Well if you’re like me, you may know very little about STDs. When I started working at Care Net of Neosho, I couldn’t even pronounce the names let alone know what each one was.  Let’s get educated together…the name, how it’s transmitted, symptoms and treatment.

STDs are usually transmitted through sexual contact, including through bodily fluids or skin contact via vaginal, oral, and anal sex.

  • Chlamydia – is the most common bacterial STD in men and women. Most infected people do not have symptoms – making it very important to get tested.  If symptoms are present, women may have a change in vaginal discharge or unusual vaginal bleeding.  Men can have painful urination, a penile discharge, or in men who have sex with men, rectal pain or discharge.  Chlamydia can be cured with treatment. Overtime, if chlamydia is not treated, it can cause serious damage to a woman’s reproductive system including making it more difficult to get pregnant and increasing the risk for a future ectopic pregnancy which I discussed on my last blog. 
  • Gonorrhea – is a common bacterial STD. Most infected people do not have symptoms – making it very important to get tested.  If symptoms are present, women often have a vaginal discharge or unusual vaginal bleeding. Men can have painful urination, a penile discharge or in men who have sex with men rectal pain or discharge. Gonorrhea can cause complications if left untreated.  It can be cured with medication.
  • Hepatitis – is a serious disease that can harm the liver. It is caused by a virus that can spread from person to person when their body fluids touch. This can happen in a few ways, like having sex or sharing needles. 
  • Trichomoniasis- is caused by a parasite and is among the most common STD transmitted infection and affects men and women. Risk factors include multiple sexual partners and not using condoms during sex. Often people do not have any symptoms, but if they do, women can have vaginal irritation and discharge and men can have discharge from the penis or painful urination.  It can be cured with medication.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – is a virus that can cause skin warts, genital warts and some forms of    cancer. People can get infected by having sex or genital contact.  Most people do not know they are infected and most infections resolve on their own without treatment.  However, if an infection with a high-risk type persists, it can cause oral cancer, cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, penile cancer, anal cancer, mouth and throat in both men and women.

When a pap test is done to detect cervical cancer, an HPV test can be done at the same time if needed.  There is no test for genital HPV in men. There is also no test for HPV in the mouth or throat. There is a HPV vaccine to prevent most high-risk infections. 

  • Herpes – is a common STD caused by the herpes simplex virus. It can cause sores and blisters on the mouth and/or genitals or it can be present with no symptoms at all.  If sores are present, testing can be done from the fluid or a blood sample can show if a person has been exposed.  There is no cure for herpes but medication can be used to suppress it. 
  • Syphilis – is a bacterial STD that is increasing in the United States. It is usually contracted after coming into direct contact with an infected sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.  If untreated, it can cause serious health problems.
  • HIV – stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection.  There is no effective cure but it can be managed with medications.

HIV is spread through blood, semen, or vaginal fluids from an infected person’s body, through sexual contact, needle sharing or from an infected mother to her baby during birth.  It can be detected through a blood test.

Well, I’ve been a little more educated, how about you?  If you are reading this blog and are concerned you may have been exposed to a STD, please call Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center at 415.455.0100 to be tested.  We can perform Gonorrhea or Chlamydia testing anytime we are open by taking a urine sample or if you suspect you’ve been exposed to HIV or Syphilis, call and schedule an appointment for a blood draw.

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