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STI's

You may have heard that condoms protect you against STIs (sexually transmitted infections) but the truth is that they do not.  Using a condom only reduces the risk and not in all cases.  Check it out for yourself.

First of all, you need to know that you don't have to worry about getting sexually transmitted infections or diseases.  These diseases almost always come from people treating sex casually or recreationally.  Treating sex casually often means having more than one lifetime sexual partner - people having intimate contact with people who have had intimate contact with infected people ... That's how almost all STI's get spread.  Become part of the solution: From today on, save sex for marriage.  It's a fact - married people have the best and most sex.

 

Click on a topic below


The Facts About Syphilis

The Facts About Gonorrhea

The Facts About HIV and AIDS

The Facts About Chlamydia

The Facts About Human Papilloma Virus

 

The Facts About Genital Herpes

The Facts About Trichomonas

The Facts About Hepatitis B

The Facts About Hepatitis C

 

Just to clarify: An "STI" is a "sexually transmitted infection" which means a person is "infected" with the virus or bacteria.  An "STD" is a "sexually transmitted disease" which refers to the degeneration of tissue or organs caused by the infection.  A person can be "infected" and not show any symptoms of "disease" and still pass the infection on to others who may become diseased from the infection.



The Facts About Hepatitis C

What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is an extremely contagious bloodborne disease that can also be sexually transmitted.

How does someone get hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is primarily transmitted from people sharing needles when shooting drugs. Transmission can also occur if needles used for tattooing or body piercing are not properly sterilized and are then reused. Before 1992, when widespread screening of blood products became the norm, transfusions were a common mode of transmission. In the early 1960s, as many as one in every five transfused blood products was contaminated with Hepatitis C; now the risk is about one in 100,000.2 One of every 30 infants born to mothers with hepatitis C is infected during the birth process.3 Hepatitis C can also be sexually transmitted. Multiple sex partners increase the risk for infection. Hepatitis C is not transmitted through the type of casual contact that occurs in a workplace.

What are the symptoms?

About three out of four infected people show no signs or symptoms of infection. Due to liver damage, an infected person may experience jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), severe fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

What are some of the long-term effects of a hepatitis C infection?

A significant number of people with hepatitis C have lifelong infections that can cause liver failure, cancer and death.

How does someone find out s(he) has hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C can be diagnosed through a variety of simple blood tests.

How is hepatitis C treated?

There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C, although vaccination against hepatitis A and B is recommended to prevent any further damage to the liver. For the same reason, consumption of alcohol is not recommended for people infected with hepatitis C. There are a couple of drug therapies available, but they tend to be expensive, have to be used for extended periods of time and can cause serious side effects, including depression. Even when taken diligently, the drugs are not always effective.

Am I safe if I consistently use a condom?

Studies are lacking, but given the way hepatitis C is transmitted, condoms would not be expected to eliminate your risk of infection, though they might reduce it some.

How can I avoid getting hepatitis C?

Don’t shoot drugs. Never get a tattoo or body piercing from a place that does not have a current inspection certificate from your local health department. If you haven’t had sex and don't shoot drugs, your chances of getting hepatitis C are considerably reduced. If you’ve already been sexually active outside a lifelong mutually faithful relationship (as in marriage), talk to your healthcare provider about getting you and your partner tested for STDs. Abstinence from sexual activity or lifetime faithfulness to one uninfected partner is the only certain way to avoid being infected sexually.

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1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Viral Hepatitis C Fact Sheet. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/c/fact.htm. Accessed July 22, 2003.

2 American Red Cross. Hepatitis C Lookback. Available at: http://chapters.redcross.org/ca/norcal/phys/transfus/hepatitis.htm. Accessed July 21, 2003.

3 Ferrero S, Lungaro P, Bruzzone BM, Gotta C, Bentivoglio G, Ragni N. Prospective study of mother-to-infant transmission of hepatitis C virus: A 10-year survey (1990-2000). Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2003;82:229-234.

 

The Facts About Hepatitis B

What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a common viral bloodborne infection that can also be sexually transmitted.

How does someone get hepatitis B?

About half of all hepatitis B infections are transmitted through sexual activity. People who share needles when shooting drugs are at high risk for infection as well. Transmission can also occur if needles used for tattooing or body piercing are not properly sterilized and are then reused. Most newborns will become infected during the birth process if the mother is infected and the baby is not vaccinated. Hepatitis B is not transmitted through the type of casual contact that occurs in the workplace.

What are the symptoms?

Nearly 30 percent of infected people have no signs or symptoms of infection. Due to liver damage, an infected person may experience jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), severe fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Rash, joint pain and fever may also occur.

What are some of the long-term effects of a hepatitis B infection?

A significant number of people with hepatitis B have lifelong infections that can cause liver failure, cancer and death.

How does someone find out s(he) has hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B can be diagnosed through a variety of simple blood tests.

How is hepatitis B treated?

