Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), your health:

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***March 13, 2014, Latest warnings about Gonorrhea:***

Warning from the CDC about the new, untreatable gonorrhea strain...

Gonorrhea: In the days before antibiotics, Gonorrhea was called "the prostitute's friend" because it could make women sterile. The disease is a-symptomatic (no symptoms to let you know you are ill) in about 5% of the men who have it.

It can affect a baby being born as it passes through the birth canal.


Sexually Transmitted Diseases, STDs: These days, it is called "Safer Sex", not "Safe Sex."

STDs are an epidemic in our society, be informed, and be careful.

You may know this info, but you probably don't know all of it, so do yourself a favor and read it anyway. You may learn a few things that will shock you.


There are about 21 STDs out there. STDs discussed on these pages:

  • AIDS

  • Chancroid

  • Chlamydia

  • Genital Warts

  • Gonorrhea

  • Herpes

  • Hepatitis

  • Pubic Lice and Scabies

  • Syphilis

  • Trichomoniasis

    • The number of head and neck cancers linked to a virus spread by oral sex is rising rapidly and suggests boys as well as girls should be offered protection through vaccination, doctors said Friday. Given that oral sex seems to be the new "goodnight kiss" among certain groups of teens, this is an important news item.

      Before you have sex, talk to your partner about STDs, and suggest that you both be tested and have checkups.

    • If you don't feel comfortable discussing this with a potential partner, then think seriously about whether you should be contemplating sex with this person.

    • If you are, or have been, sexually active, you should be tested on a regular basis.

    • Birth control, in any form, does not protect you from STDs.

    • Getting an STD increases your risk of contracting HIV, and it increases even more with certain kinds of STDs than with others.

    • For those of you, especially those of you in high school, who believe that oral sex is the new good night kiss, and that you cannot get any STDs that way, guess again. Several, including the m

      I will spare you my comments about how girls' names are written on the bathroom walls and boys are sowing their wild oats.

    • If you have been diagnosed with an STD, you should avoid having sex with anyone until you are sure you are cured, or in the case of Herpes Type II, until your physician has discussed this with you.


    There are about 21 kinds of STDs out there. Below is a list, with descriptions, of the most common and links to information web sites.


    AIDS
    A plague of our time, AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which makes it impossible for the body to fight infections of any kind. There are complicated treatments that prolong life, but AIDS is fatal, and there is no cure.


    CHANCROID:

    • Genital Ulcer disease, can be treated with any of several antibiotics

    • There is evidence to suggest that CHANCROID may be associated with an increased risk of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that causes AIDS.


    CHLAMYDIA:

    • Most people have no sign or symptoms

      • If there are symptoms present, for females these include: abnormal bleeding, discharge, or pain when having sex.

      • Symptoms for males include genital itching and/or painful urination.
    • How do you find out if you have CHLAMYDIA?

      • The only method is to get tested - by givng a urine sample.
    • How is it treated?

      • CHLAMYDIA is treated with medication.
    • Is CHLAMYDIA serious?

      • CHLAMYDIA can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease in females, which can cause several health problems, including infertility.

      • Males can get an infection of the epididymis (the organ that stores sperm) that will cause pain and swelling.

      • Newborn babies with CHLAMYDIA (from the birth canal) can develop serious eye and lung infections.

      • People with CHLAMYDIA have an increased risk for HIV/AIDS.
    • Is CHLAMYDIA avoidable?

      • The correct use of a latex condom can greatly reduce your chances for giving or getting CHLAMYDIA, however that STDs can also be transmitted orally

      • Remember that birth control shots, patches, or shots CANNOT protect you from getting CHLAMYDIA.
    • This information is from the California Chlamydia Action Coalition (CCAC).


      Spread of neck and head cancer in teens, possibly related to Oral Sex:

      GENITAL WARTS:

      Very common virus, estimates are that 1 in 4 sexually active young people have this disease.

      • As of this writing, there is news of a vaccine, but still no cure. (We can't cure viruses, we can only vaccinate against them.)

      • The warts can be treated with certain topicals, burned off with a laser or electric needle, frozen for removal.

      • If the warts come back, the treatment is repeated


      GONORRHEA:

      An old STD that has been around for hundreds of years. Used to be known as "the clap" and also called "the prostitute's friend", since it can make females sterile.

      In the 1800s, the only treatment was the use of Mercury. (I don't know the details, thank goodness.)

      • Symptoms include burning and painful urination, discharge from the sex organs.

