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STDs: types, testing and how to avoid getting an STD

Sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea or AIDS, can occur when having sex without a condom, either through intimate vaginal, anal or oral contact. However, the chances of infection increase when you have several partners in the same period. These diseases affect men and women of all ages.

Generally, these infections can cause symptoms that affect the genitals such as pain, redness, small wounds, discharge, swelling, difficulty urinating or pain during intimate contact, and to identify the correct disease, it is necessary to go to a gynecologist or urologist to do specific tests.

Treatment is usually done with the use of antibiotics or antifungals in the form of pills or ointments and are prescribed by a doctor. Since most STDs have a cure, with the exception of AIDS and herpes. Below you will find the symptoms and treatment forms of all STDs, also called sexually transmitted infections or STIs or venereal diseases.

1. Chlamydia

STDs: types, testing and how to avoid getting an STD

Chlamydia can cause symptoms such as a yellow and thick discharge, redness in the genitals, pain in the pelvis and during intimate contact, but in many cases the disease does not cause symptoms and the infection goes unnoticed.

The disease, which is caused by a bacterium, can be caused by unprotected intimate contact or through the sharing of sex toys, for example.

How to treat: Usually, the treatment is done with antibiotics like Azithromycin or Doxycycline.

2. Gonorrhea

STDs: types, testing and how to avoid getting an STD

Gonorrhea is a disease caused by bacteria, which can occur in men and women and is transmitted by unprotected intimate contact or by sharing sex toys.

The bacteria can cause pain when urinating, pus-like yellow discharge, vaginal bleeding outside of menstruation, abdominal pain, red spots in the mouth or pain during intimate contact, for example.

How to treat: Treatment should be done with the use of Ceftriaxone and Azithromycin and, if not done, may affect the joints and blood and may be life-threatening. See other treatments that can strengthen your immune system with Echinacea tea, which can help treat the infection.

3. HPV - Genital warts

STDs: types, testing and how to avoid getting an STD

This infection is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which leads to the growth of lesions on the genitals skin, it affects men and women alike. They may have a soft or rough texture, color varies with skin tone and do not cause pain but are contagious.

How to treat: Genital warts have no cure because the HPV virus remains dormant in the body, but there is treatment. The treatment consists in applying ointments such as Aldara or Wartec on warts. The outbreak can arise due to excessive alcohol consumption, high fatigue and stress, for example.

4. Genital herpes

STDs: types, testing and how to avoid getting an STD

Genital herpes is an easily transmitted disease caused by a cold sore virus and causes small red spots on the skin very close to each other, containing a virus-rich, yellowish-colored liquid with redness around it that causes itching, affecting mainly the thighs, anus and genitals. They can also cause fever and pain when urinating and discharge in women. Find out all the symptoms genital herpes can cause.

How to treat: Treatment should be done with medication such as Acyclovir, Valaciclovir or Famciclovir, helping to reduce the discomfort caused by the symptoms, as the infection has no cure and symptoms can take up to 20 days to disappear. Get to know other natural strategies to complement the treatment of genital herpes.

5. Trichomoniasis

STDs: types, testing and how to avoid getting an STD

Tichomoniasis is caused by a parasite that causes symptoms such as greyish or yellowish-green discharge and frothy with strong and unpleasant bad odor. It can also cause redness, intense itching and swelling of the genitals.

Infection is uncommon and can also be spread by sharing wet towels, bathing or using a jacuzzi and treatment is done by taking Metronidazole.

How to treat: usually the treatment of this infection is done with the use of antibiotics, like Metronidazole or Tioconazol, for 5 to 7 days. If treatment is not done, there is a greater chance of developing other infections, having a preterm birth or developing prostatitis.

6. Syphilis

STDs: types, testing and how to avoid getting an STD

Syphilis is a disease that causes wounds and red spots on the hands and feet that do not bleed or cause pain. This disease can also cause blindness, paralysis and heart problems. The transmission is done by transfusion of contaminated blood and by sharing syringes or needles and, the first symptoms appear between 3 and 12 weeks after the contact. See more syphilis symptoms.

How to treat: The treatment is done with medication like Penicillin G or erythromycin and when done correctly there are chances of cure.

7. AIDS

STDs: types, testing and how to avoid getting an STD

AIDS causes symptoms such as fever, sweating, headache, sensitivity to light, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea and the disease has no cure, only treatment to decrease symptoms and increase time and quality of life.

How to treat: Treatment is done with antiretroviral drugs, such as Zidovudine or Lamivudine, for example, which are provided free of charge by the government. These drugs fight the virus and strengthen the immune system, but do not cure the disease.

How to know if you are infected with and STD or STI

The diagnosis of a sexually transmitted diseases can be made based on the symptoms and by observing the genitals, being confirmed through examinations, such as the pap smear and the Schiller test, for example.

Your doctor may order a blood test to check the cause of the disease and indicate the most appropriate treatment.

When do you need to repeat the exams

When a woman or man have been infected by a sexually transmitted disease, the doctor recommends having a physical examination at least every 6 months for about 2 years, until the result of 3 consecutive tests is negative.

During the treatment phase it may be necessary to go to the doctor several times a month to adjust the treatment and cure the disease, if it is at all possible.

Ways of STD infections

STDs, in addition to being transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, may be transmitted:

  • From mother to child through blood during pregnancy, through breastfeeding or during childbirth;
  • Syringe sharing;
  • Sharing of personal objects, such as towels;

In some cases, although very rare, the development of the disease can occur through blood transfusion.

How not to be infected with an STD?

The best way to avoid getting contaminated is by using condoms in all relationships, in intimate vaginal, anal and oral contact, as contact with secretions or with the skin can transmit the disease. However, it is crucial to put condoms properly before any contact.

What happens if you don't receive treatment?

When STDs are not treated correctly, more serious problems can arise such as uterine cancer, infertility, heart problems, meningitis, abortion, or malformations of the fetus.

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