There are numerous drug therapies available that can be used to treat hepatitis B, but they tend to be expensive, have to be used for extended periods of time and can cause serious side effects, including depression. Even when taken diligently, the drugs are not always effective.

Am I safe if I consistently use a condom?

Studies are lacking, but given the way hepatitis B is transmitted, condoms would not be expected to eliminate your risk of infection, though they might reduce it some.

How can I avoid getting hepatitis B?

Prevention is always best. A good vaccination is now routinely administered to babies in the U.S. and available to people of all ages. To prevent exposure, don’t shoot drugs. Never get a tattoo or body piercing from a place that does not have a current inspection certificate from your local health department. If you haven’t had sex and don't shoot drugs, your chances of getting hepatitis B are considerably reduced. If you’ve already been sexually active outside a lifelong mutually faithful relationship (as in marriage), talk to your healthcare provider about getting you and your partner tested for STDs. Abstinence from sexual activity or lifetime faithfulness to one uninfected partner is the only certain way to avoid being infected sexually.

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1 Chin J, ed. Control of Communicable Diseases Manual. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association; 2000:243-251.

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Viral Hepatitis B Fact Sheet. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hepatitis/b/fact.htm. Accessed July 22, 2003.

 

The Facts About Syphilis

What is syphilis?

Treponema pallidum is a centuries-old, highly infectious bacterium that causes syphilis.

How does someone get syphilis?

Syphilis transmission usually occurs during vaginal, anal or oral sex when syphilitic sores or patches come into contact with slightly abraded skin or mucous membranes. Women who catch syphilis within a few years before they get pregnant and who fail to get treated often (70 percent) pass syphilis on to their infants. Forty percent of women who acquire syphilis during pregnancy and who go without treatment will lose the child.

What are the symptoms?

Syphilis has been called “The Great Imitator” because so many of the signs and symptoms resemble other diseases. The primary stage of syphilis is usually marked by the appearance of a single sore (chancre), although multiple sores may develop. The chancre is usually firm, round and painless and appears about three weeks after exposure at the spot where the syphilis bacteria entered the body. Left untreated, the chancre heals in 3-6 weeks, but the infection may progress to the secondary stage of syphilis. The secondary stage starts when one or more areas of the skin break into an itch-less rash. Additional symptoms of secondary syphilis may include fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches and fatigue. Tertiary symptoms include incoordination, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness and severe confusion.

What are some of the long-term effects of a syphilis infection?

Left untreated, secondary syphilis may develop into the tertiary stage resulting in damage to internal organs, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones and joints. The damage can be serious enough to cause death.

How does someone find out s(he) has syphilis?

Primary and secondary syphilis are generally diagnosed with a blood test. The diagnosis of tertiary syphilis usually requires a test on cerebrospinal fluid (ie, fluid that normally surrounds the brain and spinal cord).

How is syphilis treated?

There are no home remedies or over-the-counter treatments for syphilis; however, a single dose of an antibiotic (usually penicillin) can cure a person who has been infected for less than a year. Larger doses are needed to cure someone who has had it for more than a year. While antibiotics are extremely effective at killing the syphilis bacterium, they will not repair or reverse the damage already caused by the disease.

Am I safe if I consistently use a condom or switch to oral sex?

Not really. Even if you use a condom exactly as directed 100 percent of the time when you have sex, you only reduce your chance of getting syphilis from an infected partner by about 30 to 50 percent.3, 4, 5 Syphilis is also easy to transmit through oral sex. In fact, oral sex appears to have played a significant role in syphilis transmission in a number of recent outbreaks.6, 7, 8

How can I avoid getting syphilis?

Because most infected individuals are unaware that they have syphilis, having a sexual partner who has no symptoms offers no guarantee. If you’ve already been sexually active outside a lifelong mutually faithful relationship (as in marriage), talk to your healthcare provider about getting you and your partner tested for STDs. Abstinence from sexual activity—including oral sex—or lifetime faithfulness to one uninfected partner is the only certain way to avoid being infected.

Read More at http://www.cdc.gov/std/Syphilis/STDFact-Syphilis.htm

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1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2001. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services; September 2002.

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2001 Supplement. Syphilis Surveillance Report. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services; February 2003.

3 Ahmed S, Lutalo T, Wawer M, et al. HIV incidence and sexually transmitted disease prevalence associated with condom use: A population study in Rakai, Uganda. AIDS. 2001;15:2171-2179.

4 Baeten JM, Nyange PM, Richardson BA, et al. Hormonal contraception and risk of sexually transmitted acquisition: Results from a prospective study. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2001;185:380-385.

5 Workshop Summary: Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention. July 20, 2001. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. Available HERE.

6 Cook PA, Clark P, Bellis MA, et al. Re-emerging syphilis in the UK: A behavioural analysis of infected individuals. Commun Dis Public Health. 2001;4:253-258.