      • Can be asymptomatic, usually more likely in males than in females; however, it is still contagious.

      • Untreated, it can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in women, cervical infections, infertility, and infections of the blood.

      • Treatment is usually, but not always, one extremely high concentration of antibiotics.

        The number of CCs of penicillin given to cure Gonorrhea continues to be increased as we weaken the effectiveness of our antibiotics, until now it is double what it was 50 years ago.

      • If you are given a prescription of antibiotics for any illness, you MUST take all the doses.

      • Your sex partner should be notified, tested, and treated.

      Learn about Gonorrhea, and other STDs at

      U.S. Center for Disease Control - Information about Gonorrhea


      Hepatitis:

      What is viral hepatitis?

      Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. There are five identified types of viral hepatitis and each one is caused by a different virus. In the United States, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are the most common types. Hepatitis A is caused by hepatitis A virus (HAV), hepatitis B is caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C is caused by hepatitis C virus (HCV).

      Hepatitis is preventable: You can, and should, be vaccinated for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.

      Hepatitis A Virus (HAV)

      • Hepatitis A virus is spread from person to person by putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with the stool of a person with hepatitis A.

      • This type of transmission is called "fecal-oral."

      • Most infections result from contact with a household member or sex partner who is infected with HAV. Casual contact, as in the usual office, factory, or school setting, does not spread the virus.

      Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)

      • HBV is spread when blood from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not infected:

      • For example, HBV is spread through having sex with an infected person without using a condom (the efficacy of latex condoms in preventing infection with HBV is unknown, but their proper use might reduce transmission).

      • By sharing drugs, needles, or "works" when "shooting" drugs, through needlesticks or sharps exposures on the job, or from an infected mother to her baby during birth.

    • Symptoms of Viral Hepatitis A and B. (Hepatitis C, D, E, are not spread through sexual contact)

      • Tiredness
      • Loss of appetite
      • Nausea
      • Abdominal discomfort
      • Dark urine
      • Clay-colored bowel movements
      • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
    • Hepatitis is one of several reasons I recommend the use of a spray antiseptic if you share a toilet in your dorm or apartment. The HIV virus dies quickly in air, some others don't.

      Any questions you have, or information you need, visit the National Center for STD, HIV, and TB Prevention:

      Questions and Answers About Hepatitis A-E.


      Herpes:

      There is no cure, and you can become infected through dermal abrasion even if your infected partner has no visible sores.

      • Symptoms include sores on the genitals, fevers, and headaches

      • Other symptoms include: eye infections, cervical cancer, and pregnancy complications

      • The sores go away and reappear, but you are infected with the virus for life

      • There have been some improvements in medicine, but no cure

      • Medicine can ease the pain, and shorten the attacks

      • Avoid sex while having an attack, and it goes without saying, but I will anyway, that you MUST tell a partner you are infected

      • For information about Herpes and other STDs: Go to the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

        U.S. Department of Health - Herpes, HIV, others

        More detailed information about Herpes

        Genital herpes is an infection of the genitals, buttocks, or anal area caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV.

        HSV type 1 most commonly infects the mouth and lips, causing sores known as fever blisters or cold sores. It is also an important cause of sores to the genitals.

        HSV type II is the usual cause of genital herpes, but it also can infect the mouth.

        According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

        1 out of 5 American teenagers and adults is infected with HSV-2. Women are more commonly infected than men. In the United States, 1 out of 4 women is infected with HSV-2.M

        Since the late 1970s, the number of people with genital herpes infection has increased 30 percent nationwide. The largest increase has been among teens and young adults.

        TRANSMISSION

        If you have genital herpes infection, you can easily pass or transmit the virus to an uninfected partner during sex.

        Most people get genital herpes by having sex with someone who is shedding the herpes virus either during an outbreak or during a period with no symptoms. People who do not know they have herpes play an important role in transmission.

        You can transmit herpes through close contact other than sexual intercourse, through oral sex or close skin-to-skin contact, for example.

        The virus is spread rarely, if at all, by objects such as a toilet seat or hot tub.

        Reduce your risk of spreading herpes

        People with herpes should follow a few simple steps to avoid spreading the infection to other places on their body or other people.

        Avoid touching the infected area during an outbreak, and wash your hands after contact with the area. Do not have sexual contact (vaginal, oral, or anal) from the time of first genital symptoms until symptoms are completely gone.

