Trichomoniasis and Sex
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Although Trichomoniasis is curable, it can have a number of unpleasant symptoms. To learn more about trichomoniasis and sex, watch our video.
Transcript: You may not know much about Trichomoniasis, but you should. It's the most common, curable STD in women-but...
You may not know much about Trichomoniasis, but you should. It's the most common, curable STD in women-but it comes with some unpleasant symptoms! Although men can be carriers of Trichomoniasis, or trich, it's women who experience symptoms after contracting the disease. The first sign of Trichomoniasis is watery, bubbly discharge that may be greenish or yellowish. Both itching and pain that occurs during urination or sex can also be signs of trich in women. These unpleasant symptoms are often the most apparent immediately after you have a period. Like other STDs, trich is contracted by having genital-to-genital sex with a person who's infected. Interestingly, Trichomoniasis is particularly common in women who have sex with women. Once a doctor diagnoses trich, it is generally easy to cure the condition in several weeks with prescription drugs. But remember that sex is a no-no until the infection is completely gone-otherwise you'll have recurring consequences!More »
Last Modified: 2012-09-29 | Tags »
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Herpes is a contagious condition that affects millions of people in America. Understanding herpes is very important as it can help you manage it better. To know more, check out this video.
Transcript: One in four Americans is infected with the contagious disease known as genital herpes. But what IS herpes,...
One in four Americans is infected with the contagious disease known as genital herpes. But what IS herpes, anyway? Herpes simplex is a contagious viral infection that manifests as sores on the mouth or the genitals. While outbreaks of the sores can be reduced, there is no cure for herpes. And though the virus is generally harmless, it causes embarrassment for those infected, and can increase susceptibility to other STDs like HIV. There are actually two strains of the herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2. While HSV-1 tends to lead to sores on the mouth and HSV-2 usually presents itself on the genitals, either strain can lead to either outbreak. That's because HSV-1 and HSV-2 are markedly similar, so a cold sore on the mouth can easily be spread to the genitals during oral sex, and vice versa. While herpes is generally thought of as a sexually-transmitted disease, this is not always the case. Up to 80 percent of the population is infected with oral herpes, and most of these contract the virus as children. That's because both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are spread by ANY physical contact. This can include touching, kissing, or sexual acts. The briefest of skin-to-skin contact can transmit herpes. Sometimes, herpes has no symptoms, which is why up to a third of people with the virus remain undiagnosed. Remember that just because someone says they've never had a lesion doesn't mean they can't spread herpes! People with genital herpes who DO exhibit symptoms often notice small sores on the genitals, usually in a cluster. Other times, symptoms can be as subtle as a mild irritation. In an oral herpes outbreak, a cold sore, or "fever blister," will show up on the lips or around the mouth in a similar fashion. Some people also experience flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, aches and pains, or a headache. Regardless of the location, a herpes outbreak tends to start with red, "tingly" skin. In a day or two, sores will appear, although most outbreaks will clear in one to two weeks. So if herpes is forever, does that mean that a person will always have blisters on his or her body? Not at all! Herpes is a virus and will remain in the body for life. But the physical symptoms of herpes, an outbreak of sores, may recur anywhere from often to almost never. An outbreak can be triggered by factors such as illness, stress, diet, menstruation, or skin irritation. Every person's triggers are different, and some people have none. The bottom line is that whether you're having a herpes outbreak or not, once you get the virus, you will ALWAYS have it. For this reason, you should refrain from any sexual contact during an outbreak and practice protected sex at ALL times. It is also important to keep in mind that while a condom can reduce the spread, the only guaranteed way to prevent genital herpes is with abstinence. Herpes simplex is contagious and common! Fifty million genital cases exist in the United States, alone. So talk to your doctor about the prevention and treatment of herpes.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-04 | Tags »
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If you have genital herpes, medication options and lifestyle changes can clear up a current outbreak of sores while also preventing new ones from occurring!
Transcript: If you have herpes, you aren't alone. 500,00 of this contagious disease are diagnosed every year. So...
