of sexual contacts as well as simple touching. Oral herpes can cause blisters or cold sores on the lips, on or inside the mouth. Genital herpes can involve sores, blisters, itching in genital area or even urinating problems. However, most of the times the virus shows no symptoms at all and a person can be unaware of it. There are medicines keeping herpes symptoms subdued and limiting transmission. However, once in your body, there is no cure to get rid of it.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or simply HIV, is definitely the most dangerous STD. Leading to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, the virus does severe damage to immune system which eventually leads to death from any other disease. It is transmitted through blood, vaginal and rectal fluids, semen, and breast milk. Male gay couples and drug users sharing needles are the people particularly exposed to the virus. More than 1.5 million people worldwide die from HIV every year and it is extremely important to take preventive measures to avoid the disease. Having sexual relations with safe and permanent partners and using condoms are the basic rules that will help you keep the virus at bay.
Human Papillomavirus and Genital Warts
Human Papillomavirus or HPV is a group of viruses that can lead to warts, genital warts or even cancer. Yet, most HPV types do not cause damage to human body, go away shortly and remain unnoticed. Sexually active individuals are under danger of obtaining the infection with every second person having it at some point of life. Young people are encouraged to take HPV vaccines, preventing from dangerous types of the virus, while women are recommended to pass regular Pap smear tests to control their health.
Lymphogranuloma Venereum, or LGV, is a relatively rare sexually transmitted disease that becomes increasingly common among gay men in Western Europe, Australia and USA. Caused by several types of Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria, LGV is typically transmitted during anal sex and affects the lymphatic system. The infection may be accompanied by enlarged lymph nodes, rectum inflammation, ulcers, sores or abscesses in genital areas. LGV may be followed by complications if left untreated.
Syphilis is a very dangerous STD, caused by Treponema Pallidum bacterium. It is normally contracted during sexual contacts and often difficult to diagnose. The primary symptoms may include small sores, cuts or bumps on genitals or mouth. Body rash on palms, feet and other parts of the body may follow. When untreated for extensive period of time, syphilis can start destroying body functions and lead to mental, neurological problems, heart diseases, blindness and even death. Infected pregnant women can easily pass syphilis to their children. Moderate sexual life and protected sex are the basic ways to reduce the chances of contracting the infection.
Trichomoniasis is another extremely widespread infection, affecting over 8 million Americans annually. It is difficult to diagnose as the infection often doesn’t show any symptoms, especially in men. Women might experience uncommon vaginal discharge, itching or swelling in the genital area, frequent and (or) painful urinating. Trichomoniasis is easily treated, but can also lead to complications, such as vaginitis. Use of condoms can significantly reduce the chances of contracting the infection.