Sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that can be transferred from one person to another through sexual contact. STDs are on the increase and this is attributed to multiple sex partners, poor hygiene, drug abuse, homosexuality, etc. "There are more than 25 diseases that are transmitted through sexual activity," says Dr Kapil Juneja, Consultant, Urology and Andrology, Moolchand Medcity.
"Some STDs can have severe consequences, if not treated, which is why it is important to go for STD testing. Some STDs can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause infertility, while others may even be fatal," warns the Dr Juneja. Some STDs can be detrimental to the health of foetus and infants as they can be transmitted through placenta and amniotic fluid, during delivery and breast-feeding. STDs can be prevented by refraining from sexual activity and to a certain extent, some contraceptive devices, such as condoms.
Human Papilloma Virus:One of the main causes of cervical cancer. "While HPV can be treated to reduce the signs and symptoms, there is currently no cure for this virus. However, a HPV vaccine has recently been developed to prevent the infection," explains the doctor.
Herpes Virus: Another STD that presently has no cure. However, treatment is available and there things you can do at home to help relieve discomfort. Herpes symptoms include blisters or sores that periodically break out on genital area.
Hepatitis: There is now a Hepatitis B (HBV) vaccine available to prevent the spread of this infection. Treatment is available for chronic sufferers. Other types of hepatitis infections that can be passed through sexual contact include Hepatitis A and Hepatitis C.
HIV/AIDS: "One STD that many people are worried about getting is HIV. While new treatments can prolong an infected person's life. For others this infection eventually progresses to AIDS and ultimately death," says Dr Juneja.
Syphilis: "Syphilis can easily be treated and cured. However, as history has shown, without treatment, syphilis symptoms can progress and affect the nervous system and brain leading to dementia and even death.
Trichomoniasis: The most commonly curable STD. "However, symptoms of trich may be mistaken for a yeast infection causing a woman to use the wrong type of treatment for her vaginal discharge," says Dr Juneja.
Pubic Lice: A very common STD, crabs are very similar to head lice. While the itchy symptoms can be hard to miss, treatment for pubic lice can easily take care of the discomfort.
The most common symptoms of STDs are discharge from genital organs, pain, itching and burning in genitals, perineum and during urination; pain in the lower abdomen, flanks, warts, vesicles (pus or fluid-filled swellings) ulcers (wound) over genitals, swelling in inguinal area (from lymph nodes which may be painful also) and pain during intercourse, fever, generalized weakness. "Generally they follow recent unprotected intercourse although they may become chronic if not properly diagnosed and treated ," says Dr Juneja.
Treatment generally involves a course of effective antibiotics, analgesics, control of fever with supportive measures like plenty of oral liquids and maintenance of personal hygiene. "One must remember that once STDs are diagnosed they must be treated completely as incomplete treatment can lead to chronicity of disease and hence they become difficult to eradicate," adds Dr Juneja.
Avoid having contact with person with multiple partners. Be faithful to each other. STDs can be easily prevented by using condoms during intercourse. "Nowadays female condoms are also available which women can use without even letting their male partner come to know about it. Do not let enjoyment spoil your health as STDs may have serious repercussions over yours, your partner's and your offspring's health.
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