        TREATMENT

        Although there is no cure for genital herpes, your health care provider might prescribe an antiviral medicine to treat your symptoms and to help prevent future outbreaks. This can decrease the risk of passing herpes to sexual partners. Medicines to treat genital herpes are

        Acyclovir (Zovirax) Famciclovir (Famvir) Valacyclovir (Valtrex)

        SYMPTOMS

        Symptoms of herpes are called outbreaks. The first outbreak appears within 2 weeks after you become infected and can last for several weeks. These symptoms might include tingling or sores near the area where the virus has entered the body, such as on the genital or rectal area, on buttocks or thighs, or occasionally on other parts of the body where the virus has entered through broken skin. They also can occur inside the vagina and on the cervix in women, or in the urinary passage of women and men. Small red bumps appear first, develop into small blisters, and then become itchy, painful sores that might develop a crust and will heal without leaving a scar.

        Sometimes, there is a crack or raw area or some redness without pain, itching, or tingling.

        Other symptoms that may accompany the first (and less often future) outbreak of genital herpes are fever, headache, muscle aches, painful or difficult urination, vaginal discharge, and swollen glands in the groin area.

        Often, though, people don’t recognize their first or subsequent outbreaks. People who have mild or no symptoms at all may not think they are infected with herpes. They can still transmit the virus to others, however.

        Recurrence of herpes outbreaks

        In most people, the virus can become active and cause outbreaks several times a year. This is called a recurrence, and infected people can have symptoms. HSV remains in certain nerve cells of your body for life. When the virus is triggered to be active, it travels along the nerves to your skin. There, it makes more virus and sometimes new sores near the site of the first outbreak.

        Recurrences are generally much milder than the first outbreak of genital herpes. HSV-2 genital infection is more likely to result in recurrences than HSV-1 genital infection. Recurrences become less common over time.

        Symptoms from recurrences might include itching, tingling, vaginal discharge, and a burning feeling or pain in the genital or anal area. Sores may be present during a recurrence, but sometimes they are small and easily overlooked.

        Sometimes, the virus can become active but not cause any visible sores or any symptoms. During these times, small amounts of the virus may be shed at or near places of the first infection, in fluids from the mouth, penis, or vagina, or from barely noticeable sores. This is called asymptomatic (without symptoms) shedding. Even though you are not aware of the shedding, you can infect a sexual partner during this time. Asymptomatic shedding is an important factor in the spread of herpes.

        DIAGNOSIS

        Your health care provider can diagnose typical genital herpes by looking at the sores. Some cases, however, are more difficult to diagnose.

        The virus sometimes, but not always, can be detected by a laboratory test called a culture. A culture is done when your health care provider uses a swab to get and study material from a suspected herpes sore. You may still have genital herpes, however, even if your culture is negative (which means it does not show HSV).

        A blood test cannot show whether you are having a herpes outbreak, but it can show if you are infected with HSV. Newer blood tests, called type-specific tests, can tell whether you are infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2. Blood tests cannot tell between genital and other herpes infections. Health experts assume, however, that if you are positive for HSV-2, you have had genital infection.

        Coping with herpes

        A diagnosis of genital herpes can have emotional effects whether or not symptoms are present. If you have genital herpes, you are probably concerned about the effect of your disease on personal relationships. In addition, your sexual partner may be concerned about their risk of infection. Proper counseling and treatment can help you and your partner learn to cope with the disease.

        PREVENTION

        Because herpes can be transmitted from someone who has no symptoms, using these precautions is not enough to prevent transmission. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration approved Valtrex for use in preventing transmission of genital herpes. It has to be taken continuously by the infected person, and while it significantly decreases the risk of the transmission of herpes, transmission can still occur.

        Do not have oral genital contact in the presence of any symptoms or findings of oral herpes. Using barriers such as condoms during sexual activity may decrease transmission, but transmission can occur even if condoms are used correctly. Condoms may not cover all infected areas.

        COMPLICATIONS

        Genital herpes infections usually do not cause serious health problems in healthy adults. In some people whose immune systems do not work properly, genital herpes outbreaks can be unusually severe and long lasting.

        Occasionally, people with normal immune systems can get herpes infection of the eye, called ocular herpes. Ocular herpes is usually caused by HSV-1 but sometimes by HSV-2. It can occasionally result in serious eye disease, including blindness.