7 Poulton M, Dean GL, Williams DI, Carter P, Iversen A, Fisher M. Surfing with spirochaetes: An ongoing syphilis outbreak in Brighton. Sex Transm Infect. 2001;77:319-321.

8 Lacey HB, Higgins SP, Graham D. An outbreak of early syphilis: Cases from North Manchester General Hospital, UK. Sex Transm Infect. 2001;77:311-313.

 

The Facts About HIV and AIDS

What are HIV and AIDS?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that invades the immune system and destroys it over time. The destruction of the immune system reduces a person’s ability to fight off infections and cancer. The majority of people infected with HIV eventually develop AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), which is often fatal.

How does someone get HIV?

Exposure to infected blood or other body fluids is required for HIV transmission to occur; the highest HIV concentrations are in blood, semen and vaginal secretions. Intravenous drug users and men who have sex with men are at the highest risk for HIV, followed by those who have sex with multiple partners. People who have untreated sexually transmitted diseases (particularly those that cause sores—such as syphilis) have an increased risk of acquiring HIV infection. HIV is not transmitted through the type of casual contact that occurs in the workplace. 

What are the symptoms?

Infected individuals may have short-lived, flu-like symptoms (fatigue, fever, aches). Others have no symptoms with the initial infection or for many years thereafter. AIDS typically appears about 10 years after the initial HIV infection (although new therapies may further delay the development of AIDS).

What are some of the long-term effects of an HIV infection?

HIV usually develops into AIDS, which is often painful and deadly. More than a dozen “opportunistic” infections (ie, infections that are fought off by normal immune systems) and several types of cancer are common in AIDS patients. These infections include tuberculosis, pneumocystis pneumonia, certain types of fungal and yeast infections, and persistent and unusual intestinal infections. Common cancers include lymphomas and Kaposi’s sarcoma.

Due to the severe nature of HIV, people with HIV infections should seriously consider abstaining from future sexual activity, as it poses a considerable risk to any uninfected partner. Because HIV can be passed from a mother to child, it is important for every pregnant woman and her doctor to know the woman’s HIV status. Prompt treatment of the mother and newborn significantly decreases the infant’s risk of HIV infection.

How does someone find out s(he) has HIV?

Blood tests are available to diagnose HIV infections. When a person is first infected with HIV, a few months (1-6) may need to go by before the blood tests become positive.

How is HIV treated?

A complex regimen of medicine can prolong the lives of those infected with HIV for many years. These drugs are expensive, often have considerable side effects and great care must be taken to take them consistently. Though a great deal of energy and financial resources have been devoted to finding an effective vaccine, these efforts have yet to prove successful.

Am I safe if I consistently use a condom or switch to oral sex?

Using condoms exactly as directed every time you have sex can reduce your risk of getting HIV by about 85 percent.3,4 However, this still leaves a significant chance of getting a deadly disease. It is also possible for HIV to be passed during oral sex.

How can I avoid getting HIV?

Don't shoot drugs. If you haven't had sex and don't shoot drugs, your chances of getting HIV/AIDS are remote. If you’ve already been sexually active outside a lifelong mutually faithful relationship (as in marriage), talk to your healthcare provider about getting you and your partner tested for STDs. Abstinence from sexual activity—including oral sex—or lifetime faithfulness to one uninfected partner is the only certain way to avoid being infected sexually.

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1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV/AIDS Update. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/od/news/At-a-Glance.pdf. Accessed July 23, 2003.

2  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New CDC Initiative Would Increase HIV Testing and Enhance Prevention for Persons Living with HIV (Press Release). April 17, 2003.

3  Davis KR, Weller SC. The effectiveness of condoms in reducing heterosexual transmission of HIV. Fam Plann Perspect. 1999;31:2272-279.

4  Workshop Summary: Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention. July 20, 2001. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. Available HERE.

 

What is trichomonas?

Trichomonas vaginalis is a protozoan (a single-celled organism that is bigger and more complex than a bacterium) that infects the genital tracts of both women and men.

How does someone get trichomonas?

Trichomonas is almost always a sexually transmitted infection.

What are the symptoms?

The majority (50-80 percent) of women and some men infected with trichomonas do not know that they are infected.4 In women, trichomonas causes vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina) and cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix). Symptoms of trichomonas vaginitis/ cervicitis frequently include vaginal discharge, abnormal vaginal bleeding (typically after intercourse) due to cervical irritation, swelling and irritation of the genitals, itching of the vulva and abdominal pain. In men, the urethra (tube carrying fluid from the bladder out the penis) is the most common location of infection. Symptoms of urethritis (infection of the urethra) include discharge from the penis and burning with urination.

How does someone find out s(he) has trichomonas?

Patients with symptoms are usually diagnosed when the clinician finds characteristic physical findings and identifies the trichomonas organism in genital fluids (vaginal or urethral discharge) or urine. Routine testing for trichomonas infection is not normally done in patients without symptoms, so infected individuals who don’t have symptoms are unlikely to be tested. Unfortunately, these asymptomatic individuals may transmit the infection to their sexual partners without being aware of the risk.

