Sexually transmitted diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or venereal diseases (VDs) occur due to the transfer of infectious organisms during sexual contact. STDs occur due to harmful bacteria, parasites, yeasts, and viruses. STDs sometimes occur due to the transmission of organisms from a mother to her child during childbirth or during breastfeeding through the use of unsterilized drug needles and during blood transfusions.

Some specific types of STDs are:

Bacteria-Related STDs

  • Chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis)

  • Gonorrhea (Neisseria gonorrhea)

  • Syphilis (Treponema pallidum)

  • Chancroid (Haemophilus ducreyi)

virus-related STDs

  • Crabs, also known as pubic lice

  • Hepatitis B and D, and rarely, A*, C*, E* (hepatitis viruses, types AE)

  • Genital herpes (herpes simplex virus)

  • Genital warts (human papilloma virus) [HPV])

  • HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus) [HIV virus])

  • Contagious molluscum* (poxvirus)

Protozoan-Related STDs

  • Trichomoniasis (Trichomonas vaginalis)

Parasite-related STDs

  • Pubic lice or crabs (Pediculosis pubis)

fungus-related STDs

  • Fungal infections (Candida albicans)

The genital areas are generally moist and warm and are ideal environments for the growth of yeasts, viruses and bacteria etc.

Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

  • Painful ulcers on the genitals

  • Rashes, fever, headache and cough, joint pain

  • Recurring outbreaks of blister-like sores on the genitals

  • Fatigue, night sweats, chills

  • Sore throat, swollen lymph nodes

  • weightloss

  • Diarrhea

  • strong vaginal odor

  • Vaginal itching or irritation and painful urination

  • Serious complications of AIDS, including unusual infections or cancers, weight loss, intellectual decline (dementia), and death

During transmission, the chances of disease transfer depend on the donor carrying the infection and the carrier. For example, in case of herpes, the probability of transmission of HSV 2 is:

  • Male herpes to non-female herpes = 10%

  • Female herpes to non-male herpes = 4%.

Some STDs, such as genital herpes and HIV, that cause AIDS cannot be cured, but can only be controlled with medication.

For the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases,

  • antibiotics are more commonly preferred in case of bacterial infection

  • for viruses, antiviral drugs or antiretroviral therapy are given

diagnostic methods

  • Blood test: Blood tests help confirm the diagnosis of HIV and AIDS, or sometimes the later stage of syphilis.
  • Urine samples: Sometimes STDs can be confirmed with a urine sample.
  • Fluid samples: In the case of active genital sores, fluids and samples are collected from the sores for analysis and diagnosis of the type of infection. In some cases, laboratory tests of samples from a genital sore or discharge are used to diagnose some STIs (sexually transmitted infections).
  • Pregnant women are screened to prevent transmission of the infection to the baby.

STD treatment and prevention

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics can cure many sexually transmitted bacterial and parasitic infections, such as gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. But there is always the possibility that the infection could happen again.
  • Antiviral drugs: Antiviral medicines reduce the risk of infection, but there is still a chance that the infection could happen again. Antiviral drugs can control HIV infection for many years, but the virus persists and can still be transmitted, although the risk is lower.
  • The earlier a treatment is given, the more effective it is.

  • Health professionals refer to safer sex to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, such as using condoms during sexual activity. But safer sex methods can’t always provide complete protection against an STI.

  • Avoid contact during transfer and exposure to bodily fluids, such as transfusion of blood and other blood products, sharing injection needles, sharing tattoo needles, etc.

  • Abstinence is avoiding or stopping any sexual act with an affected person and is the most effective way to avoid an STI.

  • Monogamy with an uninfected partner: A long-term monogamous relationship with one person reduces the risk of contracting an STI.