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STD

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and its Treatment

 

Most sexually transmitted diseases or infection are caused viruses with a few exceptions. STDs are generally asymptomatic in the initial stages and exhibit symptoms only when the infection has reached a more advanced stage. Many people may transmit it to their partners without knowledge as there are no symptoms of the infection. Therefore, sexually active people, particularly those with multiple partners should go for regular screening tests for infections.
Bacterial vaginosis
It is a condition which causes the number of bacteria in the vagina to increase and is one of the most commonly found genital disease in women. Though, it is not considered to be a ‘sexually transmitted disease’, the presence of this condition does increase the risk of the affected women to get infected. Due to this, the body’s immunity towards other infections is greatly compromised.
Even in a perfectly healthy vagina, there are millions of bacteria present. Lactobacillus is the bacteria which is naturally present in the vagina. These bacteria produce hydrogen peroxide which keeps a check on the growth of other bacteria thereby maintaining a perfect balance in the vagina. In bacterial vaginosis, the other kinds of bacteria like Mycoplasma hominis, gardnerela vaginalis are produced excessively due to which imbalance persists. There can be several reasons for bacterial vaginosis like:-
Use of water to clean body cavities specially vagina which disturbs the balance in the vaginal flora.
Antibiotic treatments that go on for long can also lead to imbalance.
During pregnancy, bacterial vaginosis can occur do to hormonal changes that occur in the body.
Women going through menopause may also experience this condition which occurs due to hormonal changes.
The most common symptom of bacterial vaginosis is grayish discharge with a fishy smell. It is often mistakenly diagnosed to be yeast infection. Several tests can be carried out including a pH test of the vagina which can indicate the presence of imbalance due to change in the acidity levels.
Treatment options can be both topical and oral. This infection is known for relapsing therefore physicians recommend a 7 day course of antibiotics like metronidazole. Probiotic supplements are also often recommended in conjunction with antibiotics as they help in restoring the bacterial balance of the vagina.

Hepatitis C
It is a viral infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus. This infection does not have any apparent symptoms, hence can remain concealed for a long duration. However, with progression in the condition, it can lead to liver cancer, gastric varices and may even permanently damage the esophagus. It is one of the main causes of liver transplantation.
Due to unavailability of any vaccine for Hepatitis C virus (HCV), it is considered to be riskier than other varieties of hepatitis. In most cases, the carrier can be unaware of the presence of the virus for decades.
This virus can be transmitted through blood and other bodily fluids. Some of the common causes could be:-
Transfusion of infected blood.
Use of unsterilized medical equipment.
During childbirth to a baby through infected mother.
Unprotected sex with multiple people who could be HVC carriers.

The disease does not exhibit any symptoms for a very long time, but in the advanced stages some symptoms could include but may not be limited to jaundice, loss of appetite, muscle or joint pains etc.
The treatment depends on the type of viral genotype and also on the stage of hepatitis. The treatment is normally for a period of 8-12 weeks and patients have to be regularly monitored to check for relapse. In extreme cases only, removal of liver is done.

HIV
HIV virus causes AIDS in human beings. The current treatment options available only slow down the spread of disease in the body and not completely cure it as there is no known cure for AIDS yet. As with all the other type of viruses, it attaches itself to immune cells in the body and then multiplies itself by replicating and infecting other cells. As it is present in an infected person’s bodily fluids it can be easily transferred via unprotected intercourse, blood transfusions or any contact through cut and lesions in the skin. Unprotected sex and multiple sex partners are the major causes of having AIDS.
The diagnosis of AIDs is dependent on a person’s age, health the stage to which it has advanced. Some symptoms may be visible within 2-4 weeks of the onset of infection. The progression from first to second stage of AIDS could take around 10-12 years but within the time the virus continues to multiply and weaken the immune system.
There is no known treatment for the infection, but the drugs can limit the amount of virus present hence helping to strengthen the immune system.
Practicing safe sex and using sterile medical equipment are important to prevent AIDS.

NON SPECIFIC URETHRITIS
It is the condition in which the inflammation of urethra takes place but there is no clear reason associated with it along with the clear elimination of sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea is excluded. One of the most common causes is Chlamydia along with genital herpes and trichomonas vaginalis. Sexual transmission is not the only way one can get this disease. Infections in kidney, bladder or urethra may cause inflammation. Certain medicated liquids or cosmetics can cause irritation of the region around the urethra. Also, very sensitive skin coming in contact with materials like latex can cause inflammation. Condition is only diagnosed in men and not in women due to absence of symptoms. Symptoms chiefly include burning sensation, whitish discharge from the tip of the penis, soreness around the tip of the penis etc.
The condition is commonly treated with antibiotics and the most commonly used antibiotics are azithromycin and doxycycline. The treatment is recommended for duration of up to two weeks. Patients are advised to refrain from sexual intercourse and the partners should also be treated for a possibility of the infection.
Safe sexual practices are advised to prevent this condition.

