STDs

std treatment long island

A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is a disease or infection that is spread from one person to another through sexual contact. Most STDs are caused by bacteria, parasites or viruses that are transmitted through contact with the genitals, skin, mouth, rectum or bodily fluids. Sexually transmitted diseases can cause problems ranging from mild irritation to severe pain. Left untreated, some STDs can cause illness, cancer and infertility, or harm to a fetus.

Types of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

There are many different types, including the following, of sexually transmitted diseases:

  • Genital herpes
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • HIV
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Condyloma
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Hepatitis

Different STDs have different causes. Gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia are caused by bacteria; trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite; and HPV, genital herpes and HIV are caused by viruses.

Risk Factors for STDs

STDs may be caused by a bacterial or viral infection that is spread through sexual contact. Individuals who may be more at risk for contacting an STD may include those who:

  • Engage in unprotected sex
  • Have multiple sexual partners
  • Are already infected with an STD
  • Abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Share needles for drug use or tattoos

In many cases, sexually transmitted diseases have no symptoms, especially in women, so a person may not even know if they have been infected. Periodic testing is recommended for anyone who may be at risk for an STD, including those who have multiple sexual partners, even if they are having protected sex.
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Causes of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

STDs are caused by a bacterial or viral infection that is spread through sexual contact. Anyone who is sexually active risks exposure to a sexually transmitted infection. People who may have a higher risk of contracting an STD include those who:

  • Engage in unprotected sex
  • Have multiple sexual partners
  • Are already infected with an STD
  • Abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Share needles for drug use or tattoos

Certain sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, HIV and syphilis, can be passed to a fetus during pregnancy or delivery.

Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Most sexually transmitted diseases have no symptoms at all, so people may not know they have been infected. When symptoms develop, they can vary depending on the specific type of STD, and include the following:

  • Vaginal or penile discharge
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Painful urination
  • Sores or blisters on the genitals
  • Abdominal pain

If an STD is suspected, testing should be performed immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid severe health problems, and the spread of infection.


Diagnosis of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

A sexually transmitted disease is diagnosed through a physical examination and review of symptoms. Additional diagnostic tests include the following:

  • Urine tests
  • Blood tests
  • Fluid samples

Periodic STD testing is recommended for people who are sexually active, especially those with multiple sexual partners. Pregnant women are also routinely screened for STDs, including HIV, hepatitis B, chlamydia and syphilis. This screening often takes place at the first prenatal visit.

Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Treatment for a sexually transmitted disease varies depending on the specific type. Some STDs can be treated with antibiotics or antiviral medication. Viral infections can be managed but not always cured. Some medications help to ease the severity of symptoms. There is no cure available for HIV, but it can often be treated with a combination of medications. STDs are serious infections that can cause lifelong or recurring symptoms and side effects.

STD Screening

A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is a disease or infection that is spread from one person to another through sexual contact. Most STDs are caused by bacteria, parasites or viruses, that are transmitted through contact with the genitals, skin, mouth, rectum, or bodily fluids. STDs can cause problems ranging from mild irritation to severe pain. Left untreated, some STDs can cause illness, cancer, infertility or harm to a fetus during pregnancy

Types of STD Testing

STD testing is not part of a standard physical exam or gynecological checkup, so unless an STD infection is suspected by a physician, testing must be specifically requested. The method of testing may vary depending upon the type of STD and it may include the following methods:

  • Blood test
  • Urine test
  • Swab sample from the genitals
  • Tissue sample

There are also several at-home test kits available for certain STDs. These tests usually involve the individual collecting a urine sample or a genital swab at home and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. Results are usually received within a few days. In some cases, because the sample is taken at home and not in a completely sterile environment, results of these test may not always be reliable. Positive test results from at-home STD tests, should always be confirmed by a doctor.

If an individual tests positive for an STD, a treatment plan should be discussed with and developed by a doctor. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments available for most STDS and although many STDs cannot be cured, there is medication available to treat and manage symptoms. Patients infected with a sexually transmitted disease should inform any sexual partners of the infection to make sure they are tested and treated. This reduces the risk of re-infection and spreading the disease to a partner.

STDs are serious infections that can cause lifelong or recurring symptoms and side effects. It is important for individuals to practice safe sex and get tested often.


Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The most effective way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases is to abstain from sexual activity. Other recommendations for avoiding STDs include the following:

  • Remaining in a long-term monogamous relationship
  • Using condoms
  • Avoiding intercourse with new partners until after STD testing

HPV vaccinations are recommended for males and females between the ages of 9 and 26 who are not yet sexually active. This vaccination helps to prevent specific strains of HPV, and is administered as three separate injections over the course of six months.

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