If you have herpes, you aren't alone. 500,00 of this contagious disease are diagnosed every year. So what happens after your diagnosis? Once you are diagnosed with the sexually-transmitted virus sex, your doctor will focus on several things: Clearing up your sores and preventing new ones from developing, counseling you regarding how to prevent its spread, and offering testing for other STDs. While herpes can manifest itself as sores on the mouth or eruptions on the genitals, the later is the focus of aggressive treatment. During a genital herpes outbreak...AND in the seven days following...it is important to abstain from all sexual acts, as the virus is particularly contagious at this time. However, genital herpes can be contagious at all times, even when a lesion isn't present. To promote the fastest healing of the blisters, don't pop or touch them and wear loose-fitting, cotton underwear and clothing. You should also be sure to wash your hands thoroughly every time you touch your genitals, to avoid spreading the virus to other people or to other parts of your body. During a herpes outbreak, your doctor will generally provide one of three antiviral medications to help speed healing time: Zovirax, Famvir or Valtrex. Each of these medications, which are taken orally, work to prevent the DNA-replication of the virus that keeps herpes active. After the first treatment, your doctor will work with you to come up with the best way to treat and prevent recurring outbreaks of genital herpes. Sometimes, your doctor will prescribe an intermittent treatment, whereby you'll keep an antiviral medication on hand and begin taking it when you feel the onset of an outbreak. If you have outbreaks more than six times a year, or if you wish to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to your partner, your doctor may recommend suppressive treatment, where you take an antiviral medication every day to reduce the likelihood of developing sores. Aside from medication, your doctor may recommend some easy lifestyle changes that can help reduce occurrences of outbreaks. Eating a diet high in the amino acid lysine and low in the amino acid arginine has been shown to lower the frequency of outbreaks. Foods like yogurt, cheese, bean sprouts, fish, and chicken all meet this criterion. Many people experience "triggers" that can lead to a herpes outbreak. Some common examples include extreme stress, exposure to sunlight, illness, intense sexual activity, or even certain foods, like chocolate. It may help to take note of what factors seem to trigger your attacks, and to avoid them whenever possible. Protect your partner from the spread of the disease by using a condom and taking antiviral medications. But note that while this combination affords better protection than condom use alone, the only guarantee against genital herpes transmission is abstinence. If you're one of the millions of Americans who has genital herpes, please talk to your doctor about the treatment option that is right for you.More »
Last Modified: 2014-02-24 | Tags »
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There are plenty of myths about herpes out there. Just how do you know what's fact and what's not? Watch this video to learn the top ten herpes facts you should know.
Transcript: There are 50 million cases of genital herpes in the United States alone, yet myths about the disease...
There are 50 million cases of genital herpes in the United States alone, yet myths about the disease abound. Here are ten facts you need to know. Herpes simplex is a contagious viral infection that can affect the mouth or the genitals. This disease often manifests itself as painful sores on either of these areas. Perhaps one of the most important facts about herpes is that it's contagious, ALL of the time. This is vital, because some people mistakenly believe that if they are not having an outbreak of sores that they cannot spread the virus. Ninety percent of people infected with the herpes virus are asymptomatic, and don't know they have herpes...yet still pass it to their partners. Herpes simplex is a virus that can be spread via the briefest of skin-to-skin contact. Kissing, oral or anal sex, touching with unwashed hands, and even sharing objects like drinking glasses and towels, can all spread the herpes virus. These high rates of asymptomatic herpes combined with the ease of spreading lead to the frequency with which genital herpes is found in the United States. While using a condom is a smart sexual practice, condoms do not necessarily protect against the spread of genital herpes. This is because the disease may be passed through contact with the thighs, pelvis and stomach. With these statistics in mind, you're probably eager to talk to your doctor about herpes simplex, and that's vital. Here's why: Most doctors don't test for herpes (even during a standard STD test) unless you ask them to. A blood test to determine if you are infected with the herpes virus, called a serology, is more accurate than the basic swab method. If you are considering pregnancy and do not know if you or your partner have been exposed to the herpes virus, it is especially important to find out if either of you is infected. That's because there is a chance that the active herpes virus can be passed to an infant during its trip through the birth canal. In some cases, your doctor may choose a cesarean section delivery to ensure that your baby is not infected. You may wonder why these precautions are necessary, since, while annoying and embarrassing, the herpes virus does not cause bodily harm beyond blisters. While this is true for you, newborn babies do not have the developed immune system that is needed to fight herpes simplex and may die if they contract the virus. If you have herpes, you are more prone to contract HIV and other STDs. Since your immune system is compromised because of the virus, it is important to be honest with your partner and discuss options to reduce transmission with your doctor. Finally, remember that either you OR your partner can have the herpes virus even if neither of you experience skin lesions! For this reason, it is absolutely vital to visit your doctor for a serology if you're sexually active. Doing so is worth the peace of mind, or medical help, hat will follow!More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-04 | Tags »
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Understanding HIV and AIDs is vital in preventing them from greeting you at your doorstep. Find out more about the risks and concerns involving HIV and AIDS by taking a look at this video.
