STD’s, which are also commonly referred to as sexually transmitted diseases or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are caused by different kinds of viruses and bacteria, and occur as a result of having sexual contact with an individual who is already infected.
There are at least 20 different kinds of sexually transmitted diseases. Below is a look at some of the most common types.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection that is caused by bacteria. Men who are infected may experience burning during urination, and women can develop serious pelvic infections in addition to infections of the cervix. While chlamydia is most commonly spread through sexual contact, there are other forms of it that are not, which can also lead to eye infections and even pneumonia. It is typically treated with antibiotics.
Individuals with this type of sexually transmitted disease may notice sores in the genital area, while others may notice no visible symptoms at all. You can have a single outbreak of genital herpes or repeated outbreaks. It is commonly treated with a short course of anti-viral drugs like Valtrex and Zovirax, which will help to relieve symptoms that the patient is experiencing, or to prevent symptoms from worsening. Patients who have a history of developing genital herpes on more than one occasion may require long-term suppressive therapy.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Also known as genital warts, HPV is characterized by abnormal skin growths on the genital area. While there is no specific treatment for HPV itself, there are some precautionary measures that patients and their healthcare practitioners can make, such as cervical pre-cancer screening, as certain types of HPV can cause cervical cancer in women.
This bacterial infection most commonly affects the genital area but it can also be found in other areas of the body, such as the rectum or the throat. Some individuals who are infected with gonorrhea may experience no symptoms, while others may experience abnormal discharge (men) and pelvic infections (women.) To prevent the infection from passing back and forth, both sexual partners should be treated with antibiotics.
Also referred to as HBV, Hepatitis B is potentially life-threatening disease of the liver. Not only can it be spread through sexual contact, but also via unsterile body piercing and tattoo equipment, as well as sharing personal hygiene items. Over time, HBV can lead to liver damage or cancer. For more information on HBV, including symptoms and treatment options, visit Dr. Ali Ghahary’s blog on WordPress at alighahary.wordpress.com.
Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of developing STDs. However, there are certain factors that increase that risk, such as having multiple sexual partners or unprotected sex. Individuals under the age of 25 are also at a much higher risk of developing a sexually transmitted disease.
In order to prevent an STD, Vancouver physicians like Dr. Ali Ghahary educate their patients on the importance of safe sex. It is also important to note that many individuals will often use birth control pills as their primary form of conception. However, dual protection – with both oral contraceptives and condoms – will work as better protection against a sexually transmitted disease.
You can find much more information on STDs and sexual health by visiting HealthLink BC’s website at healthlinkbc.ca.