According to Medline Plus, STDs stands for Sexually Transmitted Diseases or infections that are transmitted from one person to another during sexual contact. The diseases can be caused by yeast, parasites, viruses, and bacteria and there are more than 20 different types of such illnesses; some of the ones we are going to discuss in this article include HPV, Chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, HIV/AIDS, and Syphilis.
STDs can happen in both women and men; however, the health-related complications they may trigger are more serious for women. Namely, if a pregnant woman contracts an STD, this may lead to health problems in the baby. When the disease is caused by parasites, yeast or bacteria, it can be treated with antibiotics. But, there is no cure for an STD triggered by a virus. However, there are medications that can alleviate symptoms and control the illness.
6 Different Types of STDs
As previously noted and as explained on Planned Parenthood, STDs are infections that one can contract during oral, vaginal or anal sex and are very common throughout the world. And, a lot of people have them without experiencing any symptoms whatsoever.
Even though these illnesses can be dangerous in some cases, it is good to know that there are simple tests which one can undergo to find out if they have a specific STD and treat it adequately in case they are positive; and, most of these diseases can be easily overcome with the right therapy.
Below, check out the main details about six distinct types of STDs:
1. Chlamydia
As noted on Planned Parenthood, this is a bacterial infection and one of the most frequent STDs. Believe it or not, there are actually a lot of people who have it but do not experience any symptoms. According to statistics, up to 3 million American citizens get it on a yearly basis, usually between the ages of 14 to 24. The infection is carried in pre-cum, semen, and vaginal fluids and it may impact the penis, cervix, vagina, urethra, anus, throat, and eyes. You can catch the infection if you have sexual contact with a person who already has it and it may occur even without cum. A baby during birth can contract the infection as well in case the mother has it. Casual contact like hugs, kisses, sharing foods and drinks, sitting on the toilet or holding hands does not lead to spreading of Chlamydia. When treated timely and with the proper antibiotics, the infection is easily cleared out. But, leaving it untreated can cause a lot of health problems in the future. This is where STD testing can be of great aid and the sooner you find out you have it, the sooner and faster it can be treated. When it comes to prevention, as emphasized on Planned Parenthood, it can be achieved by using condoms and dental dams during each intercourse.
2. Herpes
This virus lead to the formation of sores on the genitals or/and mouth. Although it can cause pain and be annoying, in most cases, herpes does not cause serious health issues. The herpes can spread if you have skin-to-skin contact with a person who has it. The infection remains in the body for life and more than half of Americans have oral whereas one in six Americans suffer from genital herpes. It is important to note that the herpes can be triggered by two distinct viruses, that is, herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2. Both can lead to the popping up of sores (they come and go) around the anus, cervix, vagina, vulva, scrotum, penis, buttocks, lips, inner thighs, mouth, and throat. Despite no cure for herpes, there are medications that can relieve the symptoms and decrease the chances for spreading the herpes to others.
3. HPV
HPV is short for human papilomavirus and in most cases, this disease is harmless and goes away on its own; however, some types can cause genital warts and even cancer. According to Planned Parenthood, there are more than 100 distinct types of HPV. Often times, a person may have a HPV without experiencing any symptoms. There are 2 types of HPV, 6 and 11, which cause most genital warts. They do not cause cancer or other severe health complications. On the other hand, the high-risk HPV, i.e. 16 and 18 cause the most of cancer cases, including cervical, vulva, vagina, anus, penis, mouth, and throat cancer. Currently, there is no remedy for HPV but there are vaccines which can keep you safe from specific HPV types and genital warts can be removed in a doctor’s office. Remember, HPV is transmitted through sexual and skin-to-skin contact with a person who has it and it can still be caught without the penis entering the vagina, anus or mouth. Anyway, in most cases, the infection goes away and there is nothing to be afraid of or ashamed because most people who regularly have sex get this infection at some point in their lives.
As explained on Planned Parenthood, HIV is a virus which causes AIDS. The virus harms the immunity and elevates the chances for getting sick. The infection is spread through unprotected sexual intercourse. When HIV begins damaging the immunity, it becomes easier to contract and even die from a specific infection that the body would normally fight off. Once contracted, the infection remains in the body for life and there is no cure for it. Nonetheless, there are meds that can help you prolong your life and decrease the risk of spreading it to others. This is where diagnosis through early testing and treatment are crucial so that death from the virus is prevented. When there is no treatment administered, in most cases, it takes around 10 years for a person with HIV to develop AIDS. On the other hand, therapy reduces the damage caused by the virus and it can prolong your life for decades. HIV is carried in the blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. The virus can enter in the body through sores and cuts, as well as through mucus membranes. Sharing needles for tattoos, piercings, drugs, having unprotected anal and vaginal sex, and contact of infected blood with open sores or cuts on the body can lead to HIV. One of the best ways to stay safe from HIV/AIDS is through regular use of condoms and dental dams during sexual contact and never sharing needles. The infection cannot be transferred through saliva, sharing foods and drinks, hugging, sneezing or kissing.
5. Gonorrhea
This type of STD is an infection triggered by a bacterium and it can happen in both men and women, according to Mayo Clinic. The infection usually attacks the rectum, throat, and urethra. Although it is spread through sexual contact, newborns can also get it from their mothers if they have it. A monogamous sexual relationship, usage of condoms, or abstaining from sex are the best method to prevent gonorrhea and most of other STDs. Usually, the infection does not manifest through visible symptoms, but when it does, it manifests differently in men and women. The main symptoms in men are discharge from the penis’s tip, pain during urination, swelling or ache in one testicle whereas those in women are higher amount of discharge from the vagina, painful urination, bleeding in between periods, pain during intercourse, and pelvic or abdominal ache. Best methods to avert gonorrhea is to use condoms during intercourse, having intercourse only with partners who have been tested for STDs, getting annual screenings for gonorrhea, and abstaining from sexual intercourse. The sooner you test for gonorrhea or the sooner you consult your doctor in case you experience any symptoms, the better. Otherwise, when left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to infertility in women and men, infections in the joints and other body parts, higher chance of HIV/AIDS, as well as complications in newborns like infections, blindness, and scalp sores.
6. Syphilis
This is a contagious STD that can be transmitted through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Prolonged kissing and close physical contact can sometimes transfer the disease too, as noted on Web Md. The illness spreads from sores but in most cases, the person who has it passes it to his/her sexual partner without being aware of having it. Newborns can also contract syphilis if their mothers have it and this may lead to abnormalities and even death of the child. Nevertheless, though it is quite serious, this bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics. When left untreated, it can cause long-lasting damage and serious health problems including paralysis, blindness, and brain damage. The infection is characterized by genital sores which are painless and the infection is contracted by having contact with the sores. They can appear on the vagina, penis, anus, scrotum, lips, or mouth. The optimal ways to protect yourself from this sexual infection is to always use condoms and dental dams during sexual contact. The infection cannot be contracted from hugging, hand holding, sneezing, coughing, or sharing foods and drinks.