Did you know that there are more than 25 types of STDs? If you’ve had unprotected sexual contact, you could be at risk for contracting any of these STDs. See below for the most common STDs and their corresponding symptoms.
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States. Any sexually active person can be infected with Chlamydia. The greater the number of sex partners, the greater the risk of infection. Teenage girls and young women are more likely to contract Chlamydia because their cervix is not fully matured. Untreated Chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). While PID can have no symptoms, it can lead to other complications later on and impact future pregnancies. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, Chlamydia is easily treated and cured with antibiotics. Because Chlamydia usually causes no symptoms it is important that if you are sexually active that you get regularly tested.
Genital warts are one of the most common symptoms of HPV (Human Papillomavirus). Caused by HPV, genital warts are growths that can occur on the genital region and in the mouth. They are spread by skin-to-skin contact and are often easily passed between sexual partners. Genital warts are not dangerous, but can increase the risk of contracting other STDs. First Care Women’s Clinic or a healthcare provider can diagnose you with genital warts during a pelvic exam. Genital warts can go away on their own, but can also be cured with medications.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 820,000 people in the United States get gonorrhea infections every year. Yet, only half of those cases are detected and reported to the CDC. Gonorrhea is a bacterial disease and grows easily in warm moist areas of the reproductive tract. Often referred to as “the clap” or “the drip,” Gonorrhea is passed during sexual contact. Left untreated, Gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems. A healthcare provider will test you to find out if you have Gonorrhea. If your results are positive, you and your partner(s) will be treated with antibiotics.
The Center of Disease estimates that more than 776,000 people in the United States are newly infected with Herpes every year. Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 and can infect oral and genital regions with cold sores or fever blisters. Herpes is not life threatening, but can cause emotional distress and may impact future pregnancies. Oral herpes may last for a few weeks and can reappear at any time. However, they are harmless in adults and children. A blood test can determine if you have Herpes. While Herpes has no cure, medicine is available to manage the infection. If you suspect you might have Herpes, the staff at First Care can help you know for sure and get you the treatment you need.
There are still more than 1 million people living with HIV in the United States. About one-fourth of those infected have yet to be diagnosed and is unaware of their infection. HIV or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus causes deterioration of the body’s immune system. A person with HIV is more likely to get sick with infections, and in it’s advanced stages, is called AIDS, which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. HIV is transmitted by blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk. HIV is not curable, but treatment to manage the infection is available to keep your immune system strong. Symptoms of HIV do not manifest for a long time, however, you might experience symptoms such as fever, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches and swollen glands during your first stages of the disease.
About 50% of sexually active men and women acquire a genital HPV infection. HPV is so common that nearly all men and women contract the HPV infection at least once in their lifetime. And discussed with genital warts, HPV stands for the Human Papillomavirus, for which there are more than 100 strands. Forty of those types can cause the genital regions to be infected and are passed between sexual partners. Health professionals have found that contracting HPV could lead to cervical cancer in the future. A pelvic exam and a pap smear is the best way to detect a HPV infection. If genital warts are present, a topical treatment may be prescribed to remove them.
The CDC estimates that almost 750,000 of women experience an episode of PID. PID occurs when bacteria from other infections move upward from a women’s vagina into her reproductive organs. While there are a variety of organisms that can cause PID, it is most commonly caused by Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. If left untreated, PID can cause permanent damage to the female reproductive organs, causing a high risk of infertility or even ectopic pregnancies. PID is hard to diagnosis because not all women experience symptoms. There is no precise test for PID, but a health care provider can determine the cause of your pelvic pain with a series of tests or an ultrasound. Most PID can be treated with antibiotics; however the damage is often irreversible. For this reason, if you are experiencing pelvic pain, you should seek medical treatment.
Syphilis is an STD that can cause long term complications or even death if not treated. It can be transmitted from person to person by direct contact with syphilis sores, which occur primarily on the external genitals. Symptoms usually occur about 21 days after infection. The first stage of the disease causes painless, firm and round sore marks to appear on the body. These sores can last for 3-6 weeks and heal regardless if a person is treated. If untreated, the disease will move to the secondary stage and cause more severe symptoms.
Syphilis may continue to be in the body even if the symptoms are latent or hidden. This stage of the disease can last for years and symptoms can include:
The late stages of Syphilis can cause serious physical complications to occur if left untreated. Pregnant women should be tested because it can be passed to the baby. Syphilis can be detected by a blood test and treated with an appropriate antibiotic.
Trichomoniasis is a STD caused by the protozoan parasite called Trichomoniasis Vaginalis, and can infect both men and women. In women, the most commonly infected part of the body is the lower genital tract. Trichomoniasis is most commonly transmitted during sex from a penis to vagina or from a vagina to penis. The disease can also be passed from a vagina to another vagina. The parasite can also spread to infect other areas of the body such as the hands, mouth of anus. Trichomoniasis can increase the risk of contracting other STDs, such as the HIV virus. Women who are pregnant and infected with Trichomoniasis are likely to have their babies too early, and babies born to infected mothers are more likely to have a birth weight less than 5.5 pounds. It can be difficult to diagnose Trichomoniasis because of the lack of detectable symptoms. A laboratory test will help determine whether or not you have Trichomoniasis. Trichomoniasis can be cured with a single dose of an antibiotic.
One third of women will experience symptoms of vaginitis during their lifetime. Vaginitis is a medical term to describe various conditions that cause infections or inflammation in the vagina. Vaginitis is most commonly caused by bacteria, yeast or viruses and will not cause any serious complications, but can increase risk of premature deliveries and low birth weight babies in women who are pregnant. Your healthcare provider can diagnose you with Vaginitis by taking a sample of your vaginal discharge. Depending on the cause, you will be treated with a pill or be provided a cream to apply to the vagina.
Women suffering from Vaginitis may experience a range of symptoms depending on the cause of the inflammation. Some common symptoms include:
Do you think you may have an STD? Make a free and confidential appointment at one of our four locations in Palm Beach County today.