Transcript: AIDS is a disease that represents the final stages of infection with an incurable virus known as the...
AIDS is a disease that represents the final stages of infection with an incurable virus known as the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. To understand how AIDS works, it helps to have a grasp of HIV. Simply put, HIV attacks and destroys cells in the immune system, much as an invading army might destroy a high wall that protects a city. With a weakened immune system, a person becomes less able to fight off infections, as an army would have trouble defending a city without a protective wall. Before HIV can attack, it has to get in. HIV lives in bodily fluids like semen, vaginal secretions, blood, and breast milk. A person who carries HIV can pass it to another through any of these, usually via sexual intercourse, breastfeeding, or the sharing of drug paraphernalia. Rarely, a person will contract HIV through blood transfusions. And while it is highly unlikely for people to acquire HIV through saliva, it is possible to pass it through oral sex. Once the virus is transferred, it attaches to its new host body's sex, or T-cells, which are integral parts of the immune system. Inside the T-cell, HIV literally changes to become part of the body's DNA, or genetic code. At this point, the body will be forced to produce the virus. Because HIV lives in the immune system, every time a foreign invader triggers this system to work, HIV is activated, too. This means that when "good" T-cells fight, for example, the flu virus, new HIV particles are formed. During the first days and weeks after a person is infected with HIV, he or she may experience flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, fatigue, and enlarged lymph nodes. These symptoms generally disappear without treatment. But, as the body is forced to create new HIV cells, the immune system gets weaker, a progression that can take from several months to more than ten years. Eventually, untreated HIV leads to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS. The name is appropriate: Acquired means to obtain an infection. Immune deficiency refers to weakness in the immune system, and syndrome is a group of problems that comprise a disease. AIDS is generally diagnosed by a blood or saliva test that measures the T-cells in a person's body. If the count drops below 200/mm3, the immune system is seriously damaged and unable to fight infections properly. A diagnosis of AIDS also occurs if a person gets one of 26 opportunistic infections, which are conditions common in advanced HIV patients, but rarely found in people with intact immune systems. Most people who die of AIDS do so from one of these infections. But while there is no cure for the disease, the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy has caused the number of AIDS-related deaths to decrease significantly. Over one million Americans are infected with HIV. Because 300, 000 people are still unaware of their HIV infection, getting tested and making sure you know your partner's status is essential.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-21 | Tags »
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HIV becomes AIDS when the patient has an extremely low T-cell count. Watch this video to get details on the moment HIV progresses to the final stage of infection.
Transcript: AIDS is an incurable disease that is the end result of infection by the human immunodeficiency virus,...
