Sexually transmitted diseases

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Sexually transmitted diseases

What are sexually transmitted diseases?
Sexually transmitted diseases are those that are transmitted through intimate contact that occurs during sexual intercourse. There are multiple types of infections, some are easily cured and others require prolonged studies and treatment. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is one of these infections.

How do I know if I have a sexually transmitted disease?
Many people who have a sexually transmitted disease do not have any symptoms but can transmit the disease. If we have had unprotected sex, it is necessary to consult our doctor.

We also have to consult if we get pus from the urethra or rectum, or the vaginal discharge is thicker and smellier, if we get a sore or warts on our genitals, if we have swollen glands or groin, or if we feel intense itching, especially on the genitals.
How can I prevent sexually transmitted diseases?
It is essential to use a condom or condom, which must be used from the first intimate contact and also in oral sex. We must remember that the condom does not completely protect us from certain diseases such as scabies or genital warts. If used properly, protection is met in the case of HIV.
Type of sexually transmitted diseases
Syphilis is a disease caused by a spirochete that penetrates the skin or mucous membranes during sexual intercourse. At the point of entry, at 3 weeks, a hard sore appears that does not hurt and heals spontaneously and without scarring in about 3 weeks. This sore can be found on the external genitalia but may go unnoticed if it is located inside the rectum or inside the vagina. After one or two months, syphilis reappears and spots appear all over the body, also on the palms and soles of the feet. This rash also heals on its own. However, syphilis remains in a latent state and can reappear later and cause serious symptoms such as meningitis or myelitis (involvement of the spinal cord). It can cause serious problems if the infection occurs in a pregnant woman since the so-called congenital syphilis can appear in the newborn, causing severe symptoms and even death. Its diagnosis is made with a simple blood test. Available antibiotic treatment is highly effective.

gonorrhea and chlamydia
Gonorrhea and *chlamydia cause what we call urethritis, rectitis or cervicitis, which means inflammation of the rectum, or of the urethra in the case of men or of the cervix in the case of women. A pus-like discharge typically appears, which is more abundant in gonorrhea. It may come out stained with blood. It is usually accompanied by itching when urinating or pain when defecating. In women, as they can go unnoticed, they can cause infertility problems in the future. For its diagnosis, it is only necessary to analyze the pus. We have effective antibiotic treatment.
genital herpes
Genital herpes is infection by a virus, the herpes virus, of the genital skin (either on the external genitalia or on the buttocks). It is very common and causes the appearance of painful blisters in one of these areas. His appearance is recurring. The diagnosis is easy if the lesions are recognized. In atypical cases, special techniques such as viral culture or detection of viral antigens can be used. Although we do not have a curative treatment, your doctor will offer you treatment in the form of pills and drying creams. If you have very frequent or very annoying episodes of herpes reactivation, you can use a daily medication that reduces its frequency of appearance, it is the so-called suppressive treatment.
Condylomas are genital warts. They are caused by viruses of the papillomavirus family, of which there are more than 100 different types and their infection is extremely frequent. Some types cause common warts on the hands and feet. Other types cause genital warts. Certain types are capable of causing alterations in the cells they infect, that is, they have been implicated in the genesis of cervical cancer, but these types are rare. If you notice that you have warts, you should consult your doctor, since warts must be differentiated from other lesions that appear on the genitals, such as molluscum, cysts, hemorrhoids, etc. It is not necessary to do special studies for its diagnosis except in very special cases. We will always recommend women follow the usual gynecological check-ups (annual cytology or Papanicolaou). There are numerous treatments available, which in each case may vary depending on the size of warts, their location, or your state of defenses. Treatment usually eliminates warts but does not cure the infection, so they can reappear at any time.

Trichomonas infection is called trichomoniasis and is caused by a protozoan. It causes a very common sexually transmitted disease, which affects more young women than men. In women, a vaginal discharge similar to pus appears, which can take on a greenish color, and with a foul odor. There may be discomfort during sexual intercourse and there may be inflammation of the vulva. There are women who do not have symptoms and are diagnosed after performing the annual cytology. In men, it can cause irritation of the acorns, and more rarely, prostatitis or epididymitis. The study of vaginal discharge reveals the infection. We have effective treatment, in the form of vaginal creams or pills.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Infection by the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV occurs in cases of:

Sexual contact with someone infected
Sharing needles or syringes with someone who is infected or coming into contact with infected material (getting stuck with a needle, having contact with open or broken skin with infected semen or traces of blood).
Receiving infected blood in a transfusion (in our environment this risk is practically nil).
Infected pregnant women, can transmit it to the fetus during pregnancy, childbirth, or during lactation.
The HIV virus is not transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact, hugging or kissing, or sharing drinking glasses.
The infection is asymptomatic for a long period of time. During this phase, there is no sign of infection but the virus remains inside the body so we can infect other people. The symptoms appear when the defenses decrease, after a few years, a fact that causes more serious and frequent infections to be acquired than would be expected due to the patient’s age (pneumonia, tuberculosis, herpes, candidiasis). Rare infections also appear, such as fungal infections (cryptococcosis) or parasites (toxoplasmosis). We call AIDS the syndrome of acquired immunodeficiency, it is the advanced phase of the disease characterized by the appearance of multiple infections. Diagnosis of the infection can be made through a blood or urine test. We can use different techniques for its diagnosis: some are based on the detection of antibodies (ELISA test, Western-Blot), and others on the direct detection of the virus (PCR technique). From the moment of infection to the appearance of antibodies, it can take up to 3 months; This is what we call the window period, during which we can only diagnose the infection using the PCR technique (or viral load quantification).

The treatments that we currently have are effective by avoiding the decrease in defenses, and therefore, they begin to be given when their decrease is detected or when the aforementioned infections appear. The treatments must be followed strictly since if we leave them without medical control we can cause the virus that infects us to become resistant, a fact that will make subsequent treatments difficult. At the moment there is no curative treatment or effective vaccine.

Prevention of infection is very important. Currently, in Catalonia, new infections occur through unprotected sexual relations, both heterosexual and homosexual, and through the use of drugs injected with reused syringes. Therefore, we insist on the use of condoms since many people are unaware that they are carriers and therefore that they can transmit the infection.

Other infections potentially transmitted by sexual contact
Some bacterial, fungal (yeast), or viral (some forms of hepatitis) infections can also occasionally be transmitted through sexual intercourse.

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