How is trichomonas treated?

Most trichomonas infections are treated with metronidazole, a drug that is taken by mouth. The most common side effect of metronidazole is a gastrointestinal reaction some patients have after taking metronidazole and then consuming alcoholic beverages.

What are some of the long-term effects of trichomonas infection?

Trichomonas infection in pregnant women is associated with premature rupture of membranes (early breakage of the fluid sac surrounding a developing baby) and preterm labor.5 Finally, when a person has a trichomonas infection and then has sex with an HIV-infected person, his/her risks of contracting HIV may be increased.6 (HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.)

How can I avoid getting trichomonas?

Since trichomonas is transmitted by exchange of body fluids, condoms are likely to reduce the risk of transmission in sexually active individuals. As with other STIs, however, condoms provide incomplete protection.  And because most infected individuals are unaware of their infection, having a sexual partner who is not having symptoms of infection offers no protection against infection.

If you have already been sexually active outside a lifelong mutually faithful relationship (as in marriage), talk to your healthcare provider about getting you and your partner tested for STDs. Abstinence from sexual activity or lifetime faithfulness to one uninfected partner is the only certain way to avoid being infected sexually. 

Read more at http://www.cdc.gov/std/Trichomonas/STDFact-Trichomoniasis.htm

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1. Krieger JN, Alderete JF. Trichomonas vaginalis and trichomoniasis. In: Holmes KK, Mardh PA, Sparling PF, et al., eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, Co.; 1999:587-604.

2. American Social Health Association. Sexually Transmitted Diseases in America: How Many Cases and at What Cost? Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation; 1998.

3. Krieger JN, Alderete JF. Trichomonas vaginalis and trichomoniasis. In: Holmes KK, Mardh PA, Sparling PF, et al., eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, Co.; 1999:587-604.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Laga M, Manoka A, Kivuvu M, et al. Non-ulcerative sexually transmitted diseases as risk factors for HIV-1 transmission in women: Results from a cohort study.  AIDS. 1993;7:95-102.

 

The Facts About Gonorrhea                       

What is gonorrhea?

Neisseria gonorrhea is a bacterium that causes genital infections and other infections in humans.

How does someone get gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is primarily spread by sexual contact, including sexual intercourse, oral sex and anal sex. A newborn baby can also become infected during the birth process if his/her mother is infected.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of gonorrhea infection vary depending on the part of the body that is infected and usually begin within a week of exposure. A genital infection typically causes discharge (increased fluid) from the vagina (or urethra) and may cause pain with urination. In women, abnormal vaginal bleeding ("spotting") is common while in men, pain and swelling around the testicles (epididymitis) may occur.2

When a woman has vaginal intercourse with an infected man, the infection usually begins in the woman’s cervix. The infection may remain in the area of the cervix for some time, or may spread to the uterus (endometritis) and fallopian tubes (salpingitis). When this spread occurs, the condition is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID may cause few symptoms and go unrecognized, or PID may be a severe, life-threatening infection. Common symptoms of PID include pelvic and abdominal pain, fever and abnormal vaginal bleeding. When abdominal tenderness is present, PID may be confused with other severe abdominal conditions, i.e., acute appendicitis or ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.

Oral and rectal infections also occur and produce irritation, pain, discharge and other symptoms in the affected area. Some individuals with oral or rectal infections may not experience symptoms and may not be aware of their infection.

How does someone find out s(he) has gonorrhea?

Usually, people with signs or symptoms of a gonorrheal infection will seek medical attention and be evaluated by a clinician. Samples of body fluids will be examined and tested to determine the presence of gonorrhea organisms.

Infection can also occur without symptoms. In fact, between 25-80 percent of infected women and a smaller percentage of men have no symptoms.3,4

How is gonorrhea treated?

Uncomplicated gonorrhea is treated with oral or injectable antibiotics. After treatment, infected individuals should be re-examined and tested to ensure that they have been cured. If a female develops PID, hospitalization and treatment with intravenous (IV) antibiotics may be required.5 Treatment of infected pregnant women prevents transmission of infection to the newborn. Additionally, newborn infants routinely receive antibiotic eye medication to prevent eye infections caused by gonorrhea.6

What are some of the long-term effects of gonorrhea infection?

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is the most common complication of gonorrhea in women, occurring in 10-20 percent of infected females.7 Among US women who seek medical assistance to become pregnant, one in four are infertile because of scarring caused by PID.8

Disseminated gonorrheal infection (gonorrhea infection that spreads throughout the body), occurs in about 1 percent of patients with untreated gonorrhea. The most severe complications of disseminated infection are endocarditis, which can destroy the valves of the heart, and meningitis.9

Gonorrhea causes problems for pregnant women. Women who are infected are at increased risk of spontaneous abortion, premature rupture of membranes and preterm birth. Gonorrhea can also infect the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus.