AIDS is an incurable disease that is the end result of infection by the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. An individual who contracts HIV may become sick quickly...or can live symptom-free for years. HIV and AIDS are not one-and-the same. Many people who become infected with HIV do not develop AIDs, or don't do so for decades...especially with modern treatments. AIDS, which is an acronym for "acquired immune deficiency syndrome," is the final stage of HIV infection. Because the virus attacks T-cells in the body's immune system, a person has AIDS when their T-cell levels fall below 200/mmc3, as opposed to the 500 to 1,500 found in a healthy person. An extremely low T-cell count means that a person's immune system is no longer healthy enough to effectively fight off intruding viruses and bacteria. Signs that HIV may be turning into AIDS include: extreme fatigue, rapid weight loss, persistent diarrhea, a high fever, and swollen glands in the neck, armpits, or groin. Even if a person doesn't have a low T-cell count, they are still classified as having AIDS if they contract any one of 26 opportunist conditions. These are a group of illnesses that don't generally occur in most people, but do show up in AIDS patients. Two of these are cancers. One, Kaposi's sarcoma, results from a tumor in the blood vessel walls. Kaposi's sarcoma usually appears as disfiguring pink or purple lesions on the skin and mouth. The other cancer, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, originates in the disease-fighting blood cells known as lymphocytes. This appears as swelling of the lymph nodes. Several opportunist conditions that confirm an AIDS diagnosis stem from invading bacteria, like tuberculosis and bacterial pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia is a potentially deadly inflammation of the lungs that is one of the most common infections occurring in people with HIV worldwide. Tuberculosis is the leading opportunistic infection in developing nations where access to medications and health care is low. It occurs when bacteria infect the lungs and manifests as prolonged coughing fits. Sometimes, an opportunist infection can be fungal, like candidiasis. Candidiasis causes a white coating to form on the mouth, tongue, or vagina. Although HIV itself is a virus, another virus can enter the body and cause an opportunist infection. One example is cytomegalovirus, or CMV, a herpes virus that healthy adults fight easily. In people with HIV, however, the virus causes damages to the body, most notably the eyes. If untreated, CMV can lead to blindness. Other complications that lead to an AIDS diagnosis include wasting syndrome, whereby a person loses 10 percent or more of body weight, and AIDS dementia complex, where nerve cell damage causes diminished mental functioning. These conditions, and others, mean that HIV has progressed to AIDS. While this is disheartening, many modern medications can keep AIDS infections from progressing indefinitely. If you have HIV, talk to your doctor about diseases that can occur following infection and the best ways to treat them.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-21 | Tags »
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Something like 6 million people in the US have HPV. Because it is so common, understanding HPV symptoms and risks is vital to initial detection. Learn more about this condition by watching this video.
Transcript: Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a group of wart-inducing viruses that infects more than 6.2 million...
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a group of wart-inducing viruses that infects more than 6.2 million American men and women each year. About 40 of the more than 100 varieties are transmitted through sexual contact. There is no cure for HPV, but most infections clear without treatment in mere months. There are, however, several high-risk strains that can linger, causing precancerous lesions or full-blown cancer. These require immediate medical attention to control. The 40 strains of HPV that affect the genitals are passed through sexual contact. Symptoms do not need to be present to pass the virus to another person. HPV can be passed to and from the skin of the penis, vulva, or anus, as well as the linings of the vagina, cervix, and rectum. In rare cases, genital HPV can also be passed from mother to child during a vaginal birth. Since most strains have adapted to specific areas of the body, not all contact is a potential way to spread HPV. Hand-to-genital contact, for example, is unlikely to infect the hand. The most obvious symptom of genital HPV is warts. These pink or flesh-colored swellings are soft to the touch and may be flat or raised. Most genital warts are cauliflower shaped, or lumpy, with irregular edges. Genital warts can range in size. Some people have just one or two, while others experience multiple warts in one area. More likely, however, a sufferer of genital HPV will have no symptoms of the virus at all, and will remain unaware that he or she is infected. Whether symptoms of HPV appear or not will vary by strain. The type of genital HPV that causes warts, for example, wont also cause cancerous cells to form. But it is possible to be infected with multiple strains of genital HPV. Your doctor can easily diagnose some strains of HPV with visual observation of your warts. Other, symptom-less strains are tougher to discern. For women, a diagnosis of HPV is made with a Pap smear, an internal swab that is part of a normal check-up, and screens for cervical cancer. Many kinds of genital HPV cause precancerous changes in the cervical cells, prompting an abnormal test result. Following an abnormal result, the swabbed cells will be tested for HPV DNA to confirm the particular strain of the disease. Men, however, are out of luck when it comes to HPV screeningthere are currently no tests available for them. Without any visible warts, men must rely on regular physical examinations by a doctor to spot precancerous cells and growths. Although genital HPV is a commonand often symptom-free STDit can lead to serious health problems. For this reason, regular check-ups and smart sexual practices are vital once a person becomes sexually active.More »
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HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that can lead to serious health problems in men and women if left untreated. Watch this video to learn more about HPV and how to avoid it.
