Educating yourself about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), can help you understand what you should do before having sex and also allows you to be an informed consumer when it comes to making decisions about the treatment options. Every single doctor from the entire world recommends to not neglect the smallest symptom of your genitals! A medical exam or even a simple STD test could save your health or, even, your life. Even if you don‘t have any symptoms, you should take the annual tests, because there are some diseases that don’t display any symptoms at all.
Top Five Health Issue You Should Be Regularly Tested For:
- Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the United States and it accounts for approximately 3 million new cases every year. It can affect both women and men and it is caused by any species that belongs to the bacterial family Chlamydiaceae. You can get chlamydia during vaginal, oral, or anal sex with an infected partner. This disease can also be heritable, a pregnant woman can pass it to her baby during childbirth.
In women, in 70-80% of cases, it does not cause any symptoms and it can take months or years to be discovered. If there are symptoms, they may include painful sexual intercourse, abdominal pain, fever, painful urination, abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, the urge to urinate more often than usual. In men, in almost 50% of cases, chlamydia shows symptoms like: testicular pain, fever, an unusual discharge from the penis, painful or burning sensation while urinating. In women, this disease can lead to a pelvic inflammatory disease, it can cause scarring inside the reproductive organs (which can lead to chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy). In men, if it is not treated, chlamydia can cause prostatic inflammation, epidiymits (which can lead to sterility). Women infected with chlamydia are up to five times more likely to become infected with HIV, if exposed.
Every human being should get tested every year, because any sexually active person can get chlamydia through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If the condom is not used correctly, it can put someone at risk for infection. Chlamydia treatment should be provided promptly for all persons testing positive for infection, because delays in receiving chlamydia treatment have been associated with complications, in a limited proportion of chlamydia-infected subjects.
- In the United States, the second most commonly reported STD is gonorrhea. Annually, it accounts for approximately 300.000 new cases. It can cause infections in the genitals, rectum and throat. It is a very common infection, especially among young people (between 15 and 24 years old). You can get this STD during vaginal, oral, or anal sex with an infected partner, also, this disease can be heritable. You can reduce the risk of getting gonorrhea by using latex condoms every time you have sex and from the very beginning of it.
Image credit: afostecsystemutility.wordpress.com
Gonorrhea does not always cause symptoms. In women, gonorrhea can cause bleeding between periods, pain or burning sensation when urinating and increased discharge from the vagina. In men, gonorrhea can cause discharge from the penis and pain when urinating. Unfortunately, most people with gonorrhea do not have any symptoms or the symptoms are too mild, so they do not realize that are having problems and they can develop serious complications from the infection. If women do not treat this STD, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which causes problems with pregnancy and infertility (untreated, gonorrhea infection could increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy, a condition in which the fertilized egg develops outside the uterus. This is a dangerous condition for both mother and baby). Also, if men don’t treat gonorrhea, it can cause problems with the prostate and testicles.
If you are a sexually active women or a sexually active man, you should be tested for gonorrhea every year!
- Syphilis is a STD caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum and it is transmitted by direct contact with syphilis sore, but it can also pass from mother to baby during pregnancy. It infects the genital area, lips, mouth, or anus of both men and women. On its beginning, it appears just as a painless rash, but if it is left untreated, it can cause other diseases in other organs of the body. Syphilis can cause blindness, dementia, personality changes or even death. This disease is easy to be cured with antibiotics if you catch it early. So, it is very important to be tested every year for syphilis, even if you use condoms, because these do not completely eliminate the risk of catching or spreading the disease.
4. Mycoplasma Genitalium is a STD very common among young people in the United States. This is not such a ”famous” disease, even some doctors are not familiar with it. This disease was associated with pelvic inflammatory, in women, and with nongonococcal urethritis, in men. Studies show that the condoms do not reduce significantly the risk of getting this STD, so the annual test is mandatory.
5. Trichomoniasis is the most common STD in sexually active young women. The symptoms are: strong vaginal odor, pain on intercourse, frothy discharge, itching and irritation. Also, men can get this STD, but their symptoms are mild and include: discharge, pain on urination, discomfort in the penis. If you have trichomoniasis and you have not treat it, you are more susceptible to infection by HIV, so you must be tested every year to avoid this.