Home / Word on the Street / Sexual Health Feature - 8 of the most common STD's.
Sexual Health Feature - 8 of the most common STD's.

Sexual Health Feature - 8 of the most common STD's.

A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is any disease that’s spread from one partner to another through sexual contact and the transfer of body fluids.  This contact can be via a number of methods : orally, vaginally, anally or even through hand to genital contact.

Education and awareness is key in the prevention, recognition and quick treatment to stop further spread of the disease amongst sexual partners. 

When reflecting on the sexually transmitted disease list below, it’s an important reminder that it definitely pays to be a little wary of one night stands and new sexual partners.  So much is at stake in terms of health that it is vital to always use a condom to protect yourself as much as possible.

Here are 8 of the most common STDs - along with some snippets of information:

1. Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is also known as “the clap” and it is a bacteria based infection.  It affects a female’s cervix and a male’s urethra as well as the throat in both genders.  It’s transmitted by the transfer of body fluids from one affected partner to the next and early detection and treatment is important so as to prevent any complications from long term illness.

Symptoms of gonorrhea are subtle when compared to other STDs and is most commonly characterised by a burning when urinating and men will notice that they have a yellowish discharge from their penis.

2. Chlamydia

In many ways, Chlamydia is similar to Gonorrhea in that it affects a man’s penile urethra and a woman’s cervix. One scary aspect is that often those who’ve contracted Chlamydia don’t show symptoms for a long time - sometimes months or even years, which helps to explain why it’s the most common and rampant STD.

Some symptoms may include pain during intercourse and have a thick, discolored discharge from either the vagina or penis. Chlamydia is transmitted via sexual penetration and is an STD that the use of a condom can help to prevent.

3. Human Papilloma Virus

The Human Papilloma Virus (also known as HPV) is currently the most widespread STD in the United States, prompting the development of a vaccine to protect young women from certain types of HPV that are linked to genital warts and cervical cancer.

HPV is transmitted through genital contact—via vaginal and anal sex, and also oral sex and genital-to-genital contact. Often HPV won’t show any symptoms at all until it is far advanced.

4. Hepatitis

Hepatitis B is the sexually transmitted variety of Hepatitis and is a virus.  Fortunately there is a vaccine, however many people around the world do not opt to receive this vaccination.

If Hepatitis B isn’t treated, it will cause liver damage, cirrhosis and cancer.  The scary concept is that around 1 in 2 of all people affected will show absolutely no symptoms.  Those who do show symptoms often report muscle aches, fatigue, yellowed eyes, nausea and a bloated stomach area.

5. Syphilis

Syphilis is caused by a bacterial infection of the genital tract, which is known as Treponema Pallidum. It is transmitted through direct contact with the small, painless sores on the mouth, rectum, vagina, or around the genitals in both sexes.  Wearing condoms sometimes isn’t enough to be able to protect against the surrounding sores and contact. Pregnant mothers can also pass syphilis on to their babies during pregnancy.

Even when there are no visible sores, the disease may still be present.  Given that the sores are painless, many do not realise that they are affected,  Other symptoms may include hair loss, a sore throat, headache and fevers.

6. Crabs

Doesn’t that name drum up some pretty disturbing mental images? Crabs are in fact pubic lice and a sufferer can feel a slightly creepy crawly and itchy sensation in their genitals.  They can be seen as visible eggs or lice amongst the coarse pubic hair of both the male and female genital region - and can exist in that area even if all the hair is shaved off.

If left untreated, they can also spread to the armpits and eyebrows.  Less commonly, pubic lice can also be contracted through the sharing of bed linens and clothing that is already infested.

7. Herpes

Herpes sufferers will report painful sores or lesions on their mouth or genitals.  It comes in two different viral forms - HSV1 (herpes of the mouth) and HSV2 (herpes of the genitals). It is transmitted via skin-to-skin contact with the affected mouth or genital area.

Symptoms can be treated with antibiotics, however the virus itself will never go away and can reoccur a few times a year.

8. HIV

HIV is a virus that’s transmitted through the exchange of body fluids including semen, vaginal secretions, blood, or breast milk. Usually within a few months of contracting HIV, most people will start to suffer from symptoms similar to the flu - such as fever, fatigue, achy muscles, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, headache, skin rash, dry cough, nausea, rapid weight loss, night sweats, frequent yeast infections (for women), cold sores, and eventually, pneumonia.

From research and medical developments, now individuals who are diagnosed with HIV early can more often than not live a long and productive life thanks to anti-retroviral drug therapy, which prevents the progression of HIV to AIDS.

If you feel that you may be at risk of having contracted any of the above STDs, it is always advised to go and get yourself checked out at your doctor - to make sure that treatment is received as soon as possible.  This also helps to prevent further spread of the disease.

Sources: https://www.verywell.com/the-most-common-stds-sexually-transmitted-diseases-3133040