Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Syphilis

What are chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis?

Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and syphilis are sexually transmitted infections (STI). These three STIs can cause serious long term complications if they are not treated on time especially for teenagers and young women.

What causes gonorrhea and chlamydia?

Both gonorrhea and chlamydia are caused by bacteria. The bacteria passed from one person to another person through vaginal, anal or oral sex. Gonorrhea and chlamydia often occur together.

Where do these infections occur?

Gonorrhea and chlamydia infections can occur in the mouth, urethra, reproductive organs and rectum. In women, the most common place is the cervix (the opening of the uterus).

At what age do these infections most commonly occur?

Although chlamydia and gonorrhea can occur at any age, young women and teenagers who are sexually active are at greater risk of both infections.

What are the symptoms of gonorrhea and chlamydia?

Women with chlamydia or gonorrhea often have no symptoms. When symptoms from either of the infection do occur, they may show up couple days to 3 weeks after infection. They may be very mild and can also be mistaken for a urinary tract or vaginal infection. The most common symptoms in women include the following:

  • A yellow vaginal discharge
  • Painful or frequent urination
  • Rectal bleeding, discharge, or pain
  • Vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods

How are gonorrhea and chlamydia diagnosed?

To find out if you have gonorrhea or chlamydia, your health care professional may take a sample of cells from your throat, cervix, then urethra, or rectum where the infection may occur. Gonorrhea and chlamydia can be detected by doing a urine test.

What are the complications of infection with gonorrhea and chlamydia?
Both gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection that occurs when bacteria move from the vagina into cervix upward to the uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes. After a woman is infected with gonorrhea or chlamydia and if she does not receive treatment, it can take anywhere from days to few weeks before developing PID.

How is infection with gonorrhea and chlamydia treated?
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea both are treated with antibiotics. You will need to be retested 3 months after treatment to see if the infection is completely gone.

What causes syphilis?

Syphilis is caused by bacteria. It differs from gonorrhea and chlamydia because it occurs in different stages. It is spread more easily in some stages than in others.

How is syphilis spread?

The bacteria that because syphilis enter the body through a cut in the skin or through contact with a sore from syphilis known as a chancre. Because this sore commonly occurs on the vulva, vagina, anus, or penis, syphilis most often is spread through sexual contact. It can be spread by touching the, warts, rash or infected blood during the secondary stage of infection.

What are symptoms of syphilis?
Symptoms of syphilis differ by stage:

  • Primary stage—Syphilis will first appear as a painless chancre. This sore goes away without treatment anywhere between 3–6 weeks.
  • Secondary stage—The second stage begins as chancre which is healing or several weeks after the chancre has disappeared, when a rash might appear. The rash usually appears on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. Flat warts may also be seen on the vulva. During this stage, there might be flu-like symptoms. This stage is highly contagious.
  • Latent and late stages—The rash and other symptoms of syphilis will go away in a few weeks or months, but disease still is present in the body. If untreated, the disease may return in its more serious form years later.

How is syphilis diagnosed?

In the early stages of syphilis, discharge from open sores is examined to see if syphilis bacteria are present. In later stages, a blood test can be done to check for antibodies to the bacteria.

What are the complications of syphilis?

Late stage syphilis is a serious illness., neurologic problems, Heart problems and tumors may occur, leading to brain damage, paralysis, blindness, and even death. The genital sores caused by syphilis also make it easier to become infected with and can transmit human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

How is syphilis treated?

Syphilis is treated with antibiotics. If Syphilis is diagnosed and treated early, long-term complications can be prevented. The length of treatment will depend on how long a person has had the syphilis.

Can these STD’s be prevented?

You can take few steps to avoid getting chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis. These safeguards also help protect against other STIs:

  • By using a condom, both male and female condoms are sold over the counter in drug stores. They will help protect against STIs.
  • Limiting your sexual partners. With more sexual partners you have over a lifetime, the higher your risk of getting STIs.
  • Knowing your partner’s sexual history. And ask whether he or she has had STIs. Even if your partner has no symptoms, he or she still may be infected.
  • Avoiding contact with any sores on the genitals.

Genital Herpes

What is genital herpes?

Genital herpes is a (STI) sexually transmitted infection which is caused by a virus called (HSV) herpes simplex virus. Infection with HSV can cause painful blisters and sores around the lips, genitals, or anus. Sometimes, infection with HSV causes no sores. It is possible to have HSV and not know it. There is no cure yet, but the infection can be managed for some extent.

Is there more than one virus that can cause genital herpes?

HSV are two types that can cause genital herpes, HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV 2 is the most common cause of genital herpes. HSV-1 usually causes cold sores that appear on the lips, mouth, and eyes, but it is becoming more common especially in young women.as a cause of genital herpes

How common is the herpes virus?

About one in six adults, At least 50 million people in the United States are infected with HSV. Genital herpes is more common in women than in men.

