Sexually Transmitted Diseases or STDs are infections which spread from person-to-person through sexual contact. This is one of those things which are metaphorically swept under the carpet, as it is taboo in our society to talk about sex. As sex or even talking about it is not encouraged, how can one talk about the diseases or infections spread through intercourse, especially in the case of women?
Many people don’t even realize that they probably have an STD.
When it comes to one’s sexual health, knowledge is power. So here is a list of common STDs in women that can be cured through treatment –
HPV (Human Papillomavirus) – It is the most common infection that nearly every sexually active person has at some point. Most types of HPV cause no harm to the body and gets rid on its own. But there are some that cause genital warts. It is spread from vaginal, anal, and even oral sex or even by skin-to-skin contact. CDC recommends three vaccines which are Cevarix, Gardasil and Gardasil for protection from HPV.
Chlamydia – This disease spreads by vaginal or anal sex, but some may get it from oral sex too. Symptoms of this infection are odd discharges from the vagina or pain while peeing. However only 25% of women experience these symptoms. It can be treated through antibiotics as it is spread by bacteria. It is recommended to get retested in three months after completion of the treatment.
Gonorrhoea – Another common bacterial infection (people often get it with Chlamydia). The symptoms too, are similar, but only 20% women get the symptoms. It can also be treated by antibiotics.
Syphilis – This is a tricky infection with four definite stages. In the first stage, the main symptom is a sore, which can sometimes look like a cut, an ingrown hair, or a bump. However, the next stage begins with rashes all over your body followed by sores in mouth, vagina or anus. Although, most of the time it disappears in later stages, sometimes it lasts for years or even the rest of a person’s life. In a study, it was recorded in very few it develops to the final stage if left untreated. It can even cause organ and nerve damages, even problems with the brain. This can treated through antibiotics.
Genital Herpes – Caused by viruses HSV-1 and HSV-2, the main symptom of this infection is painful blisters around vagina and anus. Sometimes, you may even get blisters inside your vagina or anus where you can’t see or feel them. Herpes can be caught by skin-to-skin contact even if you’re wearing a condom. Since it is a virus, it can’t be treated through medication but the symptoms can be controlled through it.
Trichomoniasis – This is cause by a tiny parasite that can cause itching, burning, or sore genitals. You might also observe smelly, clear, white, yellowish or even greenish discharge. It is also treated by antibiotics. It is recommended to get a retest within three months of treatment.
Chancroid – An infection caused by a bacteria Hemophilus ducreyi. It starts with a harmless bump in the vaginal area that begins to die and becomes a painful ulcer. It can be cured with medication.
Ectoparasitic Infection – This is caused by pubic lice or scabies and can be transmitted through sexual contact. Symptoms are itching and rashes on the genital area. It can be treated through medication.
However, some STD’s like Genital Herpes or HIV/AIDS cannot be cured because they are caused by a virus. In the case of Genital Herpes you can control it through medication, HIV/AIDS is a deadly virus that can destroy your immune system. HIV/AIDS can be passed through blood, semen, vaginal fluids and even breast milk. To prevent this it is advised to have safe sex i.e. use condoms and to never share needle.
HIV can’t be transmitted from saliva or skin-to-skin touch - these are some common myths associated with it.
Symptoms of HIV infections are indefinite. The only way to be sure is to get a blood test done.
Have safe sex i.e. always use condoms while having sex and once used dispose it safely.
If you have multiple partners, ensure that you get yourself tested periodically, and so does your partner.
One of the most important thing is to discuss with your partners their sexual and STD history before having sex.
It is conventionally considered more hygienic and safe, if anal sex is followed by vaginal. If anal sex occurs first, change the condom before you have vaginal sex.