        A woman with herpes who is pregnant can pass the infection to her baby. A baby born with herpes might die or have serious brain, skin, or eye problems. Pregnant women who have herpes, or whose sex partner has herpes should discuss the situation with her health care provider. Together they can make a plan to reduce her or her baby’s risk of getting infected. Babies who are born with herpes do better if the disease is recognized and treated early.

        Genital herpes, like other genital diseases that cause sores, is important in the spread of HIV infection.

        MORE INFORMATION

        National Library of Medicine MedlinePlus 8600 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20894 1-888-FIND-NLM (1-888-346-3656) or 301-594-5983 http://medlineplus.gov Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC-INFO 1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30333 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) 1-888-232-6348 TTY http://www.cdc.gov

        The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 409 12th Street, S.W. P.O. Box 96920 Washington, DC 20090-6920 202-863-2518 http://www.acog.org

        National Herpes Resource Center and Hotline American Social Health Association P.O. Box 13827 Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-9940 919-361-8488 (9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday) http://www.ashastd.org/hrc/index.html


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        Pubic Lice and Scabies - Pubic Lice are tiny insects that infest the pubic hair and feed on human blood.

        • These parasites are spread by human sexual contact, and occasionally by infested bedding or clothing.

        • They can sometimes be seen, but require treatment to get rid of them

        • Scabies is another tiny (tiny) insect that causes a highly contagious skin disease.

        • Primary source of infection is sexual contact, but it can also be transmitted by infected bedding, towels, furniture, skin, or other forms of contact

        • Both over the-counter and prescription drugs containing Lindane are used to treat these two species of unwelcome guests

      • Syphilis

        Until antibiotics, and later AIDS, this historically significant disease was The Scourge Disease.

        Contrary to popular belief, it was not brought to the new world by Columbus, but rather, taken BACK to Europe by his men.

        There are pre-Columbian artifacts that show syphilitic markings on the sculptures.

        When you are infected you break out in a rash. Then it goes away, and hides, sometimes for decades, while it wrecks your nervous system, and causes unbelievable, irreparable damage.

      • Most P&S syphilis cases occurred in persons 20 to 39 years of age. The incidence of infectious syphilis was highest in women 20 to 24 years of age and in men 35 to 39 years of age.

        • Early symptoms include rashes and sores at body openings, including the mouth, and genitals

        • Untreated and unidentified, the infected person can think that whatever it was, went away

        • Treatment involves massive doses of penicillin for as long as it takes to get rid of the disease.

        • Untreated, it causes blindness, chest pain, breathing difficulties, and insanity . (Read "Ghosts", a play by Henrik Ibsen, 1888, dealt with the consequences of Syphilis in the children of infected parents.)

        • Genital sores (chancres) caused by syphilis make it easier to transmit and acquire HIV infection sexually. There is an estimated 2- to 5-fold increased risk of acquiring HIV infection when syphilis is present.

        • Ulcerative STDs that cause sores, ulcers, or breaks in the skin or mucous membranes, such as syphilis, disrupt barriers that provide protection against infections. The genital ulcers caused by syphilis can bleed easily, and when they come into contact with oral and rectal mucosa during sex, increase the infectiousness of and susceptibility to HIV. Having other STDs is also an important predictor for becoming HIV infected because STDs are a marker for behaviors associated with HIV transmission.

      • The premier health and medical research institution IN THE WORLD, is the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. No place else, anywhere, comes even close.

        Learn more at the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC)


        Trichomoniasis

        • Symptoms in females include greenish-yellow vaginal discharge with bad odor, frequent urination, inflammation of the genitals, and pain in the lower abdomen, with the possibility of other internal infections.

        • In males: mild discomfort in the penis, discharge, possibility of infections in the urethra and prostrate.

        • Trichomoniasis can hide out in your body for years, sometimes with no symptoms

        • You and your partner need to be treated so you don't continue to pass it back and forth.

        • Treatment is by prescription- Metronidazide - and is used for several parasitic-type infection/invasions.


          If you need medeical help, care or advice...

        • University Health Care Services

        • Private physician

          or:

        • Community Health Care facilities in your college town

          You can find:

          Family planning counseling and birth control

          Pregnancy testing and counseling

          Gynecological care, Pap tests, breast exams

          Emergency contraception

          HIV testing and counseling

          Medically accurate sexuality education

          Screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections

          Safer sex counseling

          Abortions or abortion referrals: Deciding to have an abortion is a decision that requires a lot of thought and soul searching.

          Prenatal care

          Adoption referrals

          Primary care

          Referrals for specialized care


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