Know the basics
What is sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that you can get from having sex with someone who is the host of infectious agents. There are more than 20 types of STDs, including:
- Vulvovaginal infection (Genital herpes, Trichomoniasis, Candidiasis, etc.);
- PID (Pelvic inflammatory disease).
How common is sexually transmitted diseases (stds)?
This health condition is common, but in some causes it can be more severe for females than males. If a woman has an STD and get pregnant, it can cause serious health problems for the baby. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors and using medications. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
The common symptoms of STDs are:
- Sores or bumps on the genitals or in the oral or rectal area;
- Painful or burning urination;
- Discharge from penis;
- Unusual or odd-smelling vaginal discharge;
- Unusual vaginal bleeding;
- Pain during sex;
- Sore, swollen lymph nodes, particularly in the groin but sometimes more widespread;
- Lower abdominal pain;
- General symptoms like fever, weakness;
- Rash over the trunk, hands or feet;
It should be noted that there are some STDs which will stay “silent” for a period of time and may only show some mild symptoms (e.g. 80-90% of women and >50% of men with C. trachomatis genital infections lack symptoms) There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:
- You are sexually active and may have been exposed to an STI;
- You have signs and symptoms of an STI;
- When you consider becoming sexually active or when you’re 21 — whichever comes first;
- Before you start having sex with a new partner.
Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
Know the causes
What causes sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
- Viruses such as HIV virus, hepatitis B, herpes complex and human papilloma virus (HPV)
- Bacteria such as N. gonorrhea, Chlamydia trachomatis, Treponema pallidum, Mycoplasmas
- Parasites (Trichomonas)
- Fungus like Candida
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
There are many risk factors for STDs, such as:
- Those with multiple sex partners or are polygamie or polyamourous relationships;
- Homosexual men;
- Those who perform unprotected sex;
- Commercial sex workers;
- Drug abusers who tend to practice high-risk sexual behavior;
- Abusing alcohol or using recreational drugs or having sex partners who engaged in theses activites;
- Those who share the same needles;
- Those who live in a community with high prevalence of STDs.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) diagnosed?
If your sexual history and current signs and symptoms suggest that you have an STD, laboratory tests can identify the cause and detect the problem:
- Blood tests.Blood tests can confirm the diagnosis of HIV or later stages of syphilis.
- Urine samples.Some STIs can be confirmed with a urine sample.
- Fluid samples.If you have active genital sores, testing fluid and samples from the sores may be done to diagnose the type of infection. Discharge from urethral track can also be used in some cases. Laboratory tests of material from a genital sore or discharge are used to diagnose some STIs.
How is sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) treated?
- Antibiotics: are most effective to cure many sexually transmitted bacterial and parasitic infections, including gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia and trichomoniasis.
- Antiviral drugs: can lessen the risk of infection or recurrences if you take them daily. The sooner you start treatment, the more effective it is to cure or treat your disease.
These medications must be used and supervised under doctor’s indications.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with health condition:
- Have a healthy eating diet;
- Quit smoking;
- Stop using illicit drug;
- Do exercise;
- Practice safer sex;
- Get tested and treated for STDs;
- Take your medications as prescribed;
- Follow the “4C” control: contact tracing, measuring compliance with treatment, and counseling on risk reduction which includes condom promotion and provision.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
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Healthy Lifestyle Choices for People With HIV. http://www.everydayhealth.com/hiv-aids/hiv-aids-caregiving.aspx. Accessed July 28, 2016.