Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have reached an all-time high and that is a good enough reason to get tested for a number of these infections. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there was a 6 percent increase in diagnosed cases of chlamydia and a 13 percent increase in Gonorrhea from 2014 to 2015.
The number of people infected with sexually transmitted diseases are much higher than is reported because a lot of people don’t even know they have any disease because most do not show any symptoms which is why Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are often called a ‘silent epidemic’.
What this means is that you or your partner can actually be infected and neither of you will know it. Here are four common infections you may already have and why you should get tested for them today. STDs that might have already snuck up on you, and what you should do about it.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
This is a group of viruses that have about 150 types which are major causes of sexually transmitted infections. There are two main types of risks caused by HPV; low risk, which usually only cause genital warts, and high risk, which can lead to penile, anal, and cancers. Both low and high risk HPV can be transmitted through Skin-to-skin contact during sex, intercourse and oral sex.
Condoms can help to reduce the risk of contracting HPV which doesn’t usually have any visible symptoms. A lot of HPV strains don’t however cause warts and when they do, they’re very tiny.
There is presently no recommended tests for the detection of HPV in men. It can however be treated through removal of the lesions. The warts may however reoccur which can still lead to a spread of the infection.
HPV vaccination is also available and it is recommended for men. Wearing condoms is very important in reducing the risks of transmission.
Chlamydia is another type of bacteria spread by unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Condoms are also widely effective against chlamydia. For oral sex, dental dams should be employed by men to reduce risk of exposure.
Chlamydia usually has no noticeable symptoms in women or men but a common sign of infection in men is a penile discharge or burning sensation during urination which occurs a week after exposure.
Untreated chlamydia in men can cause scarring in the urethra which may make it very difficult to pee and may even require surgery in very severe cases. Chlamydia can be effectively treated with antibiotics.
Gonorrhea is a bacterial illness that is transmitted through oral, anal or Vagina sex. It will usually result in an infection that affects the throat, rectum or genitals. Condoms are about 98 percent effective in preventing the transmission of the Gonorrhea bacteria and should be used as a Preventive measure.
Most women will usually not know they have a gonorrhea infection because they don’t show signs of gonorrhea most times and they do, the signs are usually mild and similar to those of a mild infection of the bladder. Men also won’t know if they have the infection if it occurs in the rectum or throat. If it occurs in the penis however, there is usually a yellowish or greenish discharge usually accompanied with a burning sensation during urination. There may also be testicular pain in some men, though it is fairly uncommon. Most symptoms will occur between 3 to 5 days after an exposure.
Untreated Gonorrhea can cause inflammation of the testicles- a condition known as Epididymitis, which may result in infertility. It is recommended that men undergo annual screenings and know the risk factors including how often you change sex partners.
Gonorrhea can usually be cured with antibiotics but some resistant strains have recently being identified. As such, it is best to have your doctor follow up after being treated to ensure that all of the bacteria has been destroyed.
Herpes which is also known as genital herpes is caused by two viruses; Herpes simplex type 1 (HSV1), which usually affects the mouth as sores and blisters, and herpes simplex type 2 (HSV2), which mainly targets the genitals. Genital herpes is usually spread to the mouth through kissing and oral herpes through sexual contact to the genitals. The herpes virus can nonetheless be spread whether both partners Show any signs or not.
Condoms offer up to 75 percent protection against the transmission of herpes because the virus can actually live and survive on areas of the skin which is not covered by the latex material of the condom.
A high percentage of infected people show no symptoms. Noticeable signs may however include blisters or ulcers on the genitals, or an itchy or burning sensation. A first infection may cause some patients to develop swollen lymph nodes, fevers, fatigue and headaches.
Suspicious sores should be checked by a doctor who will recommend the appropriate antiviral drugs to ease your symptoms. You should however note there is no cure for herpes and the drugs only alleviate the symptoms.