Transcript: The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is an extremely common viral infection. There are about 40 varieties...
The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is an extremely common viral infection. There are about 40 varieties that infect the genitals and which can be passed through sexual contact, even if a person is not exhibiting symptoms. Genital HPV's effects on health can be severe and will vary depending on the HPV strain, and by the strength of the patient's immune system. After a person contracts HPV, his or her body develops some immunity to it. That immune response often squashes symptoms should a person be re-infected, or if the infection lingers. Each strain of HPV has a particular effect on the body. The one that causes genital warts, for example, doesn't cause precancerous lesions. But it IS possible to be infected with multiple strains of genital HPV at the same time. Some strains of the virus don't have an impact in the body. With no symptoms, a person may not even know they have HPV. Other strains produce genital warts, which may appear as a single swelling or a rash. These pink or flesh-colored bumps are usually soft to the touch. Most have a unique cauliflower-like shape that is raised and bumpy. Warts can appear on the thighs, anus and groin area in both men and women. Men can develop them on the penis and scrotum, while women may get warts inside the vagina and cervix. Genital warts are generally harmless.However, more severe health problems will follow from infection with one of the 13 "high risk" strains of genital HPV. These strains cause cell changes in the genital area. If someone contracts high-risk strains repeatedly, or develops a lingering infection, the long-term damage can prompt precancerous or cancerous tumor growths to form. In women, persistent genital HPV infections are a precursor to both cervical and vaginal cancers. In fact, a person cannot contract these cancers unless they've had genital HPV. Cervical cancer starts out as a collection of precancerous cells, a condition called dysplasia. As the cells multiply, mild dysplasia increases in severity. Left unchecked for several years, dysplasia develops into an early form of cancer called cervical carcinoma in situ, and then cervical cancer. A Pap smear can detect even mild dysplasia, which usually can be fully treated...This is just one more reason for women to have an annual Pap smear! In rare cases, prolonged infections in men can also lead to penile cancer. Both men and women are also susceptible to cancers of the anus, mouth and throat as a result of repeated infections with the HPV strains targeting these areas. This means that anal and oral sex aren't without HPV risks. If an HPV infection is caught early, a doctor can begin treatments to prevent precancerous growths from becoming cancerous. Genital HPV has no cure, but its symptoms can be treated. For this reason, it's important to talk to your doctor about safe sex and STD testing.More »
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Over 50 percent of the adult population experience HPV during their lifetime. However, treatment of HPV is simple and effective. Find out more in this video.
Transcript: The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a common STD which affects more than 50 percent of sexually active...
The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a common STD which affects more than 50 percent of sexually active Americans at some point in their lifetimes. Different strains of the virus lead to different problems, from uncomfortable genital warts to serious genital cancer. Even more commonly, HPV causes no problems and clears up on its own. Through preventative measures, you can limit your risk for contracting genital HPV. This starts with an understanding that a symptom-free partner isn't necessarily HPV-free. That's why it's important to practice protected sex. A latex condom limits skin-to-skin contact, reducing transmission risk. However, condoms are not 100 percent effective at stopping the spread of HPV. Some strains can be passed by contact between parts that would not be protected by a condom. One extremely effective preventative measure, which is only available for women and girls between the ages of nine and 26, is vaccination with Gardasil. This three-part vaccine protects against infection from HPV strains that cause genital warts, cervical cancer, and anal cancer. If a person DOES contract genital HPV, the virus cannot be cured, but the SYMPTOMS often can. Some strains of HPV cause no symptoms and require no treatment, while others need a doctor's care. Genital warts are the most visible symptom of HPV and generally require prescription medication. Applied daily, creams like Condylox and Aldara boost the immune system to help fight off the virus and eliminate the warts. A doctor may also remove warts via an in-office procedure. Freezing with liquid nitrogen, burning with trichloracetic acid or electrical currents, and surgical removal with a scalpel or laser are all relatively painless options. Of these, surgical excision is often the most effective, usually requiring just one in-office treatment. Regular doctor's visits are a must for the effective treatment of high-risk genital HPV strains, which cause precancerous and cancerous growths. Treatment is more effective if the virus is caught early. For women, this means undergoing an annual Pap smear, a test which screens for cervical cancer. HPV can cause cell changes in the cervix, which show up as an abnormal result on this test. There are no screening tests for men, however regular physical examinations can lead to early diagnosis of penile cancer. Following an abnormal Pap smear or visual confirmation of a tumor, a doctor aims to remove the abnormal cells affected by genital HPV BEFORE they become cancerous. How a doctor removes the abnormal cells varies. She may freeze the cells with liquid nitrogen, excise them with an electrical current, or perform a biopsy, where the cells are removed during surgery. On occasion, precancerous cell changes can heal without treatment, so some doctors may opt to watch and wait for a time before attempting to remove the cells. If you're infected with HPV, you are part of the majority! Luckily, treatments are available to help with HPV's range of symptoms, so talk to your doctor about your choices.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-25 | Tags »
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If you think you've been exposed to syphilis, you'll want to know everything you can about it. Check out this video for a guide to understanding syphilis.