How does infection with the herpes virus occur?

HSV is spread usually through direct contact with herpes sores, usually during oral, vaginal or anal sex. HSV can be present on the skin even if there are no sores. If a person comes into contact with the virus on an infected person’s skin, he or she can become infected from that.

After a person is first infected, HSV stays in the body and It travels to nerve cells near the spine and stays there until something triggers HSV to become active again. When this happens, the virus then travels along the nerves, back to where it first entered the body then causes a new outbreak of sores and blisters which is called as recurrence. The virus can be passed to others during a recurrence period.

How long does it take after infection with herpes virus for symptoms to appear?

When a person is first infected with HSV, symptoms appear about 3–10 days after the virus enters the body.

What are the symptoms of first herpes outbreak?

At first, there may be flu like symptoms, such as fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches and nausea. Sores may appear as small, fluid-filled blisters on the buttocks, genitals or other areas. The sores often are grouped in clusters, and the areas where the sores appear may be tender and swollen. If sores are on the genitals, a burning feeling or stinging while urinating is common.

The first outbreak of genital herpes may last up to 2–4 weeks. During this time, the sores break open and release fluid. After few days, the sores will become crusted and then heal without leaving scars.

What are the symptoms of recurrent herpes outbreaks?

When an outbreak is about to happen again, there may be itching, burning or tingling near where the virus first entered the body. Pain may be felt in the buttocks, lower back, thighs, or knees. This is called a prodrome. A few hours later, sores may appear. In recurrent outbreaks, usually there is no fever or swelling in the genital area. Sores heal more quickly within 2–7 days in most cases. Recurrent outbreaks usually are less painful. Outbreaks usually are most frequent in the first year after infection. For most people, the number of outbreaks will decrease over time.

Are the symptoms of herpes virus infection the same for everyone?

No it’s not the same for everyone. Many people infected with HSV have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they will vary with each person. Some people have painful outbreaks with many sores and Others may have only mild symptoms that may go unnoticed.

How is genital herpes diagnosed?

To diagnose genital herpes Laboratory tests are needed. If sores are present, a fluid sample is taken from a sore. The sample is tested to see if it contains the HSV virus if so, what type of HSV. Blood tests can also be helpful if sores are not present. These tests detect antibodies that the body produces to fight the virus. Blood tests also can show the type of HSV.

How is genital herpes managed?

Antiviral medications which are taken during an outbreak can shorten the length and severity of the outbreak. suppressive therapy Is When taken on a daily basis, they can decrease the number of outbreaks.  In some cases, suppressive therapy can prevent outbreaks for a long time. It also reduces the risk of giving herpes to someone else.

How can I avoid passing the herpes virus to my sexual partners?
If you have genital herpes, you need to take steps to avoid spreading(passing) HSV to your sexual partners:

  • Tell your sexual partners that you have genital herpes. Even if your partners do not have sores, still they may want to be tested. The blood test for herpes can be done when there are no sores are present. You also should tell your future partners of before having sexual contact.
  • It is still possible to pass HSV to someone else even when you do not have sores. The virus can be present on skin that looks normal, including right before and after a outbreak. Using male latex condoms (or polyurethane for those who are allergic to latex) may reduce your risk of passing or getting HSV, but they do not provide complete protection against HSV. Areas of skin which have the virus but are not covered by the condom can still spread the infection. Suppressive therapy can reduce the risk of passing the infection to a partner.
  • Be alert to the prodromal symptoms that signal an outbreak coming. Avoid sexual contact from the time you feel these symptoms until a few days after the scabs have gone away. Wash your hands with soap and water after any contact with sores. This will keep you from reinjecting yourself or passing the virus to someone else.

People with HSV-2 infection have an increased risk of getting (HIV) human immunodeficiency virus if they have sex with a partner infected with HIV. Taking suppressive therapy does not lower this risk.

How can the herpes virus affect pregnancy?

If a woman is pregnant infected with HSV, it can be passed to the fetus during birth through the woman’s infected birth canal. This is most likely to occur if a woman first becomes infected with HSV during pregnancy and in a woman who has her first outbreak during late in pregnancy. But it also can occur during a recurrent outbreak in a woman who was infected before pregnancy, although the risk is lower.

If you already have sores or warning signs of an outbreak during the time of delivery, you may need to have a cesarean delivery to reduce chance of infection to the newborn. The decision depends on many factors, including where the sores are on your body and whether the fetus would come into contact with sores during delivery.

Can I still breastfeed my baby if I have the herpes virus?

Yes, you can, in most cases. The herpes virus cannot be passed to a baby through breast milk. However, the baby could get infected by touching a sore on your body. Make sure sores that the baby could come into contact with are covered when you hold your baby or while breastfeeding. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after feeding the baby. If you have sores on your breast, you should not breastfeed your baby from that breast.

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