How can I avoid getting gonorrhea?

Condoms, when used consistently and correctly, reduce the risk of acquiring gonorrhea. Sexually active individuals, especially those at high risk for contracting gonorrhea, should be screened and treated for gonorrhea each time they change sexual partners to prevent long-term complications and avoid spreading the infection to others.

If you have already been sexually active outside a lifelong mutually faithful relationship (as in marriage), talk to your healthcare provider about getting you and your partner tested for STDs. Abstinence from sexual activity--including oral sex--or lifetime faithfulness to one uninfected partner is the only certain way to avoid being infected sexually. 

Read more at http://www.cdc.gov/std/Gonorrhea/STDFact-gonorrhea.htm

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1. American Social Health Association. Sexually Transmitted Diseases in America: How Many Cases and at What Cost? Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation; 1998.

2. Hook EW, Handsfield HH. Gonococcal infections in the adult. In: Holmes KK, Mardh PA, Sparling PF, et al., eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, Co; 1999:811-831.

3. Ibid.

4. Sherrard J, Barlow D. Gonorrhoea in men: Clinical and diagnostic aspects. Genitourin Med. 1996;72:422-426.

5. Sweet RL. Pelvic inflammatory disease: Treatment. In: Mead PB, Hager WD, Faro S, eds. Protocols for Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Science, Inc.; 2000:400-405.

6. Dinsmoor MJ. Ophthalmia neonatorum. In: Mead PB, Hager WD, Faro S, eds. Protocols for Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Science, Inc.; 2000:93-98.

7. Hook EW, Handsfield HH. Gonococcal infections in the adult. In: Holmes KK, Mardh PA, Sparling PF, et al., eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, Co; 1999:811-831.

8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Society for Reproductive Medicine. 1997 Assisted Reproductive Technology Success Rates: National Summary and Fertility Clinic Reports. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 1999:41.  

9. Hook EW, Handsfield HH. Gonococcal infections in the adult. In: Holmes KK, Mardh PA, Sparling PF, et al., eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, Co; 1999:811-831.

 

The Facts About Chlamydia

What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection in humans.

How does someone get chlamydia?

Chlamydia trachomatis is primarily transmitted through sexual activity. It can also be passed from pregnant women to their newborn infants during childbirth. Other types of chlamydial infections exist, but they are acquired by non-sexual activities.

What are the symptoms?

Typical symptoms include a vaginal or urethral discharge, burning with urination, pelvic pain in women, swelling and tenderness of the scrotum in men (epididymitis), and (rarely in the United States) genital ulcers.6

When a woman has vaginal intercourse with an infected man, the infection usually begins in the woman’s cervix. The infection may remain in the area of the cervix for some time, or may spread to the uterus (endometritis) and fallopian tubes (salpingitis). When this spread occurs, the condition is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID may cause few symptoms and go unrecognized, or PID may be a severe, life-threatening infection. Common symptoms of PID include pelvic and abdominal pain, fever and abnormal vaginal bleeding. When abdominal tenderness is present, PID may be confused with other severe abdominal conditions, i.e., acute appendicitis or ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.

How does someone find out s(he) has chlamydia?

Patients with symptoms are usually diagnosed when the clinician finds characteristic physical findings and identifies evidence of the chlamydia organism in genital fluids or urine.

Many people with chlamydia infections do not know they are infected. In fact, as many as 85 percent of women and 40 percent of men who are infected have no symptoms.7

How is chlamydia treated?

Chlamydia infections in both men and women are typically treated with oral antibiotics. Severe pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) may require hospitalization and treatment with intravenous antibiotics.8 Treatment of infected pregnant women prevents infection of the newborn. In addition, newborn infants routinely receive antibiotic eye drops/ointment to prevent eye infection.9

What are some of the long-term effects of chlamydia infection?

The most serious complication of chlamydial infection is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can damage the fallopian tubes and result in tubal scarring and infertility. In fact, PID causes over 25 percent of the infertility in women pursuing in vitro fertilization in the United States.10 Tubal scarring can also increase the risks for developing a subsequent ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.

How can I avoid getting chlamydia?

Condoms probably reduce the risk of chlamydia transmission among sexually active people. Studies of condoms in actual use, however, show that condoms do not consistently prevent chlamydia infection.

If you have already been sexually active outside a lifelong mutually faithful relationship (as in marriage), talk to your healthcare provider about getting you and your partner tested for STDs. Abstinence from sexual activity--including oral sex--or lifetime faithfulness to one uninfected partner is the only certain way to avoid being infected sexually. 

Read more at http://www.cdc.gov/std/Chlamydia/STDFact-Chlamydia.htm

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1. American Social Health Association. Sexually Transmitted Diseases in America: How Many Cases and at What Cost? Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation; 1998.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. STDs in Adolescents and Young Adults. Available at www.cdc.gov/nchstp/dstd/stats_Trends/1998Surveillance/98PDC/section8.pdf. Accessed February 14, 2000.