Transcript: Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria known as treponema pallidum. Syphilis is...
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria known as treponema pallidum. Syphilis is curable, but if allowed to progress without treatment, it can result in serious illness or death. Syphilis has been around for centuries, and has infected some of history's most famous individuals. Eighteenth-century composer Franz Schubert, England's King Henry the eighth, and 1920s gangster Al Capone were all infected with deadly cases of syphilis. Today, the bacterium spreads the same way it always has: Through direct contact with a syphilis sore, which are usually located on the genitals. For this reason, syphilis is almost always passed sexually, although a pregnant woman infected with syphilis may also pass it to her baby. Once a person contracts syphilis, the disease goes through three stages. The first, or primary, stage is marked by the appearance of a single sore, or chancre, about 20 days after infection. This painless lesion appears where syphilis was contracted. Within a week or two, the chancre usually heals on its own, but a syphilis lesion increases the risk that a person can contract HIV by 5 times, so abstaining from sex at this point is VITAL. After the chancre heals, the secondary stage of syphilis begins. At this point, a painless red or brown rash may appear on the body, especially on the palms of the hands and bottoms of the feet. The secondary stage is also characterized by flu-like symptoms, including fever, fatigue, and aching muscles. Because these symptoms are often indistinguishable from other diseases, syphilis is known as "the great imitator." But these "imitation" symptoms will usually resolve themselves without treatment within a few weeks. The final, or latent, stage of syphilis begins when secondary symptoms abate. At this point, there are generally no outward signs of syphilis, but the bacterium continues to thrive internally. If syphilis is not treated, it will spread to other organs, resulting in neurological problems, like a stroke, paralysis, deafness, or dementia. Cardiovascular difficulties, like inflammation of the heart's major artery, the aorta, may also follow from untreated syphilis. Eventually, these conditions can lead to death. The good news is that penicillin has been found to be a safe, effective treatment for this disease. A muscular injection of penicillin, sometimes with booster shots, is all that is needed to kill the bacterium that leads to syphilis. For people who are allergic to penicillin, a course of antibiotics may be taken to kill the bacteria, but damage already done by the disease cannot be reversed. Your doctor will follow up with blood tests to be sure that the medication is working. Pregnant women will be tested more frequently to ensure a return to health, as syphilis can cause death in newborns. Syphilis is on the rise among men who have sex with men in the United States, and among teenagers, who are more likely than ever to practice oral sex, so talk to your doctor about getting a blood test to check for this disease.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-13 | Tags »
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Clinics and hospitals provide STD testing services, and you should definitely take advantage-- early detection is key in treatment. Watch this video to learn more.
Transcript: Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are passed from one...
