Std’sSexually Transmitted Diseases
Sex is a popular subject; it is on television, in advertisements, in magazines, and practically everywhere. One very serious side effect of an increase of sexual activity is the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. They affect more than twelve million Americans each year. Sexually transmitted diseases are becoming common and widely spread throughout Americans because of unprotected sex, permiscuity, and multiple sex partners. Some of the most commonly found sexually transmitted diseases are gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV/AIDS, and syphilis.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are six hundred-fifty thousand new infections of gonorrhea in the United States each year. (Ultimate Guide: Gonorrhea par.2) Gonorrhea is a very common bacterial sexually transmitted disease. Gonorrhea is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and is also one of the oldest known human diseases. In the second century A.D., the Greek physician Galer first gave it the name Gonorrhea, which means, “flow of seed” in Greek, as the discharge from the penis (actually pus) was thought to be semen. (Jackson 68)
Gonorrhea can be transmitted by vaginal, anal, or oral sex. According to James K. Jackson, men often will have a burning discomfort at the tip of the penis during urination and a discharge of pus from the urethal opening, after being contaminated with gonorrhea. In women symptoms usually include increased vaginal discharge, painful or difficult urination, pain during or following intercourse, and bleeding between periods. (Ultimate Guide: Gonorrhea par.4) Gonorrhea can be easily detected by urine, or by taking tissue samples from the infected area. Gonorrhea can be cured, by simply taking some antibiotics.
Chlamydia is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted disease in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are three million new infections in the United each year. (Ultimate Guide: Chlamydia par.2) Chlamydia is a bacterial sexually transmitted disease. This organism, a very small bacterium, gets its name from the Greek word chlamys, meaning, “cloak.” It must cloak itself inside a cell to multiply. The infection is often persistent and relatively silent for long periods, because the cell provides camouflage for the germ. (Jackson 73)
Chlamydia is mainly transmitted through anal and vaginal sex with an infected partner. It is also possible, but not very common to spread chlamydia through oral sex. Another way it can be transmitted is from an infected mother to her newborn child during birth. People can get eye infections from chlamydia if an infected bodily fluid reaches the eye during sex. (Ultimate Guide: Chlamydia par.3) Symptoms of the infection appear in seven to twenty-one days. Chlamydia, often called the silent sexually transmitted disease, does not show any symptoms at all. Symptoms can include abnormal fluid discharge from the penis or vagina, pain or burning during urination, testicular pain, vaginal bleeding, bleeding after or pain during intercourse, rectal inflammation, rectal discharge, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. (Ultimate Guide: Chlamydia par.4) In women, if chlamydia is left untreated it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility. (Dudley 6) In men, chlamydia can inflame the testicles and cause the testicle to vas deferens. This inflammation can result in infertility. (WebMD: Facts of Chlamydia par.5) Testing for chlamydia can be done with a urine test or by collecting a sample of tissue from the vagina, cervix, or urethra. (Ultimate Guide: Chlamydia par. 7) Chlamydia can be treated by antibiotics to cure the infection. (Jackson 75)
In 1997 alone, HIV/AIDS associated illnesses caused the deaths of approximately two point five million people worldwide. (WebMD: HIV/AIDS par.2) A recent issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) offered the following comment: “ Any maypole erected today ought to be covered with a condom.
That is the conclusion one might well reach after talking with physicians
And others concerned with expression of sexuality… Sheathing the
Ancient fertility symbol would negate its raison d’e^tre, but it
Would surely focus attention on the horrific truth that the male member
May now convey the seeds of death as well as life.”
