STD Symptoms

| September 03, 2002

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CHLAMYDIA

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection in the United States. It can infect the penis, vagina, cervix, anus, urethra or eye.

Transmission/prevention

Chlamydia is spread through unprotected vaginal and anal sex.

Symptoms

Three-quarters of the women and half of the men with the disease have no symptoms. Possible symptoms include discharge from the penis or vagina and a burning sensation when urinating. Additional symptoms for women include lower abdominal pain or pain during intercourse and bleeding between menstrual periods. Men may experience burning and itching around the opening of the penis or pain and swelling in the testicles.

Testing

Urine test or collection of fluid from an infected site.

Treatment

Antibiotics



GENITAL WARTS

Genital warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus. An estimated 40 million Americans are infected with HPV, with 1 million new cases each year.

Transmission/prevention

Latex condoms provide some protection if they cover the area of infection.

Symptoms

In women, warts may develop inside the vagina, where they are hard to detect. They may also appear on the lips of the vagina or around the anus. In men, they can appear on the penis, the scrotum or around the anus. If there are visible signs, you will notice them within three weeks to six months after having sex with someone who is infected. Most HPV infections show no visible signs.

Testing

A healthcare provider can check for warts or other abnormal tissue. For women, a Pap smear can detect precancerous changes in the cervix and may show changes caused by HPV infection.

Treatment

There are ways to remove warts, but the underlying HPV infection can’t be cured.



GONORRHEA

Gonorrhea is a common STD that, if not treated early, can cause serious problems, especially for women. About 1 million American men and women contract gonorrhea each year.

Transmission/prevention

You can get and spread gonorrhea through oral, anal and vaginal sex.

Symptoms

Some men and about half of the women with gonorrhea have no symptoms. Symptoms may include discharge from the penis or vagina, the need to urinate often, burning or pain when urinating, and in women, bleeding between monthly periods.

Testing

Fluid sample from the penis or vagina.

Treatment
Antibiotics. An infected person can continue to transmit the disease until cured.



HEPATITIS B

Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by a virus. It’s 100 times more infectious than HIV. About 300,000 Americans get hepatitis B each year.

Transmission/prevention

You can get hepatitis B from vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse. To minimize risk, do not share toothbrushes or razors, needles or syringes, or instruments used in ear-piercing, tattooing, or hair removal. If a member of your household has hepatitis B, you should get immunized.

Symptoms

Symptoms usually appear two to six weeks after contact. They can include poor appetite; nausea; vomiting; headaches; general malaise; jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin); darkened urine and light-colored stools. Someone not showing symptoms can still pass the disease.

Testing

Blood and urine tests. A biopsy may be needed in chronic cases.

Treatment

There is no cure. For acute hepatitis B, treatment includes rest and diet. There are some new treatments for chronic hepatitis, including interferon.



HERPES

Genital herpes is a chronic, lifelong viral infection. An estimated 40 million people have it. Each year, about 500,000 new people get symptomatic herpes. There are even more people who have no symptoms.

Transmission/prevention

You can get and spread herpes through oral, anal and vaginal sex.

Symptoms

Early symptoms may include a burning sensation in the genitals, lower back pain, pain when urinating, and flu-like symptoms. A few days later, small red bumps may appear in the genital area. Later, these bumps can develop into painful blisters, which then crust over, form a scab, and heal.

Testing

Physical examination of sores.

Treatment

Treatment of genital herpes outbreaks, especially when started early, shortens the duration of the outbreak and reduces the symptoms. The drugs used to treat genital herpes are acyclovir and, more recently, famcyclovir and valacyclovir.



HIV/AIDS

AIDS is now the fifth leading cause of death in the United States among people aged 25 to 44.

Transmission/prevention

HIV is usually spread through unprotected sexual intercourse or through sharing drug needles.

Symptoms

Symptoms can include severe weight loss, fevers, headaches, drenching night sweats, fatigue, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, and difficulty swallowing. It takes an average of eight years for symptoms to develop.

Testing

Blood test. With anonymous testing, you’re identified only by number. The CDC National AIDS Hotline, (800) 342-AIDS, can help you find a test site in your area. Home test kits are available.

Treatment
There is no cure. Anti-HIV treatment is usually indicated once the T-cell count goes below 500.Therapy for the viral infection, with antiretroviral drugs, uses two classes of drugs: the nucleoside analogs (AZT, ddi, ddc, D4T) and the new protease inhibitors. Treatment is complex and is shown to prolong life.



PUBIC LICE AND SCABIES

Pubic lice (often called “crabs”) and Scabies (itch mites) are tiny insects that live on the skin.

Transmission/prevention

These are transmitted sexually and through contact with an infected area or infested materials, such as sheets and towels. You should dry-clean materials that you think may carry scabies or pubic lice.

Symptoms

Although some people infected with pubic lice have no symptoms, you may experience considerable itching around the genitals. You may see minuscule insects moving on the skin or oval eggs attached to your body hair. The main symptom of scabies is itching, especially at night. A rash may appear in the folds of skin between the fingers or on the wrists, elbows, abdomen or genitals.

Testing

Physical exam

Treatment

The most effective treatments include shampoos and creams that contain lindane or a related compound, which are available without a prescription.



SYPHILIS

Untreated syphilis can be fatal. You can have syphilis without knowing it and pass it on to others.

Transmission/prevention

You can get and spread syphilis through oral, anal, and vaginal sex
Symptoms

Syphilis has three stages. During the first stage, a painless sore may appear (usually from 10 to 90 days after sexual contact with an infected person). The second stage occurs from three weeks to three months after the primary stage and includes flu-like symptoms and possible hair loss. Some people experience a rash on their hands and feet, if not their entire body. Although rare, tertiary syphilis can appear three to 10 years or more after the first and second stages. Symptoms may include skin lesions, mental deterioration, loss of balance and vision, loss of sensation, shooting pains in the legs and heart disease.

Testing

Blood test

Treatment

Antibiotics. The most common treatment is penicillin injections.

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis (“trich”) attacks 2 to 3 million Americans every year.

Transmission/prevention

Trichomoniasis can also be transmitted sexually or by infected objects, such as sheets and towels.

Symptoms

Women may experience itching, burning, vaginal or vulval redness, unusual vaginal discharge, frequent or painful urination, discomfort during intercourse, and abdominal pain. Symptoms tend to worsen after menstruation. Men are usually asymptomatic, but symptoms can include unusual penile discharge, painful urination, and tingling inside the penis.

Testing

Sample of secretions from the penis or vagina.

Treatment
Antibiotics

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