A guide to some of the most common STIs
Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs. Most people who have Chlamydia don’t notice any symptoms and won’t know they have the infection. Otherwise, symptoms may include pain when you urinate or unusual discharge.
Diagnosing Chlamydia is easily done with a urine test or a swab of the affected area. Chlamydia is easily treated with antibiotics, but can lead to serious long-term health problems if it’s left untreated.
Genital warts are small fleshy growths, bumps or skin changes that appear on or around your genital or anal area. They are the result of a viral skin infection.
You don’t need to have penetrative sex to pass the infection on because HPV is spread by skin-to-skin contact.
Several treatments are available, such as creams and cryotherapy (freezing the warts).
Genital herpes is a long-term, incurable condition which may have few or no initial symptoms or which may start with tingling or burning in the legs, buttocks, or genital region followed by painful blisters or open sores forming in the genital area. The sores usually disappear within 2 to 3 weeks, but the virus stays dormant (inactive) in your body causing outbreaks of painful blisters on their genitals and the surrounding areas from time to time. The symptoms going away does NOT mean you the virus has left your body. There’s no cure for genital herpes but the symptoms can usually be effectively controlled using antiviral medicines. You will however be able to infect other people if you have sex without a condom.
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that can cause an unusual discharge from your penis, and pain when urinating.
Gonorrhea can be easily diagnosed through a simple swab test and treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious long-term health problems and infertility.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that causes a painless but highly infectious sore on your genitals or sometimes around the mouth. The sore lasts two to six weeks before disappearing.
Secondary symptoms, such as a skin rash and sore throat, then develop. These may disappear within a few weeks, after which you have a symptom-free phase but in which you are still infected.
If diagnosed early, syphilis can be easily treated with antibiotics but if it is left to progress untreated, syphilis can go on to cause serious conditions such as stroke, paralysis, blindness or death.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a life threatening, incurable illness caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is transmitted in infected semen, pre-ejaculation fluid, vaginal secretions, or blood. It can get into the body through contact with the penis, vagina and anus, through open cuts or sores and from sharing of needles used to inject intravenous drugs.
Trichomoniasis is a condition caused by a tiny parasite called Trichomoniasias vaginalis. This infection is very common with women but men can get it too. Men may experience pain after urination and ejaculation. Women often have a frothy, yellow-green vaginal discharge with a strong odor. The infection also Irritation and itching of the female genital area is also common. Symptoms usually appear in women within 5 to 28 days of exposure. The condition can be treated effectively with an antibiotic.
Pubic lice (sometimes called crabs) are tiny blood-sucking insects that live in human body hair, mostly pubic hair. They cause itching and red spots which can become infected. They can usually be successfully treated with insecticide medicines.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
BV is caused by an imbalance in the bacteria normally found in the vagina, and only affects women. It is not strictly speaking a sexually transmitted infection as it is possible to have it even if you have never had sex but it can be transmitted during sex and BV rates are higher in women having sex with women. It causes a bad ‘fishy’ smelling discharge. It is not dangerous but can cause disturbing symptoms and
should be evaluated, so that more serious infections can be excluded.