Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Source: Weinstock H, Berman S, Cates W. Sexually transmitted diseases among American youth: incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 2004;36(1):6-10.
Over 65 million Americans are now infected with an incurable STD. Each year, 29 million more become infected with STDs, and almost 4 million of these are teenagers.
STDs can be identified by the following common symptoms:
- unusual discharge from the penis or vagina
- a burning feeling when urinating
- growths, sores or itching in the genital area
- lower abdominal pain
- dark urine
- skin rashes or sores
- yellow eyes
- joint inflammation and enlarged lymph nodes
It is important to understand that many STDs have no obvious symptoms, or only very mild symptoms, but they can still hurt you. It is critical to treat them as early as possible to avoid permanent damage. LifeCare of Brandon is not a medical facility, and we cannot treat an STD, but we do offer FREE AND CONFIDENTIAL counseling and advice if you have been sexually active and think you might have an STD. We can also refer you to a medical professional if necessary.
Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STD. It is transmitted through vaginal, anal and oral sex. Three fourths of women and one half of men with Chlamydia have no symptoms. The few women that do have symptoms may have abnormal vaginal discharge, burning sensation when urinating or lower abdominal pain. Symptoms in men include discharge from the penis or a burning sensation when urinating. 1 in 10 sexually active adolescent female tested is infected. Chlamydia can be treated and cured if a woman gets tested. If left untreated, it can damage a womanís reproductive organs causing her to be unable to have a child.
Gonorrhea is a bacteria that causes genital infections. Gonorrhea is transmitted through vaginal, anal and oral sex. The infection can occur without symptoms. 25-80% of women have no symptoms. The symptoms of infection include burning sensation when urinating and yellowish white discharge from penis, rectum, or vagina. Oral infections of Gonorrhea, when they occur, are mostly without symptoms. Gonorrhea can be treated and cured if a woman is tested. A pregnant woman with gonorrhea can pass it to her baby who may get blindness, joint infection, or fatal blood infection.
Herpes is caused by Herpes Simplex Virus ñ there is no cure for Herpes. Herpes is transmitted through direct contact with infected secretions - vaginal, anal and oral sex. There is no clinical proof that condoms are effective in reducing the risk of this STD. Most people have few or no symptoms from the infection. Symptoms include one or more blisters around the genitals, and flu like symptoms.The blisters break open and heal in 2-4 weeks. 1 in 5 adolescents have genital herpes. Antiviral drugs have shown to reduce the duration of lesions and viral shedding but to not eliminate the infection.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is a group of viruses that cause genital warts and cervical cancer. HPV is the most common STD. HPV is spread by genital contact, skin to skin contact, genital touching and sexual contact. High-risk types cause high-grade cervical cell changes and are associated with cervical and other genital cancers. Low risk types cause genital warts. Most men and women have no symptoms. Women can be diagnosed from a Pap test that is not normal. There are no HPV tests available for men. There is no cure for HPV.
There are still over 1 million people living with HIV in the United States. About one-fourth of those have not yet been diagnosed and are unaware of their infection.
Click Here to learn more about Sexual Health from The Medical Institute web site.