Sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STIs, STDs) are infections that spread from person to person through sexual contact. Contact is usually vaginal, oral or anal. However, they can sometimes be spread through other intimate physical contact. This is due to the fact that some STDs, such as herpes and HPV, are only spread through skin-to-skin contact.
Some STIs are harmless, but others can cause serious complications if left untreated. For example, there are several routes of transmission of HIV. This STI can be spread, for example, through the use of contaminated drug needles, as well as through sexual contact. STIs can affect anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or hygiene practices. Many STIs can also be transmitted through non-penetrative sexual activity.
According to WHOEvery day, approximately 1 million STIs are acquired worldwide. They predict 374 million cases of infection in 2020 with one of four STIs: chlamydia (129 million), gonorrhea (82 million), syphilis (7.1 million), and trichomoniasis (156 million).
The numbers are worrying but these diseases are preventable. Learn about some STIs, how to prevent them, and when to seek medical help.
Various Causes of STDs
STDs or STIs can be caused by:
Bacteria: Syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia are some of the STIs that are caused by bacteria.
Parasites: Trichomoniasis An STI is caused by a parasite.
Virus: STI Viruses caused include HPV, genital herpes and HIV.
Other types of infection: Hepatitis A, B, and C viruses, Shigella infection, and Giardia infection. They can be spread through sexual activity, but it is possible to become infected without sexual contact.
Anyone who engages in sexual activity is at risk of getting an STD or STI. The following factors can increase the risk:
- Having sex without protection. Vaginal or anal penetration by an infected partner who is not wearing a latex condom significantly increases the risk of contracting an STI. Improper or inconsistent use of condoms can also increase the risk.
- Although oral sex is less dangerous, infection can still spread if a latex condom or dental dam (a thin, square piece of latex or silicone rubber) is not used.
- Having sex with more than one partner. The more people you have sexual contact with, the higher your risk.
- Having an STI history. The presence of one STI makes it much easier for another to catch it.
- Being forced to have sex. Dealing with rape or assault is difficult, but it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to receive screening, treatment, and emotional support.
- Alcohol abuse or recreational drug use, and substance abuse can impair judgment, making you more inclined to engage in risky behavior.
- Many serious infections, including drug injection HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, are spread through needle sharing.
- Half of all new STIs are diagnosed in people between the ages of 15 and 24.
Types of STDs
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
A variety of microorganisms can cause pelvic inflammatory disease of the upper female reproductive tract. Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhea are the two most common pathogens, accounting for four out of every five cases.
PID caused by chlamydia infection usually has mild or no symptoms, but it should be treated as soon as possible. Otherwise, it can cause swelling and scarring of the ovaries and fallopian tubes, just like other types of PID. Also, because PID affects the fallopian tubes, where conception occurs, the woman may experience pain in the lower abdomen. In other words, sterility may be the end result of PID.
- lower abdominal discomfort
- vaginal discharge that is abnormal
- intercourse that is painful
- menstrual irregularity
hiv and aids
AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is spread through unprotected sex with an infected person or by injecting drugs with a contaminated needle. It can also be transmitted through intravenous drug use. In addition, it can also be transmitted through infected body fluids or blood contaminated with blood, blood products, needles, or other sharp instruments.
When HIV microorganisms enter the bloodstream, they hijack a type of white blood cell known as T-helper lymphocytes (also known as CD4 cells, T cells, or helper-T) . In a healthy immune system T-cells work together to help protect the body from diseases. However, the hijacked T-cells are forced to replicate HIV in large numbers. If left untreated, helper T cells produce HIV in large quantities, reducing the number of normal helper-T cells in the bloodstream and leaving the person vulnerable to AIDS-defining disease.
The five most common are as follows:
- Pneumonia caused by Pneumocystis carinii
- AIDS-related Westing syndrome
- Candidiasis of the stomach
- Kaposi’s Sarcoma
When the immune system is working properly, opportunistic diseases pose little danger; However, when the body’s defenses are compromised, as in AIDS, they take advantage of the opportunity to wreak havoc.
However, for the first ten years of the AIDS crisis, the disease was a virtual death sentence for most people who contracted it. Some people live more than two years on average. Today, however, there are many different types of HIV drugs available. While HIV is incurable, adherence to good medication can allow infected people to live long and productive lives without developing AIDS.
- difficulty swallowing
- night sweats
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- chronic diarrhea
- nausea vomiting
- itchy, itchy skin/skin lesions
- chronic cough
- confusion / delirium
- shortness of breath
Chlamydia infection is sometimes confused with gonorrhea, a bacterial infection spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Not only do they share many of the same symptoms, but they can also occur together.
The urethra (bladder opening) or cervix is where gonorrhea usually begins. The rapidly spreading Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria, on the other hand, can migrate into the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Infections, such as chlamydia, can affect the rectum.
Two to ten days after exposure, symptoms usually begin to appear.
- penile ejection
- Burning when urinating that ranges from mild to severe
- Epididymitis can develop into
- Yellow or bloody vaginal discharge in addition to pain or burning when urinating
- Abdominal pain
- bleeding between cycles
- development of pelvic inflammatory disease
- anal discharge
- anal itching
- painful bowel movements
Chlamydia, the most common bacterial STI, is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, which can infect the urethra and cervix (the opening of the uterus). It is common in adolescents between the ages of fifteen and nineteen. The disease is easily treated, but, like other sexually transmitted infections, chlamydia is often silent and thus not diagnosed until it has reached a more severe stage.
Three out of every four women and one out of every two men have no symptoms. Therefore, by the time a girl seeks medical attention, the disease has progressed to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID, as described above), a major cause of female infertility and pelvic pain in 40% of cases.
Symptoms begin to appear one to three weeks after exposure.
- unexpected vaginal discharge
- increased pelvic swelling
- penile expulsion
- discomfort while urinating
- Progression of epididymitis, inflammation of the sperm-transporting and storage tube-like structure
Genital herpes (HSV-1, HSV-2)
The herpes simplex virus, which causes genital herpes, is classified into two types. In addition, herpes simplex 2 is commonly found on or around the vagina, penis, anus, buttocks, and thighs. Herpes simplex type 1a type II which causes cold sores around the outside of the mouth, as well as sores in the gums or throat. HSV-1, on the other hand, can infect the genital-anal region, and both types can be transmitted to the mouth through oral sex.
Genital herpes is a chronic, lifelong condition because the virus permanently infects the sensory nerves at the base of the spinal cord. HSV is dormant most of the time. Sometimes it reactivates, causing sores or vesicles, especially small ulcers that resemble cold sores. These outbreaks, which usually last about a week, should be interpreted as a sign that the disease is contagious. The virus spreads to the nerves leading to the surface of the skin, where it multiplies and causes new lesions. (Early symptoms of genital herpes are usually more severe and last longer than later episodes.) Even if no sores or sores are present, the disease can be contagious.
Symptoms appear two to ten days after exposure. Typically, the first episode lasts two to three weeks:
- itching or burning in the genitals, also known as the anus
- Genital, buttocks and leg pain
- discharge from the cervix
- feeling of abdominal pressure
- small red spots on the vagina, cervix, penis and/or anal area; Blisters develop, which later turn into painful open sores.
- fever and headache
- muscle pain
- urination that is painful or difficult
There are many more important varieties, symptoms, diagnosis and preventive measures for sexually transmitted infections. Which will be covered in more detail later in this article (Part 2).