3. Gaydos CA, Howell MR, Pare B, et al. Chlamydia trachomatis infections in female military recruits. N Engl J Med. 1998;339:739-744.

4.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. STDs in Adolescents and Young Adults. Available at: www.cdc.gov/nchstp/dstd/stats_Trends/1998Surveillance/98PDC/section8.pdf. Accessed February 14, 2000.

5.Stamm WE. Chlamydia trachomatis. In: Holmes KK, Mardh PA, Sparling PF, et al., eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, Co.; 1999:407-422.

6.Ibid.

7. Eng TR, Butler WT, eds. The Hidden Epidemic- Confronting Sexually Transmitted Disease. Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1997.

8.Sweet RL. Pelvic inflammatory disease: Treatment. In: Mead PB, Hager WD, Faro S, eds. Protocols for Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Science, Inc.; 2000:400-405.

9. Crombleholme WR. Neonatal chlamydial infections. In: Mead PB, Hager WD, Faro S, eds. Protocols for Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Science, Inc.; 2000:80-86.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Society for Reproductive Medicine. 1997  Assisted Reproductive Technology Success Rates. National Summary and Fertility Clinic Reports. US Department of Health and Human Servcies. 1999:41.

10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Society for Reproductive Medicine. 1997 Assisted Reproductive Technology Success Rates. National Summary and Fertility Clinic Reports. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 1999:41.

 
 
The Facts About Human Papilloma Virus

What is HPV?

Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a virus that infects the skin and mucous membranes (tissues that line the mouth, cervix, vagina, urethra and anus) of humans.  Of the more than 100 strains of HPV, approximately 30 cause genital infections.1

How does someone get HPV?

HPV is primarily spread by skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or by contact with body fluids contaminated with the virus. This means that most cases of genital HPV are acquired through sexual intercourse. Transmission of HPV via oral sex4, genital touching5 and via inanimate objects6 may also be possible, but the risk of infection from these activities has not been well documented.

What are the symptoms?

Most patients with HPV infection have no symptoms. Approximately 1 percent of all individuals who have been infected with HPV and 7 percent of those with current HPV infection have genital warts.7

How does someone find out s(he) has HPV?

Most people who are infected with HPV have no visible signs of infection. Since testing for HPV infection is not performed routinely, most infected women discover their infection when abnormalities are detected on a Pap smear. Most asymptomatic men do not know they are infected.

How is HPV treated?

HPV infection is not curable at the present time, although most HPV infections resolve spontaneously.8 (There is an experimental, genetically engineered vaccine, Gardasil, which claims to block two of the HPV strains, HPV16 and HPV18, but this vaccine has not been approved yet.)  Individuals with genital warts typically undergo treatment with topical medications applied to the wart in the physician’s office or at home. Such medications may cause the warts to decrease in size or disappear. Laser (burning) or LEEP (removal of the abnormal cells) or cryo (freezing) treatments are also possible.  Even if warts do resolve, infection may remain, and can still be passed on to a future sexual partner. In addition, warts frequently recur in the months following treatment.

What are some of the long-term effects of HPV infection?

Annually, 2.5 million women experience an abnormal Pap smear in the United States, with a majority of these due to HPV infection.9 Untreated cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (the “pre-cancer” that typically causes abnormal Pap smears) can develop into cervical cancer. In fact, cervical cancer occurs in approximately 13,000 women every year in the United States, and kills almost 5,000 American women yearly.10 HPV is the primary cause of over 99 percent of cervical cancers.11,12

HPV is also associated with a number of other cancers, including oral, vaginal, vulvar, penile and anal cancer.13-19

How can I avoid getting HPV?

Since HPV is spread by skin-to-skin contact, and condoms do not cover the entire genital area, condoms are likely to be less effective in reducing the risk of HPV transmission than with other sexually transmitted infections.20 A few studies have shown that condoms may partially reduce the transmission in men, but their effectiveness has not been demonstrated for women.21 Since HPV is so common among sexually active individuals, those who become sexually active outside of marriage are likely to be infected by the virus even if they use condoms. Women should receive regular Pap smears for early detection of cervical abnormalities like cervical cancer.

If you have already been sexually active outside a lifelong mutually faithful relationship (as in marriage), talk to your healthcare provider about getting you and your partner tested for STDs. Abstinence from sexual activity--including oral sex--or lifetime faithfulness to one uninfected partner is the only certain way to avoid being infected sexually. 

Read more at http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm

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1. Division of STD Prevention. Prevention of genital HPV infection and sequelae: Report of an external consultants’ meeting. Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), December 1999.

2. American Social Health Association. Sexually Transmitted Diseases in America: How Many Cases and at What Cost? Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation; 1998.

3. Koutsky LA, Kiviat NB. Genital human papillomavirus. In: Holmes KK, Mardh PA, Sparling PF, et al., eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, Co; 1999:347-359.