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are passed from one person to another through sexual acts. Most STDs can be treated or cured, but without treatment, can result in illness or even sterility. Once you begin having sex, it's important to see your doctor, or go to a testing clinic, for STD tests at least once a year. This will put your mind at ease, or enable you to seek treatment for an STD should you have one. In addition to this routine screening, you should see your doctor immediately if you experience: Abnormal discharge from your penis or vagina, pain during sex, pain during urination, or growths on your genitals or anus, such as bumps, blisters, sores or a rash. However, some STDs have minimal, or no symptoms, and this makes routine testing absolutely vital for sexually active people. (Most STDs can be diagnosed via blood, urine, or cell samples. But here's where things get tricky: Most doctors won't test you for STDs if you don't ask, and not every doctor will test for every disease. That is why YOU need to initiate the STD talk with your doctor. Ask what she usually screens for in an STD test, and see if you're being checked for everything that you're worried about. Most insurance plans will cover STD testing, but it is also possible to obtain inexpensive or free tests from government-funded and independent testing clinics. Your local Planned Parenthood is a great place to start. A blood test involves taking samples of your blood from a vein in your arm and sending those samples to a lab for screening. Blood tests can screen for common STDs like HIV, the potentially deadly virus that causes AIDs; HSV, the virus that causes herpes; hepatitis B, a virus that inflames the liver; and potentially deadly syphilis. Urine tests are not as always as accurate as blood tests. They are, however, a way to screen for diseases like HIV, or gonorrhea, which can cause infertility or even death. A physical exam is another way in which a doctor can check for STDs. Because some STDs involve outbreaks, a visual exam may be all that is needed for diagnosis. STDs like genital herpes, syphilis, pubic lice, or genital warts, which are caused by HPV, can be seen with the naked eye. However, a follow-up test is usually ordered to confirm the diagnosis. For women, the best confirmation for many STDs is a swab test, which usually involves taking a sample of the cells in the cervix. A cervical swab can test for gonorrhea; Chlamydia, which can cause infertility; and the bacterial infection trichomoniasis. A pap smear, which is a similar procedure, can test for HPV, the virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer in women. STDs can be scary, but many are treatable. Ensure your safest, healthiest sex life by talking to a health care provider about regular screening for STDs!More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-15 | Tags »
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Would you know if you had Chlamydia? Check out this video to get the basics on Chlamydia.
Transcript: Chlamydia is a curable STD that infects about 3 million Americans every year. The disease is caused by...
Chlamydia is a curable STD that infects about 3 million Americans every year. The disease is caused by the transmission of the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia can spread to both the male and female sex organs, as well to as the rectum, urinary tract, eyes, and throat, of both genders. This disease is passed through vaginal, anal, and oral sex, or from mother to child during birth. Chlamydia is particularly frightening because three out of four women and one out of two men who are infected have NO symptoms at all...and do not know that they have Chlamydia. If symptoms ARE present, women and men may both experience unusual discharge from their genitals, pain while urinating or defecating, or rectal discharge. Because these symptoms are nonspecific and very rare, it is recommended that ALL sexually active people, be tested regularly for Chlamydia, particularly prior to having sex with a new partner. A doctor can test for the disease with a urine sample or cervical swab. If this lab test comes back positive, additional STD tests should be conducted, as having Chlamydia suggests a likelihood of additional infections. It is very important that the infected individual and ALL current partners begin treatment with antibiotics immediately. The two most common ways to treat Chlamydia are a one-time dose of azithromycin, or twice daily doses of doxycycline for a week. These medications are 95 percent effective at killing off the Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium, and that's vital...because left untreated, Chlamydia can cause irreversible damage. In women, infection can progress to pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID. This condition can cause permanent damage to the fallopian tubes and lead to infertility. PID also increases the chance that a woman will develop an ectopic pregnancy, whereby a fertilized egg is implanted, not in the womb, but in a fallopian tube. This can cause the tube to rupture, potentially resulting in death. An infected woman can also pass the bacterium on to her baby. This can lead to potentially fatal Chlamydial pneumonia or to potentially blinding neonatal conjunctivitis. Women who have Chlamydia are also 5 times more likely to contract HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, if exposed to it. Men do not usually experience any effects of Chlamydia. However, the disease CAN spread to the testicles, possibly resulting in infertility. On rare occasions, untreated Chlamydia can cause reactive arthritis, a disease that may lead to permanent disability. While knowing the possible effects of Chlamydia is important, it's even more important to take preventative action against the disease. Do so by getting tested regularly for Chlamydia and using male latex condoms. Chlamydia's common occurrence, infrequent side effects, and serious consequences all mean that you should talk to your doctor about getting tested if you are at risk.More »
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