One thing that most people never want to think about is getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and that is probably the main reason why they are still so prevalent despite the fact that there are a number of simple methods of avoiding them. STDs are not all life-threatening (although some are). Most are easily treatable and even curable. But in order to get the proper medication to deal with these diseases, you first need to know how to spot them. Here are a few of the most common STDs and the telltale indicators that will help you to identify them.
1. HPV. Although you may not have heard of human papillomavirus before a few years ago (when the vaccine appeared), it is, in fact, the most common STD and there are over 40 strains. The most easily identifiable sign of the disease is genital warts, but other symptoms such as cervical and genital cancers are possible and difficult to spot until they have become advanced. In most cases (about 90%) the virus will go away on its own. But the best way to avoid this disease is to get the vaccine before exposure. There is no cure for this virus, but several treatment options are available.
2. Genital Herpes. One of the most common STD, genital herpes affects an estimated one in five Americans with about half a million to a million new cases reported each year. This is largely due to the fact that it can be contracted through direct contact even when there appear to be no symptoms present (it is often passed through sexual intercourse, but can also be transferred from mothers to their infants during childbirth). The most obvious symptom of this disease appears in the form of painful blisters around the genitalia or the mouth. Sadly, herpes is incurable, but flare ups can be treated and even prevented through oral and topical medications (although this provides no guarantee that the disease will not be spread).
3. Chlamydia. The most commonly reported bacterial infection in the U.S. (according to the Center for Disease Control), chlamydia affects the urinary tract and reproductive organs and can lead to more serious disorders (non-gonococcal-urethritis, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, arthritis, and eye infection) if not treated. It often makes itself known through a combination of symptoms including abdominal pain, pain during sex or urination, fever, itching, burning and white or greenish discharge. However, there may be no symptoms at all, so regular check-ups are advised if you participate in unprotected intercourse. Luckily, it can be cured with antibiotics.
4. Gonorrhea. More commonly known as the clap, this bacterial infection is most often spread through intercourse, but can be passed through even minimal contact (with genitalia). As with chlamydia, there may be no symptoms, but if you do show signs, they will likely occur within just a few days of infection and may include painful urination, white, yellow, or green discharge, genital soreness, swollen glands, and a sore throat. This common disease can be cured with antibiotics and it is often accompanied by chlamydia, so you may want to treat for both as well as having your partner treated. Even if you are cured you can become infected again and again.
5. Syphilis. Yet another bacterial infection, syphilis is much more dangerous than the others because of how it progresses. Early symptoms include painless open sores around the genitals and mouth that generally disappear within a few days. Weeks or months later, the disease will produce a rash and possibly attendant symptoms such as sore throat, swollen glands, headache, and weight loss. The full course of symptoms may take years to develop and the final stages can include damage to the brain, heart, nerves, bones, joints, and liver as well as dementia, paralysis, and even death. Of course, later symptoms can be easily avoided by treating with penicillin (or other antibiotics).