What are sexually transmitted diseases?
It is known that more than 30 different bacteria, viruses and parasites are transmitted through sexual contact. Although 8 of these factors are seen at the highest rate, four of them can be treated today. Sexually transmitted diseases that can be treated: Syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. The 4 most common sexually transmitted diseases are; hepatitis B, herpes simplex, HIV (AIDS) and HPV cannot be cured completely.
STIs (sexually transmitted infections) are predominantly spread by sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Some STIs can also be spread non-sexually, such as blood or blood products. Many STIs, including syphilis, hepatitis B, HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and HPV, can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth.
According to the data of the World Health Organization, one million sexually transmitted diseases occur every day. It is estimated that more than 500 million people have genital infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). More than 290 million women have human papillomavirus (HPV) infections.
Sexually transmitted diseases in women
The main symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases in women:
- vaginal itching,
- abnormal discharge,
- pain during sexual intercourse,
- rashes or lesions in the genital area or skin.
Many STDs do not cause any symptoms. If left untreated, sexually transmitted diseases can lead to infertility and cervical cancer. These risks make the issue of safe sex more important.
Some of the sexually transmitted diseases have no symptoms, increasing the risk of transmission. In this case, the patient cannot receive treatment.
The most common sexually transmitted diseases in women:
- HPV(human papilloma virus): It is transmitted through skin contact during sexual intercourse. There are more than 100 species, but a few of them are carcinogenic. HPV can also cause an infection in the mouth and throat. It causes warts in the genital area or throat. HPV does not always give symptoms and can resolve spontaneously. HPV is the most important cause of cervical cancer. It can be prevented by vaccination.
- Neisseria gonorrhoeae(gonorrhea), Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection is caused by bacteria. It tends to infect warm, moist areas of the body. These include: Urethra (the tube that drains urine from the bladder), eyes, throat, vagina, anus, female reproductive tract (fallopian tubes, cervix and uterus). Gonorrhea is passed from person to person through unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex. People who have many sexual partners or who do not use condoms are at greatest risk of infection. Symptoms of the disease appear within 14 days after exposure. The disease can progress without any symptoms. The most common symptoms in women are:
vaginal discharge (watery, creamy or slightly green)
pain or burning sensation when urinating,
the need to urinate more often,
– Prolonged menstrual bleeding or intermittent spotting,
– throat ache,
pain during sexual intercourse,
– sharp pain in the lower abdomen,
– fire. If the disease is not treated, it can cause PID (Pelvic inflammatory disease). Gonorrhea can cause infertility and ectopic pregnancy. Gonorrhea treatment is done with antibiotics.
- Chlamydia: It is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the chlamydia bacteria. It may not show any symptoms in the early stages. Skin contact to the genital area, even touching the genitals with a hand is enough to spread the disease. Full sexual intercourse does not have to occur. Newborn babies can get chlamydia infection from their mothers during birth. Chlamydia can also infect the eye. Symptoms of chlamydia infection in women: Painful sexual intercourse, vaginal discharge, burning sensation while urinating, pain in the lower abdomen, cervical inflammation (cervicitis), bleeding between menstrual periods. Chlamydia infection can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women. If oral sex is given, it can also infect the throat. Chlamydia infection can be treated with antibiotics.
- Genital herpes: Itis made by herpes virus type 2. Painful, water-filled blisters occur in the genital area. The virus enters the body through skin cracks and scratches. Virus can be found in saliva, semen and vaginal secretions. Symptoms of the disease are water-filled lesions in the vagina, anus and buttocks. The lymph nodes in the close area may swell and there may be fever. Genital herpes can be transmitted to the baby during normal birth. It can cause blindness, brain damage and death in babies. Antiviral drugs are used in its treatment.
- Frengi (sfiliz) Sifiliz:It is made by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. It is a potentially serious infection, early treatment is required to prevent permanent damage and long-term complications. In the first stage, a round, hard sore can usually be felt around the genitals, anus, rectum or mouth. This may continue for 3-6 weeks. There may be no pain. In the second stage, the following symptoms are observed: Hard, brownish or red rash on the hands or soles, lesions in organs such as mouth, vagina or anus, swollen lymph nodes, hair loss, headache, weight loss, muscle aches, fatigue, fever. In the third stage, life-threatening complications can affect the brain, nervous system, eyes, heart, and some other organs. Symptoms at this stage will depend on which part of the body syphilis is affecting.
- Scabies:It causes acne-like itchy lesions anywhere on the body. It can be transmitted sexually, by skin contact, through items such as towels and bedding. Scabies treatment is done through effective creams.
- Molluscum contagiosum: Molluscum contagiosum is an infectious viral skin infection that is usually benign. It can affect adults and children. It is common in children. Its occurrence in adults makes us think of sexual transmission. It is transmitted by skin contact during sex. There are small wart-like blisters on the skin.
- HIV(AIDS) : HIV is a virus that crashes the immune system. Therefore, a person with HIV is also susceptible to other infections. When a person has HIV, the virus is found in body fluids, including semen, blood, breast milk, and vaginal and rectal fluids. If these fluids get into another person’s body, that person can also develop HIV. HIV is passed from mother to baby during birth. HIV can also be transmitted through breastfeeding, using joint needles, and blood products. The way to prevent sexual transmission is to use a condom.
- Hepatitis B: It can be transmitted both sexually and through blood products, common needles. Hepatitis B can be passed from mother to baby. It is a chronic infection that affects the liver. There is no cure. It can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer.
The most common sexually transmitted diseases in men
Sexually transmitted diseases in women are also seen in men. The symptoms seen in men with these infections are as follows:
- Chlamydia: Symptoms include pain when urinating, pain in the lower abdomen and penile discharge.
- Genital Hepes (cold sores): Symptoms are itching and pain, small fluid-filled or red-colored bumps and ulcers. These ulcers eventually crust over.
- HPV:Symptoms cauliflower-shaped warts and itching around the penis
- Gonorrhea:Symptoms include burning during urination, yellow or green discharge, and pain in the testicles.
- HIV:Symptoms include fever, rash, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. Symptoms worsen as the disease progresses.
- Trichomoniasis:Symptoms are rare in men, but include penile itching, painful urination, and penile discharge.
How can sexually transmitted diseases be prevented?
Safe sex is the way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The only choice of sexual partner is protective. Using condoms during sex can prevent some infections. Hepatitis B and HPV can be prevented by vaccination.