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Health and Fitness

How to Know You have an STD

Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STD), are those diseases that are transmitted from one carrier to another individual through sexual activity. In the case of sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), most carriers are not symptomatic but carriers of STDs are usually symptomatic even if the symptoms are not serious. If left untreated, most sexually transmitted diseases become life-threatening, causing issues like respiratory issues, heart problems and cancers of the vulva, cervix, anus and vagina.

In cases where there are no symptoms, Sexually Transmitted Diseases can easily be transferred to one’s partner without their knowledge. Common STD infections are Herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores in the mouth and genitals of infected individuals, Human papilloma virus that causes warts on the genitals and other parts of the body. Some STDs also cause unpleasant smelly discharge from the reproductive organs as well as swelling, irritation, loose stool, weight loss and more.

Types of STDs and symptoms

There are many types of STDs, but we would look at some of the most common ones and the symptoms that they cause;

Chlamydia

This type of STD is more common in the United States, and it is caused by bacteria. In the early stages of infection, it is asymptomatic, then later on the following symptoms occur;

  • Yellowish or sometimes greenish fluid from penis or Vagina. If left untreated, it develops into testicular, urethraorprostate gland infection
  • Serious pain during urinating or sex, If left untreated it can develop into pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Lower abdominal region pain. If left untreated it could cause impotency.

Babies can be infected through their mother and they would suffer either blindness, pneumonia or infections of the eye.

Treatment

Use of antibiotics.

Herpes Simplex Virus

HSV is categorised into 2 major types: HSV-1 and HSV-2. It is a very common STD that infects 1 out of every 6 persons in there 20’s, 30’s and 40s. HSV-1 causes mainly cold sores in the mouth while HSV-2 causes infection on the genitals of individuals.

Herpes simplex virus generally causes sores that have the look of a blister. In HSV-1, this blistery sore occur round the mouth while, in HSV-2 the same blistery sours occur on the genitals. After the sore blister dries up and goes usually after 2 weeks, it may re-occur periodically in the later future but in a milder version.

Congenital Herpes

This is when an expectant mother who is infected with herpes, infects her foetus or new born. This can endanger the life of the baby so it is essential that pregnant women always go for regular medical check-ups.

Treatment

Though there isn’t any cure for herpes but there are medications you can take to reduce or stop the occurrence of herpes sores.

HIV

HIV means Human Immunodeficiency Virus and rightly called so because it’s a virus that attacks and weakens the immune system there by making it unable to defend the body against other infections. In the past, it was one of the most deadly diseases because of how if left untreated, it developed into the dreaded AIDS. But with the introduction of Anti-retroviral drugs, people living with HIV can leave to a fruitful old age. There are even situations where AIDS patients who took their ARVs religiously got healthy again.

In the early stages, HIV has the same symptoms of common flu, which are chills, allergic reaction, high temperature, sore throat, rashes, chills, fever and nausea.

Treatment

For now, there is no confirmed drug used to cure HIV, but there are drugs called ARVs which are used to control the virus and prevent them from attacking the immune system. If you are sexually active, you should take an HIV test at least once a year. Taking ARV would reduce your viral load levels to a point where you won’t be able to transmit it to a partner. You could always have a private STD check at your nearest sexual health clinic.

It is also vital that a person living with HIV should monitor their CD4 count.  CD4 count is basically the strength of the immune system. The higher the CD4 count, the better and the lower the Viral Load and the better because the viral load is the level of HIV in the body.

When is testing necessary?

Because of the camouflaging nature of most sexually transmitted diseases, it’s necessary to get tested at least once in 6 months. In situations where you had unprotected sex with someone you just met, it is essential that you go for testing immediately. If you suspect HIV, you should get tested 3 months after the sexual activity.

Testing Procedure

Once you have filled the necessary information at the medical Laboratory, the medical officer would take a swab or draw a blood sample for analysis. Some STDs like gonorrhoea are tested by analysing urine sample. After confirmation, you would be administered treatment depending on the nature of the STD.

If you find yourself battling with an STD, be rest assured that it isn’t a death sentence and the earlier you seek treatment, the better.

If you are residing in London, visit this website to get tested for STDs and also for treatment.

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