Know your friendly STIs

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Bacterial STIs
Infections treatable with antibiotics.

Chlamydia
The most common STI, infecting a believed one per cent of sexually active people under the age of 25.

Symptoms usually appear one to three weeks after infection, though for women, no symptoms may at first appear. Later, symptoms may include itching around vagina, a yellow, odourless discharge from vagina, pain during sex and frequent need to urinate and pain when urinating, pain in the pelvic area and bleeding between periods.

Spytoms for men may include pain when urinating and a watery, milk-coloured discharge from the penis.

Gonorrhea
Doesn’t cause symptoms in most women, though some may experience yellow, green or white discharge from the vagina, pain when urinating, spotting between periods and heavy bleeding during periods. If left untreated, it can affect a female’s fertility.

Men may experience a thick, yellow discharge from the penis and pain when urinating, if any symptoms appear at all.

Can cause sore throats if contracted through oral sex and pain in the anus if contracted through anal sex.

Syphilis
First appears as a chancre (a painless, red sore) 10-90 days after initial exposure. Sores may appear from direct contact with skin, including on the genitals, anus, tongue and throat. Swelling of glands near chancre may occur, and possibly followed in a few months by fever, sore throat and headache, loss of appetite, joint pain and a scaly rash on the palms of hands and soles of feet. Once these symptoms have passed, usually within four to six weeks, there may be no further symptoms for years. When symptoms return, the infection can affect the brain, eyes, spinal cord, skin and bones.

Viral Infections
Are not as easily treatable as bacterial infections, but there are vaccines to help prevent and treat, though not cure, some of these infections.

Hepatitis B
Is known to affect the liver and can be fatal if left untreated, leading to liver failure or liver cancer.

Symptoms may include fever, tiredness, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite and dizziness. Later, it may lead to dark urine, loose and light-coloured stool, yellowing of eyes and skin (jaundice) and tenderness around the liver.

Herpes
Most common in women, with approximately one out of four women infected, than men, who are almost one out of eight.

First signs are tingling or itching around genitals. Small blisters may then appear and open in the area. If this happens, you will feel pain, especially when urinating. Sores then turn to scabs.

Herpes appears in outbreaks. During first outbreak, obvious symptoms are swollen glands, fever and body aches, though not everyone experiences this. Outbreak may occur throughout life, though they usually become less frequent and less painful over time.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). AIDS attacks your body’s immune system, weakening its ability to fight off diseases. Symptoms may take years to develop, but the earliest signs include unusual infections, unexplained fatigue, night sweats and weight loss.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV causes the growth of soft, painless and flesh-coloured warts around the genitals or the cervix areas. Sometimes these warts are so small they cannot be seen by the naked eye.

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