Sexually Transmitted Disease
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are illnesses transmitted by sexual contact. STDs comprise a large and diverse set of disease entities which include viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and arthropods. Many of these diseases can cause great harm before symptoms are detected.
Chlamydia, the most common STD, can cause infertility in both men and women, making it impossible ever to have children. Gonorrhea, another very common STD, may also have this risk. A majority of US teenagers who admit to having sex are infected with an STD.
List of STDs and their Signs and Symptoms
This list is not complete, and many of these disease agents can be transmitted by non-sexual means. Because there are so many different infections, symptoms can vary greatly. Your doctor can give you a great deal of information and should be consulted early to prevent permanent health problems.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
In the early stages, HIV can cause fevers, rashes, joint pains, and other non-specific symptoms. These usually occur within weeks after exposure. If untreated, HIV infection usually leads to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) within eight to ten years. The symptoms of AIDS can be anything, but common presentations include weight loss, night sweats, unusual skin lesions, and diarrhea.
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV 1 and 2)
HSV can appear on either the lips or the genitalia. It usually presents as a painful, bumpy rash, sometimes with fever.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
HPV often presents as anogenital warts, or as an abnormality on a pap smear. These lesions can be precancerous.
Hepatitis B and C Viruses (HBV, HCV)
These are often asymptomatic, but over time can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. If any symptoms are present, the illness can look like any hepatitis, that is, jaundice, change in urine or stool color, abdominal swelling, and fatigue.
Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonorrhea, "the clap")
In males, this presents as a foul penile discharge. Women may have a vaginal discharge, or no symptoms at all.
Chlamydia trachomatis (chlamydia)
This presents similarly to gonorrhea, but is often asymptomatic, and is commonly carried without the patient knowing they are ill. This makes it especially dangerous as these carriers tend to continue the behaviour that got them infected in the first place, spreading the disease to their other sexual partners. Chlamydia is the most common STD in the developed world and can cause a number of severe complications, including infertility in both sexes. There are three different sub-types of the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis that cause lymphogranuloma venereum. Lymphogranuloma venereum is one of the maladies associated with gay bowel syndrome.
Treponema pallidum (syphillis)
This organism causes syphilis, a multisystem disease.
Trichamonas vaginalis ("trich")
In females, this usually presents as a foul vaginal discharge, but males are usually asymptomatic. Even though males are asymptomatic, partners of infected females must be treated.
Pubic lice ("crabs")
This presents as itching in the groin, and often small parasites are easily visible.
This often presents as itching, with rash being more prominent between the fingers and toes.
The only completely effective means of preventing the transmission of STDs is abstinence from sex until marriage and fidelity thereafter.
Of the other Methods of contraception, only condoms offer any protection against STDs (including HIV), but are be completely ineffective against STDs such as pubic lice which are transmitted by simple body contact and do not require sex to occur. When improperly used, or if damaged, they are completely ineffective both as contraception and as STD protection. Even with perfect use (which is rare) around 2% of condoms will be damaged during sex.
Vaccines are not widely available for STDs. An HPV vaccine has recently been released for protection against certain, but not all, strains of HPV, though the long term efficacy of this controversial vaccine is disputed.
People who have been sexually active before marriage can transmit their sexual diseases to their partner after marriage, therefore failure to use proper protection with an unfaithful spouse can still lead to infection. Additionally many STDs can be transmitted to unborn children through the pregnant mother.
Some STDs are curable; many are not. For further information, please consult a physician.
Atheism and sexually transmitted diseases
- 4 out of 10 teenagers are sexually active; over half of this 40% (25% of all teenagers) have an STD.