Sexually transmitted disease types,
symptoms and screening
Sexually transmitted diseases are recently becoming the most discussed infection all over the world. Everyone who is sexually active should be tested at some point, but the type of test and when will depend on the individual’s risk factor.
Carrying out a test may not be required, but if recommended by your health provider and you get diagnosed, here is a piece of good news; most STDs are treatable.
Defining sexually transmitted disease(STD)
Sexually transmitted disease are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. In other words, they are infections contracted through vaginal, anal or oral sex.
What is STD Screening, Exactly?
There are varieties of test for sexually transmitted diseases, the type of screening test will depend on the type of symptoms, sexual history and medical history of the patient.
During your visit to the hospital, your names and contact details will be taken to ensure you are gotten back to especially in cases when your test result isn’t available during your time of visit. However, whatsoever be the case, all information concerning your test result is kept confidential.
Answering some Questions.
Your correct answers to most of the questions asked will determine how accurate your test result will be. Be prepared to answer different questions about your sexual life including the following:
– the last time you had sex
– if you had unprotected sex
– how many partners you have
– why you think you may have gotten a sexually transmitted disease
– whether you have any signs or symptoms within the last few months or days.
Most common STDs screening
Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection usually caused by the organism -Neisseria gonorrhoeae (also known as gonococcus bacteria) which of course is contracted through sexual intercourse. This infection is one of the oldest sexually transmitted disease all over the world. Millions of women are infected with the virus today, and among every woman infected with gonorrhoea, a portion of them will also be infected with chlamydia. These infections are commonly grouped together because they are tested for at the same time. In some cases, the symptoms may usually take some months before detected.
Contrally to some general myth on gonorrhoea, it cannot be contacted through toilet seats and handle because the bacterium that causes the disease requires specific conditions for reproduction and growth. It cannot live outside the body and can only survive on moist surfaces inside the body such as the vagina, rectum, fallopian tube and cervix. It can also live in the back of the throat from oral-genital contact.
As explained earlier, the perfect way to be sure of the infection is to go for an STD screening, because most infected women have no symptoms of Gonorrhea especially in the early stages of the infection. However, when women do experience signs and symptoms, it would normally include the following:
– Yellowish vaginal discharge
– Frequent urination
– Vaginal burning especially during urination and
– Swelling or redness of the genitals.
If untreated, it could lead to further complications in the body such as gonococcal arthritis. Gonorrhoea infection of the fallopian tube can lead to a serious infection of the pelvis known as a pelvic inflammatory disease(PID). The symptoms could normally include abdominal pain, pelvic cramp and pain during sexual intercourse. It could lead to sterility in extreme conditions.
Gonorrhea screening and Diagnosis
Screening on gonorrhoea is usually done by swabbing the infected area and carrying out a test to identify the bacteria through culturing of the material from the swab. Other screening includes the use of amplification techniques to identify the genetic material of the bacteria. This test is usually more expensive when compared to the use of cultures.
Chlamydia is similar to gonorrhoea in the symptom and ways it is spread. Just like gonorrhoea, the chlamydia bacteria can be found in the throat, rectum, cervix and urethra.
Just like gonorrhea, chlamydia may be difficult to detect because early-stage infections hardly depict any signs, and when they do occur, they start after two weeks of exposure.
Signs and symptoms of chlamydia may include the following
Chlamydia can also be detected by swabbing the affected area. other screening methods such as urine tests or self-collected vaginal swabs can also be used, this screening method in most cases are usually inexpensive and more preferable.
3. Syphilis: syphilis is a bacterial infection that affects the skin, genitals and mucous membrane. It can also affect other parts of the body. There are four major stages of syphilis infection; the primary, secondary, latent and tertiary syphilis. there are also extreme cases of syphilis known as congenital syphilis, which occurs when a pregnant woman with syphilis passes it to her unborn child. Congenital syphilis could be life threatening which is why it is very important for a pregnant woman to start treatment before giving birth. The first sign of syphilis occurs in the primary stage this may include a painless sore on the part of the body which the infection is transmitted, usually the genitals, tongue and rectums. The infection may sometimes proceed to the second stage and may begin four to six weeks after the chancre appears, you may start experiencing fever, soreness and enlarged lymph nodes during this period. Some patients may start experiencing no signs or symptoms even without medications, this in most cases is called the latent stage. The tertiary stage may last for over 20 years, and in this stage, the syphilis is no longer contagious.
Screening and diagnosis of syphilis
Unlike gonorrhea and chlamydia, routine screening is usually not recommended for nonpregnant women. However, test or screening check are usually carried out for pregnant women during their antenatal visit.
4. Genital herpes: genital herpes also known as herpes is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus(HSV) usually transmitted via contact with infectious sores. There are two strains of herpes virus- HSV 1 and HSV 2. HSV are traditionally associated with oral herpes while type 2 is associated with genital herpes. a patient may have the herpes virus without symptoms, because, most symptoms of HSV include itching and general redness of the skin, which in most cases are regarded as regular skin issues.
Screening and Diagnosis of HSV
Diagnostic tests such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and blood tests that can detect antibodies to the herpes viruses can be useful in some situation. More so, fluid from the blisters in the sexually exposed areas can be sent to the laboratory in order to culture the virus.
The viral infection is transmitted through blood or sexually. Although the virus is not only transferred through sex contact but via blood, semen and breast milk with an infected patient. Infection with the human immunodeficiency virus(HIV) weakens the immune system and increases the vulnerability of the body to other infections. With treatment, the virus can be managed or reduced but not cured.
However, if the virus progresses without treatment and reaches the third stage known as AIDS( acquired immune deficiency syndrome), the outcome may be fatal
Some symptoms of Hiv includes:
Early signs of Hiv
– Sore throat
– Minor headaches
– Swollen lymph glands
Chronic symptoms include
Late stage of the infection (AIDS)