STDs, short for sexually transmitted diseases, are conditions that are spread from one person to another through sexual contact or intercourse. Thanks to condoms and the emphasis on practicing safe sex, STDs aren’t as common as they once were. However, they remain one of the most common diseases in the world, and there are more than 374 million new cases every year worldwide.
Signs and Symptoms of STDs
Sexually transmitted disease refers to any disease that is contracted and spread through sexual contact. There are many different types of STDs, but chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital herpes, genital warts, and HIV/AIDS are the most common. Your exact list of symptoms will vary depending on the type of STD you have and how severe it is, but your symptoms will usually include the following.
- A painful or burning sensation when you urinate
- Bumps, warts, and open sores around the genitals and/or mouth
- Unusual discharge or bleeding from the vagina or penis
- Stomach aches and pains
- Fever, including night sweats
- Skin rash
- Body aches and other flu-like symptoms
- Pain and discomfort during intercourse
- Unexpected weight loss and diarrhea
Once again, while your symptoms will vary depending on what type of STD you have, they usually include many of those listed above. Because of how painful and uncomfortable STD symptoms are, it’s important to seek immediate diagnosis and treatment.
STDs are highly infectious diseases that spread during sexual intercourse and the fluids that are exchanged during sex. Most STDs can spread semen, mucous, saliva, and other fluids of the penis, vagina, or mouth. You contract the disease when you exchange fluids with someone who already has it.
While STDs get spread and contracted through sexual intercourse, the root cause is due to certain viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Bacteria, for instance, is the cause of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis, while HIV and herpes are caused by a virus.
STDs can happen to anyone at any age as long as they are sexually active and don’t practice safe sex. However, some STDs, such as HIV, are transmissible through blood, which means that you can get it from a tattoo needle or by sharing needles for injections. Additionally, while anyone can get an STD by having sex with the wrong person, you increase your risk by having unprotected sex with multiple partners.
To diagnose an STD, your doctor will start by performing a medical exam and asking you about your health history. If you have recently had sexual relations with someone and are showing most of the classic symptoms of an STD, your doctor will perform a blood test to confirm or rule out an STD.
If necessary, you may also undergo a fluid or urine test to further confirm a diagnosis. Each of these tests will reveal whether or not one of the viruses that causes an STD is present. If it is, you have an STD and will need to start treatment right away.
While STD complications are rare, they can certainly happen and tend to be very serious when they do. Possible complications include infertility, complications during pregnancy, eye and skin problems, chronic pelvic pain and disease, and more. Additionally, contracting HIV can lead to AIDS if you don’t receive treatment early enough.
Because of the potential complications of STDs, it’s important to contact all of your recent sexual partners and tell them the bad news. They will need to get tested for an STD so that they can start treatment if necessary.
Because of the potential complications STDs can lead to, and because you can easily spread it to others, it’s important to seek medical attention if you think you have an STD. The best way to do this is to go to your local urgent care facility, such as Anderson Walk-In Clinic.
At Anderson Walk-In Clinic, you can undergo the necessary testing to confirm whether or not you have an STD. If you do, further testing will show the exact type that you have so that you can start treatment immediately. Anderson also offers routine STD screening to ensure you aren’t an asymptomatic carrier of the disease.
If you have an STD caused by bacteria or parasite, antibiotics are usually enough to cure you of the disease. If, however, your STD stems from a virus, you will need to take antivirals. Either way, however, a concrete diagnosis and prescription medications are typically enough to cure most STDs.