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Sexually transmitted disease

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Close-up view of keratotic lesions on the palms of this patient’s hands due to a secondary syphilitic infection.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) are those with a significant probability of transmission by means of sexual contact. There are many different types that range from severe (life-threatening) to minor (curable with antibiotics). The five most common sexually transmitted diseases are: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Mycoplasma Genetalium, and Trochomoniasis. The other common sexually transmitted diseases are crabs/pub-lice, which are lice that live on the hair in the genital area and sometimes on other coarse-haired areas of the body like the the armpits and the eyebrows, scabies which is a contagious skin disease that is not only sexually transmitted, human papillomavirus (or HPV) which is commonly considered the most common of all the sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/Aids, and herpes, which are cold sores and genital sores. [1]


Any sexually active person is susceptible to getting sexually transmitted diseases. They are spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex without the use of contraceptives. Even with the use of contraceptives, you can still contract sexually transmitted diseases. The more sexual partners you have, the higher risk there is for you to attract an disease or infection. [2]


There are many different types of sexually transmitted diseases. They range from severe (life threatening) to minor (curable with antibiotics). Five of the most common sexually transmitted diseases are: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Mycoplasma Genetalium, and Trochomoniasis. [3]

  • Chlamydia- Chlamydia is known as a "silent" STD because in many cases (about one third of infected women and about half of infected men) people do not show any symptoms. The symptoms occur as the infection spreads. When it spreads to the urethra and cervix, a woman may experience abnormal discharge or a burning sensation when urinating. When it spreads to the fallopian tubes, woman may experience lower back and abdomen pain, nausea, fever, or bleeding between menstrual periods. [4] Men may experience: pain or burning when urinating, a possible increase in the frequency of urination, and a white or green discharge. [5]
  • Gonorrhea- The symptoms of Gonorrhea appear in stages as the infection develops and spreads. In women the symptoms include: burning or itchiness when urinating, a yellow discharge, burning or itching of the vaginal area, and inflammation of the genitals. Gonorrhea can also lead to PID, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. This happens in ten to forty percent of women infected with Gonorrhea. [6]
  • Syphilis- The symptoms of syphilis appear in three stages as the infection progresses.The first stage of syphilis is identified by the presence of an ulcer. When this ulcer is present, the infection is extremely contagious. [7]The symptoms for syphilis do not differ between men and women.In the primary stage, ulcers will show up on the vulva or cervix, on the penis, or on the mouth. In the second stage more side effects appear. They can include: flu-like symptoms (fatigue, loss of appetite, and swollen glands), a rash, flat bumps resembling warts around the mouth and vulva anus, white patches around the tongue or roof of the mouth, and hair loss. In the final stage (also called the latent or tertiary stage) of the infection, if untreated, the symptoms will disappear and the infection will only be able to be detected by blood tests. [8]

Prevention and Treatment

Antibiotics are commonly used to treat STDs.

The best way to prevent any sexually transmitted disease is to stay abstinent and always practice safe sex. If you are cautious, you can easily avoid being infected.

  • Chlamydia- The most successful way to prevent Chlamydia, like any STD, is make sure you use a latex condom. You can also get yearly testing. This is recommended for women twenty-five years of age or younger that are sexually active, women who are pregnant, and woman with new or multiple sex partners. To prevent the STD from spreading, if you experience any symptoms wait to continue any sexual activity until you have been examined by a doctor. [9]
  • Gonorrhea- In many cases Gonorrhea is associated with Chlamydia, so the treatment is the same for both. Always make sure that your partner is checked and or treated at the same time as you are, this prevents any further infections. There are many drugs that treat the infection, they include: ceftriaxone, cefixime, ciprofloxacin, or ofloxacin for gonorrhea along with azithromycin, doxycycline. [10]
  • Syphilis- The best way to fight the infection is with penicillin by injection. They have other hypoallergenic antibiotics for patients who can't take penicillin. If the penicillin injections do not effect the infection, blood tests can be used to fight the bacteria causing the infections. Antibiotics and blood tests can be used to fight the infection, but in the latent stages of syphilis damage done to organs is not reversible. [11]


You will find that with any sexually transmitted disease, it can cause bodily complications and complications during pregnancy.

  • Chlamydia- 40 percent of infected women let the disease go untreated and the infection turn into PID- Pelvic Inflammatory Disorder. This can cause damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus, and other tissues, leading to pain in the pelvic area, infertility, and pregnancy outside the uterus. They are also five more times likely to become infected with the HIV virus. [12]
  • Gonorrhea- Complications during pregnancy can include: transmission during pregnancy, infant eye infections (as a result of transmission during pregnancy), neonatal conjunctivitis and neonatal throat infection, and Opthalmia neonatorum, which is conjunctivitis in newborn acquired during the mother giving birth to the child. Aside from pregnancy complications, the complications include: PID, Gonococcal PID (another form of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease), Endocarditis, Blood Poisoning, and Conjunctivitis. Peritonitis and Gonococcal arthritis (when gonorrhea spreads through the blood to the joints) are rare but serious complications resulting from Gonorrhea. [13]
  • Syphilis- Three to seven percent of all people with untreated syphilis develop a condition called neurosyphilis. This is when the bacteria from the syphilis infection migrate to the nervous system which can cause: stiff neck, fever, seizures, or stroke-like symptoms, numbness, weakness, and decrease in vision. The other complications include heart abnormalities, mental disorders, blindness, neurological complications, tabes dorsalis, artery disease, aneurysms, and even death. There are also many complications that affect pregnant women and their babies: stillbirth, neonatal death, and birth defects. [14] In some cases, a baby may develop a condition called congenital syphilis. This causes the child to get skin sores, rashes, a fever, weakened crying, hoarse crying, swollen liver, swollen spleen, jaundice, yellow skin, yellow eyes, anemia, and various deformities. [15]