4. Edwards S, Carne C. Oral sex and the transmission of viral STIs.Sex Transm Inf. 1998;74:6-10.

5. Sonnex C, Strauss S, Gray JJ. Detection of human papillomavirus DNA on the fingers of patients with genital warts. Sex Transm Infect. 1999;75:317-319.

6. Koutsky LA, Kiviat NB. Genital human papillomavirus. In: Holmes KK, Mardh PA, Sparling PF, et al., eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, Co; 1999:347-359.

7. Ibid.

8. Ho GY, Bierman R, Beardsley L, Chang CJ, Burk RD. Natural history of cervicovaginal papillomavirus infection in young women. N Engl J Med. 1998;338:423-428.

9. Kurman RJ, Henson DE, Herbst AL, Noller KL, Schiffman MH, for the 1992 National Cancer Institute Workshop. Interim guidelines for management of abnormal cervical cytology. JAMA. 1994;271:1866-1869.

10. American Cancer Society. Cancer facts and figures 2000: Selected cancers. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/statistics/cff2000/selected cancers.html. Accessed February 21, 2000.

11. Bosch FX, Manos MM, Munoz N, et al., for the International Biological Study on Cervical Cancer (IBSCC) Study Group. Prevalence of human papillomavirus in cervical cancer: A worldwide perspective. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1995;87:796-802.

12. Walboomers JM, Jacobs MV, Manos MM, et al. Human papillomavirus is a necessary cause of invasive cervical cancer worldwide. J Pathol. 1999;189:12-19.

13. Sugase M, Matsukura T. Distinct manifestations of human papillomaviruses in the vagina. Int J Cancer. 1997;72:412-415.

14. Kiviat N, Koutsky LA, Paavonen J. Cervical neoplasia and other STD-related genital tract neolasias. In: Holmes KK, Mardh PA, Sparling PF, et al., eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, Co; 1999:811-831.

15. Ke LD, Adler-Storthz K, Mitchell MF, Clayman GL, Chen Z. Expression of human papillomavirus E7 mRNA in human oral and cervical neoplasia and cell lines. Oral Oncol. 1999;35:415-420.

16. Wang J, Li J, Huang H, Fu Y. Detection of the E7 transform gene of human papilloma virus type 16 in human oral squamous cell carcinoma. Clin J Dent Res. 1998;1(3):35-37.

17. Aggelopoulou EP, Skarlos D, Papadimitriou C, Kittas C, Troungos C. Human papilloma virus DNA detection in oral lesions in the Greek population. Anticancer Res. 1999;19:1391-1395.

18. Goldie SJ, Kuntz KM, Weinstein MC, Freedberg KA, Welton ML, Palefsky JM. The clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of screening for anal squamous intraepithelial lesions in homosexual and bisexual HIV-positive men. JAMA. 1999;281:1822-1829.

19. Poletti PA, Halfon A, Marti MC. Papillomavirus and anal carcinoma. Int J Colorectal Dis. 1998;13:108-111.

20. Division of STD Prevention. Prevention of genital HPV infection and sequelae: Report of an external consultants’ meeting. Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, December 1999.

21. Ibid.

Click here for more information on HPV: Human Papilloma Virus: A Major Unrecognized Epidemic [pdf]

 

The Facts About Genital Herpes

What is the herpes simplex virus (HSV)?

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a virus that infects the skin and mucous membranes (mouth, genital areas, etc.) of humans. Most genital herpes infections are caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).

How does someone get genital herpes?

HSV-2 is a sexually transmitted infection. Although HSV-2 typically causes genital infections, it can also cause oral infections that can then be spread by non-sexual activities like kissing. Similarly, although HSV-1 usually causes oral herpes infections, it can be transmitted to the genitals via oral sex, thereby becoming a sexually transmitted infection.

Unlike many other sexually transmitted infections that are spread by exposure to infected body fluids, HSV is commonly spread by skin-to-skin contact. When a person who has HSV present on his/her body comes in contact with someone who is not infected, the virus (and the infection) may spread. In addition to HSV infection in the oral and genital areas, HSV infection may also occur on the abdomen, thighs, hands and other areas.

The greatest risk factor for genital herpes infection is the total number of lifetime sexual partners a person has had. Women seem to be at greater risk for infection than do men.5

What are the symptoms?

The earliest symptoms of an initial genital herpes infection may include fever, headache and muscle aches that begin six to seven days after exposure. About eight days after exposure, lesions appear in the area of exposure. These lesions usually begin as small blisters, which break and become ulcers. The ulcers are painful and often burn or itch. Other genital symptoms include burning with urination, vaginal or urethral discharge and tender swollen lymph nodes in the groin area. Symptoms of the initial infection typically resolve within two to three weeks.6 Recurrent outbreaks of herpes skin lesions are common, but are usually not preceded by the fever, headache and muscle aches that generally precede the initial outbreak.