HIV/AIDS can be contracted through anal, oral, or vaginal intercourse. These diseases can also be contracted through the use of “dirty” needles. (Ultimate Guide:HIV/AIDS par1) HIV, human immunodefiency virus, is the virus that causes aids(acquired immune defiency syndrome). HIV attacks the immune system, which is the body’s defense against disease. This makes the person very susceptible to infections, and in most cases eventually leads to death. (Ultimate Guide:HIV/AIDS par.3)
Within the first two weeks of exposure to HIV, some people experience symptoms that resemble mononucleosis or influenza. After another week or two, the symptoms go away, and generally the infected person feels well. It generally is years later that the weakened immune system can no longer protect against opportunistic infections, and other symptoms begin to develop. (Jackson:31) James K. Jackson states that, if you develop any of the following symptoms or signs, and they persist for more than two weeks you should consult with a health care practitioner for an evaluation; fatigue or tiredness, nightly sweats, chills, or fever, an unexplained weight loss of more than fifteen pounds, swelling of lymph nodes of the neck, arm pits, or groin, persistent sore throat or white patches in mouth or throat, bleeding from any part of the body for an unknown reason or bruising easily, continuos diarrhea, unexplained new pink, brown, or purple spots on the skin. HIV is complex, due to the virus’ ability to mutate away from the drugs used to treat it. Some drugs, called reverse transcriptase inhibitors, slow the replication of the virus. Other drugs, called protease inhibitors, hinder HIV’s protease enzyme, which the virus uses to replicate. (Ultimate Guide: HIV/AIDS par. 8) Although these drugs slow the disease, there is yet to be a cure found.
An estimated 70,000 cases of syphilis occur each year in the United States. (WebMD par. 9) Syphilis is a bacterial sexually transmitted disease that initially causes painless sores, but if left untreated it can cause mental disturbances and death. (Ultimate Guide: Syphilis par.1) Syphilis is caused by a spirochete, a corkscrew-shaped bacterium called Treponema pallidum. (Jackson 77) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hopes to eliminate syphilis in the United States by the year 2005. (Ultimate Guide: Syphilis par. 2)
Syphilis is one of the few sexually transmitted diseases that can be contracted through kissing. (WebMD par. 9) Syphilis is spread through oral, anal, and vaginal sex, and through kissing. It can also be spread from mother to baby. Syphilis passes easily through mucous membranes, such as the anus, mouth, the opening of the penis, and the vaginal opening. Contact with infectious lesions is the primary mode of transmission. (Ultimate Guide: Syphilis par. 3) Although most people with syphilis have symptoms, few people recognize them. Syphilis moves in stages. The typical stages are primary, secondary, and tertiary. Stages where no symptoms are present are called latent stages, can occur at various times during the infection, or not at all. (Ultimate Guide: Syphilis par. 4) The primary stage of syphilis is the most infectious stage of the disease. The main indicator of primary syphilis is the presence of the painless sores o lesions. These sores will eventually go away on their own, but the syphilis infection will remain. (Jackson 77) The secondary stage is characterized by the presence of body rashes and mucous membrane lesions. Other symptoms include mild fever, the loss of hair, swollen glands, sore throat, headache and body aches. (Ultimate Guide: Syphilis par. 4) A run-down feeling is another common symptom in secondary syphilis. (WebMD par. 9) The symptoms go away, the infection will remain unless the person is treated. (Ultimate Guide: Syphilis par. 4) The tertiary syphilis is also called the late stage. While some people have no symptoms, many do show signs of the disease. Signs of late syphilis include central nervous system damage, syphilitic meningitis, bladder problems, spinal cord damage, blindness, paralysis, liver damage, persistent vomiting, heart damage and severe mental disturbances. (Jackson 77) There are three main ways to test for syphilis: blood samples, dark field examinations, and spinal fluid exams. Penicillin is the preferred treatment for syphilis. Dosages vary according to the stage of the disease. Untreated syphilis can result in death. (Ultimate Guide: Syphilis par. 4)
Of the top eleven reportable diseases in the United States in 1196, five of the eleven are transmitted sexually. (chlamydial infection, gonorrhea, AIDS, syphilis, and hepatitis B) (WebMD: General STD’s par.2) Although many sexually transmitted diseases curable, the only true cure for this epidemic is abstinence. Even some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases can easily be avoided by having “safe sex”,and limiting your sex partners. With a society crazed with sex it is still possible to avoid it.