Sexually transmitted diseases don’t always come with symptoms. In movies, it is portrayed that sexually transmitted diseases almost always come with symptoms, and they always look highly gruesome and nasty. However, not everything you see on the TV is accurate. Sexually transmitted diseases, as the name suggests, are diseases or infections that can be transmitted from one person to the other through engaging in unprotected sex with them.

Sexually transmitted diseases sometimes show symptoms that let you know that something is wrong and that you should get medical help. But some sexually transmitted diseases are completely asymptomatic, or their symptoms take a while to show up. In that case, you don’t know that you should get the doctor’s help and so the diseases are left untreated. Sexually transmitted diseases, if left untreated, can cause serious issues like infertility and can even be fatal, like HIV and AIDS. 

Luckily today, there are so many ways in which sexually transmitted diseases can be treated or managed. Antibiotics and antivirals help in treating and managing the serious symptoms of some sexually transmitted diseases. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as much as 20 million people get diagnosed with STDs in the United States every year. To avoid getting infected, it is very important to get regular screenings and checkups. It is also important in case you get a new sexual partner to discuss the matter with your doctor. 

Sexually transmitted diseases, even if they do not come with any symptoms, can still be transmitted from one person to the other that is why it is important to get yourself tested and treated as soon as possible. Some sexually transmitted diseases that do not come with any symptoms are:

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Human papillomavirus or HPV is one of the most common types of sexually transmitted diseases in the world, and condoms are not always effective in preventing its transmission. HPV is so common that every person will suffer from it at some point in their lives, which is why getting regular screenings becomes so important. It does not cause any symptoms, and even then, they can be transmitted from one person to the other. Those that are 30 years and above need to go for regular screenings for it as they are the ones that are more likely to get infected; if left untreated, it can cause serious problems. Although HPV does not cause any serious issues, some strains can cause cervical cancer, so getting tested is the only way to prevent it. 

Chlamydia

It is one of the most commonly seen sexually transmitted diseases in the United States with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that 1,708,569 cases of it were seen in the year 2017. Mostly it occurs in people that are between the ages 15 to 24. Since it also does not exhibit any symptoms, it is known as ”the silent infection.” Sometimes its signs can appear weeks after getting infected, including a burning sensation while peeing and abnormal vaginal discharge. 

By the time these symptoms appear, the disease in most cases is likely to have progressed to its next stage and has already started spreading to other parts of the body. Another of its symptoms include breakthrough bleeding, pain while having sex, pain in the abdomen, and pain in the lower back area. But then, in some cases, there are no symptoms at all. Chlamydia, if it is left untreated, it can cause PID or pelvic inflammatory disease. This can cause the fallopian tubes to get blocked and can also cause infertility. 

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 24,000 women suffer from infertility because of an STD that is left untreated. As prevention, it is important for women under 25 years of age or those who have a new sexual partner or are pregnant to get regularly screened. 

Gonorrhea

Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a type of bacteria that causes gonorrhea. With 550,000 cases that were reported in 2018, this is the second most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. Chlamydia and gonorrhea have similar symptoms, which include bleeding between periods, pain during peeing, and pain in the abdominal area, which can signify that the disease has already progressed to other parts of the body. 

Gonorrhea is most cases, does not come with symptoms, and so if left untreated, it can cause PID or pelvic inflammatory disease, severe damage to the reproductive organs, and scarring. It can also up your risk of getting infected with HIV and can also damage the heart, joints, and brain. If a pregnant woman is suffering from it, then there is an increased risk of a miscarriage, the baby being born with low birth weight, early birth, etc. Those women that are under the age of 25 are at a higher risk of getting infected with gonorrhea; therefore, they need to go for regular checkups. 

Additionally, those that are pregnant or those women that have a new sexual partner should also get tested. Gonorrhea is easily treated with antibiotics; therefore, getting treated early on decreases your chances of suffering from its severe effects later on. 

Herpes

Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus, which has two types. HSV1, which causes oral herpes and HSV2, which causes genital herpes, however, HSV1 can also cause genital herpes, and HSV2 can cause oral herpes. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 people aged 14 to 49 suffer from herpes, and in the absence of its symptoms, they are not even aware that they have it. 

Herpes is generally associated with red-colored sores that are painful, but not every person gets these symptoms. The herpes virus can stay in the body and can cause a periodic outbreak of sores; these appear mostly because of some kind of trigger. During such outbreaks, herpes become highly infectious, but then it can also be transmitted when there are no symptoms present. 

The virus lives in the sores and the genital area, and so sometimes a condom is not able to protect a person from getting infected in case the herpes virus is present on the skin surface, which is not covered by the condom. In order to prevent it, using condoms and dental dams can be of great help, but they are not always effective. There is no cure for herpes, but it can be managed with medicines. If you see the symptoms, it is best to consult a doctor.

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Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is caused by protozoa named Trichomoniasis vaginalis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among all those people that get infected with this STD, just 30 percent of those exhibit its symptoms, which means that someone might be carrying the parasite without even knowing that they are infected with it. Its symptoms when they do appear include burning and itching around the genitals, pain while peeing, abnormal vaginal discharge with a fishy smell. In males, the symptoms may include burning while peeing and after ejaculation, itching around the genitals, discharge from the penis. 

Trichomoniasis, if it is not treated on time can increase the risk of getting infected with HIV. For pregnant women, it can cause the baby to be born with low birth weight, and they can also be born before the completion of 9 months. 

Trichomoniasis can be prevented by using condoms while having sex; for those people that have multiple sexual partners, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends regular screenings. Trichomoniasis is a curable disease. Even after getting cured, a person can still get infected again; therefore, it is important to not only get yourself checked, but your partner also needs to be tested.

HIV

HIV or human immunodeficiency virus targets the body’s CD4 cells, which are crucial for a healthy immune system. It makes the body more susceptible to infections, which can even be fatal since the body’s immune system is compromised. 

HIV’s symptoms look more like the ones associated with the common cold, which is seen after about a month of getting infected. However, the virus can lay dormant and undetected in the body for several months and even years. HIV, if it turns into AIDS, which is an advanced stage of the disease where a person’s immune system is so weak that they can die from a common cold, can be very hard to treat. 

Getting tested for HIV in case someone feels that they have been exposed is the only way it can be detected. Antiretroviral therapy is used to treat HIV, which does not let HIV progress to AIDS and can dramatically improve the lifespan and quality of life of the patient. The ways to prevent HIV are to practice safe sex, avoid sharing needles, get tested for STDs, and not have multiple sexual partners.

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Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a severe infection of the liver. It is caused by the HBV or the hepatitis B virus. The virus lives in the saliva, semen, blood, and fluid from the vagina. It is mainly caused by having unprotected anal, oral, and vaginal sex with an infected person, and it is also spread by the sharing of used needles, razors, toothbrushes, etc. Hepatitis B does not always come with symptoms, but when they show up, they can include the following:

  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • weakness
  • pain in the abdomen
  • dark urine

There is no cure for it, but those who get infected even if they suffer from severe symptoms get better on their own without any medical intervention. The Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent a person from getting infected. Because of the vaccine, the cases of the disease have been rapidly decreasing in the United States, with just 3218 cases reported in the year 2016. Hepatitis B infection can be prevented by practicing safe sex, not sharing needles, razors, toothbrushes, etc. 

Bottom Line

Sexually transmitted diseases, not all of them come with symptoms, which is why it is important to go for regular checkups because it is through these checkups that most STDs can be detected early on. Some STDs like HIV can be fatal if it is left untreated; therefore, it gets all the more important to take charge of your reproductive health and not miss your screenings.