How does someone find out s(he) has genital herpes?

When someone visits a physician with symptoms of genital herpes (painful ulcers in the genital area), viral cultures or other tests to establish the presence of the virus can confirm the diagnosis. Unfortunately, as many as 90 percent of people with genital herpes do not know they are infected.7 Tests for detecting herpes infection in patients without symptoms are available, but not widely used. In individuals (or groups of individuals) known to be at high risk of infection, it may be appropriate to test people who don’t have symptoms of genital herpes to reduce the chance of unknowingly infecting a sexual partner.

How is genital herpes treated?

There is no cure for genital herpes. Treatment with anti-viral medications like Acyclovir reduces the duration and intensity of symptoms. Long-term treatment with these medications can decrease the frequency of recurrences and asymptomatic viral shedding.8

What are some of the long-term effects of genital herpes?

Once a person is infected with HSV-2 (s)he is probably infected for life and can transmit the infection to others even at times when (s)he is not experiencing symptoms. Approximately 90 percent of individuals with an initial symptomatic HSV-2 infection will experience at least one recurrence of symptoms within the 12 months following the initial episode, and 38 percent have at least six recurrences in the first year.9 Recurrence rates decrease over time, but recurrences can occur for the remainder of the person’s life.10

An additional consequence of genital herpes infection is that infected individuals are at increased risk of contracting HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS.11 They may also be more likely to spread HIV to others.12

Finally, mothers with genital herpes can transmit the infection to their newborn infants. This risk is greatest with primary (first-time) infections. With recurrent infections, the risk is less than 1 percent.13 Infected newborns are quite sick and often die. Genital herpes infection of the mother also increases the risk of both spontaneous abortion and premature birth.14

How can I avoid getting genital herpes?

Based on the limited studies, it appears condoms only reduce the risk of acquiring genital herpes through sexual activity by half at best if they are used consistently and correctly.  However, since the virus is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, condoms are likely to be less effective in reducing the transmission of herpes than they are for infections transmitted by body fluids.16 Condoms do not cover all the skin in the genital area, and sex with an infected person can result in an infection, even when condoms are used.

If you have already been sexually active outside a lifelong mutually faithful relationship (as in marriage), talk to your healthcare provider about getting you and your partner tested for STDs. Abstinence from sexual activity--including oral sex--or lifetime faithfulness to one uninfected partner is the only certain way to avoid being infected sexually. 

Read more at http://www.cdc.gov/std/Herpes/STDFact-Herpes.htm  

^ Back to Top    

1. Fleming DT, McQuillan GM, Johnson RE, et al. Herpes simplex virus type 2 in the United States, 1976 to 1994. N Engl J Med. 1997;337:1105-1111.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. American Social Health Association. Sexually Transmitted Diseases in America: How Many Cases and at What Cost? Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation; 1998.

5. Fleming DT, McQuillan GM, Johnson RE, et al. Herpes simplex virus type 2 in the United States, 1976 to 1994. N Engl J Med. 1997;337:1105-1111.

6. Corey L, Wald A. Genital Herpes. In: Holmes KK, Mardh PA, Sparling PF, et al., eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, Co.; 1999:285-312.

7. Fleming DT, McQuillan GM, Johnson RE, et al. Herpes simplex virus type 2 in the United States, 1976 to 1994. N Engl J Med. 1997;337:1105-1111.

8. Corey L, Wald A. Genital Herpes. In: Holmes KK, Mardh PA, Sparling PF, et al., eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, Co.; 1999:285-312.

9. Benedetti J, Corey L, Ashley R. Recurrence rates in genital herpes after symptomatic first-episode infection. Ann Intern Med. 1994;121:847-854.

10. Benedetti JK, Zeh J, Corey L. Clinical reactivation of genital herpes simplex virus infection decreases in frequency over time. Ann Intern Med. 1999;131:14-20.

11. Eng TR, Butler WT, eds. The Hidden Epidemic – Confronting Sexually Transmitted Disease. Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1997.

12. Schacker T, Ryncarz AJ, Goddard J, Diem K, Shaughnessy M, Corey L. Frequent recovery of HIV-1 from genital herpes simplex virus lesions in HIV-1-infected men. JAMA. 1998;280:61-66.

13. Corey L, Wald A. Genital Herpes. In: Holmes KK, Mardh PA, Sparling PF, et al., eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 3rd ed. New York, New York: McGraw Hill, Co.; 1999:285-312.

14. Ibid.

15. Oberle MW, Rosero-Bixby L, Lee FK, Sanchez-Braverman M, Nahmias AJ, Gunan ME.  Herpes simplex virus type 2 antibodies: High prevalence in monogamous women in Costa Rica.  Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1989;41:224-229.

16. Fleming DT, McQuillan GM, Johnson RE, et al. Herpes simplex virus type 2 in the United States, 1976 to 1994. N Engl J Med. 1997;337:1105-1111.

(source)

 

 

 

 
 

 

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