Syphilis
It is a sexually transmitted disease which is cause by bacteria known as treponema pallidum. Though the disease is largely controllable, many people get infected by syphilis due to unprotected intercourse, involvement with multiple partners and improper or no use of condoms.
The symptoms of syphilis can remain mute for years therefore the infected person may keep passing it on without any knowledge. In the preliminary stages syphilis can be recognized by rashes in the genital area, though in its advanced stages dementia, impotence, blindness etc may also occur.
It can be passed on due to unprotected sex with an infected person or from infected mother to fetus. Syphilis can affect humans in four stages of its advancement.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection and therefore the most effective way to treat it is by antibiotic treatment. The patient is advised to refrain from sexual activity till the infection is completely cured.

Trichomonas vaginalis
Trichomonas vaginalis is a parasitic infection which causes trichomoniasis. This infection is present in urethra of men and in the vagina and urethra of women. It is mainly caused by unprotected intercourse. The symptoms generally become visible during a month. Women may experience vaginal soreness or redness accompanied by abnormal vaginal discharge. In addition, pain while urination or pain while sex may also be experienced. Men might experience pain in the penis and pain might also occur during intercourse or after urination.
It is difficult to diagnose this condition as the symptoms are similar to other STDs. Treatment of the condition is done by antibiotics like metrodinazole which is prescribed for seven days. During the treatment alcohol should not be consumed. Safe sex and hygiene are important from protection from this infection. It is advisable to go for regular checkups to ensure early detection in case of infection.

Gonorrhoea
The bacterium which causes gonorrhea is known as Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is sexual transmitted infection and can also be passed on to the newborn during birth.
The most common symptom experienced by women is vaginal discharge with pus and mild odor. For most women this could be the only symptom. Sometimes, dysuria, bleeding between periods and abdominal pain may also be experienced. In men, urinary discharge, burning sensation while urinating, acute epididymitis and rectal infection may also occur.
In the initial stages, gonorrhea may be treated by antibiotics but in advanced stages of infection like pelvic inflammatory disease the patient may be required to stay in the hospital.

Chlamydia
It is a sexually transmitted, bacterial infection and is very common. Most patients do not show any symptoms.
Since this infection has generally no symptoms therefore women who are sexually active should go for regular screenings.
When left untreated this infection could result in pelvic inflammatory disease. In pregnant women who are infected this infection can cause the risk of complications.
In men, penile discharge is present along with urinary infection. Typical, a vaginal swab or urinary swab is taken for testing. Blood test may also be carried out. The treatment requires antibiotics and it is imperative that the partner is also treated for the infection.

Pubic lice
Pubic lice are found in the pubic areas of human body along with places which have coarse hair like armpits and eyebrows. They are found only in human beings and they thrive on human blood without which they die within two days.
It is most commonly transmitted through sexual activity, sharing personal items with infected person. Transmission of lice is less common through sharing of personal things because the lice do not survive for long without human warmth and blood.
The major symptom in this case is itching in the pubic area and visible lice in the pubic hair. Lice may also cause skin rash that may be bluish grey in color.
The treatment for lice is topical application of medicines containing permithrin or pyrethrins which are very effective and are available over-the-counter.
People who are infected should get their partners checked for infection.

Scabies
It is a highly contagious skin infection which causes extreme itchiness and can be passed on by direct skin-to-skin contact. It is caused by sarcoptes scabei which is a mite and because of the movement of the mite on the skin, itching occurs. It is caused by skin-to-skin contact for prolonged duration. Scabies can spread within family or in a group of people where people are in constant touch.
The major symptom of scabies is itching which can start in one body part and may spread to other. It may become worse during night or after a warm bath. Itching may also cause minor skin damage. The diagnosis of the condition may be made by simply examining the pubic area. The treatment is simple and single topical application of permethrin cream is insufficient. As a precautionary measure, doctor may advise a second application of the cream in a few days to eliminate the possibility of untreated lice.

Trichomoniasis
It is a non viral infection which affects women more than men. It is one of the major causes of vaginal complaints among women who are sexually active.
Generally, women do not exhibit any symptoms but in later stages of infection the symptoms may include vaginal discharge filled with pus and abdominal cramps. In advanced stages, it may cause urinary tract infections. In men also it may cause urinary tract infection and prostatitis or inflammation of epididymis.
Treatment might include metronidazole and tinidazole. Patients and their partners are advised to refrain from intercourse till the time infection is completely cured.