Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Since HIV came around, these other nasty little things have sort of gotten swept under the carpet; however, they do exist, are very unpleasant and need to be remembered.† Unlike HIV, these all are either curable, treatable, preventable by vaccine and/or are not life-threatening.† However, some of them are nastier than others.† Certain ones, like hepatitis, may lead to death in people, although that isnít very common.† Also, unlike HIV, condoms and dental dams will not protect you from all of these diseases.† Safer sex practices are effective in preventing gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, trichomoniasis and hepatitis; however, herpes, crabs, scabies and genital warts may be transmitted regardless of condom and dental dam use.† Because of their being of less threat than HIV, I wonít be spending a whole lot of time on these, but hereís a brief overview of the most common ones:
These little bugs are considered the common cold of STDs.† Although annoying, they are harmless.† They do not transmit any other diseases, and the only possible reaction you may have is if you happen to be very allergic to them (everyone is at least a little bit allergic to them; thatís why they itch).† You can get these from any close contact with someone who is infected, which actually does include some casual contact such as sharing beds, towels, etc., in addition to sex.† Unfortunately, safer sex practices will not protect you from these vermin, but they are pretty easily disposed of, and as I stated earlier, are relatively harmless.† These things are, in fact, insects, just like head lice, and are visible to the naked eye.† They tend towards pubic hair and leg hair most often, although may be found on other hairy parts of the body as well, although the hair on the top of your head is a denser than they like, so you most likely will not find any there.† They attach themselves to the base of the hair and feed by biting the skin and drawing blood.† The symptoms usually begin about a week or two (sooner if youíve had them before) after infection and include excessive itching, red spots where they have fed, little brownish/black spots on underwear (their feces), and actually seeing the things.† They look like very tiny crabs (hence their name), although are rather light colored, and can sometimes be confused for little scabs.† They donít move much, so donít expect to see things moving around on you.† You may also find their nits (eggs) fused to hairs, which look just like little brown balls attached to the hair.† There are a few methods of getting rid of them, but the best option would be go to the drug store and get medication specifically for their disposal, such as RID.† You will apply a shampoo-like medication to the hair, leave it on for about 10 minutes and then wash it out.† After that, you must comb out any dead lice and nits that remain.† You will then need to repeat this process in a week to 10 days to catch any newly hatched nits that werenít killed or combed out the first time.† However, if youíre diligent enough, you can usually clear up the problem in one treatment.† Shaving is somewhat effective, although it may not work (itís really hard to make sure youíve shaved EVERY hair off) and is not usually necessary.† You must also make sure you wash all clothing and bedding in HOT water to prevent reinfecting yourself.† You would also be wise to refrain from sex until after youíve completed your second treatment.
Scabies are usually listed with STDs, but can be transmitted very easily through any skin to skin contact.† These are yet another insect, specifically a mite.† They burrow underneath the skin and initial lesions look like fine wavy dark lines with a small sore at the end.† They can pop up anywhere on you, but are most frequently found in the finger webs (the skin between your fingers).† They usually donít occur on the face in adults.† They also itch.† A topical cream is used and is left on the skin for 24 hours, which will usually cure the problem; however, it may take a week or two to stop itching.† Every member of the household should be treated simultaneously.
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection and can be transmitted through oral, anal or vaginal sex.† In men, symptoms occur between 2 to 14 days after infection and include a yellowish-green discharge from the penis and painful urination.† In women, symptoms occur between 7 and 21 days after infection and include painful urination and the yellowish-green discharge.† If left untreated, some complications could occur.† Itís possible, but unlikely, that you will never show symptoms.† It is easily curable with antibiotics.
Chlamydia is very similar to gonorrhea and is transmitted the same way.† In fact, if you are infected with one, you will frequently be infected with both.† One big difference is it is more likely you will not show symptoms, and when left untreated, does have some serious effects.† Men are more likely to show symptoms than women.† The symptoms, if they are going to occur, generally appear 7 to 28 days after infection and include painful and/or frequent urination and a clear or yellowish discharge.† This is also easily cured with antibiotics.†
Syphilis, like gonorrhea and chlamydia is transmitted via oral, vaginal or anal sex and is also bacterial.† The first symptoms typically occur two to four weeks after infection.† There are three stages of the disease.† The first stage includes a sore in the area where infection occurred.† This sore is painless and heals within 4 to 8 weeks if left untreated.† The second stage typically occurs 6 to 12 weeks following infection and includes more lesions.† Other symptoms may include swollen glands, nausea, fever, jaundice and aches and pains.† The final stage usually occurs about two years after infection and include more lesions and a whole host of other symptoms, including insanity.† This is also treated with antibiotics.
Yet another bacteria that is transmitted via oral, vaginal or anal sex.† However, most men will not have any symptoms, but may pass the disease onto others.† In women, the symptoms are a frothy, greenish-yellow vaginal discharge.† I could find no information indicating common complications if left untreated, but who would want a nasty discharge?† This, like the other bacterial infections, is treated with antibiotics.
Herpes is a viral infection, therefore there is no cure.† There are effective treatments though.† There are two types of herpes, oral and genital.† Oral herpes (cold sores) is very common (it is estimated 90% of adults carry this virus); however, you may also have the genital virus orally or the oral virus on your genitals.† The symptoms are painful sores that generally heal in about 10 days.† While sores are present is when you are most contagious, although the virus may also be passed when no sores are present.† Transmission generally occurs when a person comes into physical contact with the sores, such as during sex.† Typically, you will have the largest outbreak of sores the first year you are infected, but then they become less common.† Once you have this virus, it is likely you will have it for the rest of your life.
Genital warts are caused by the human papilomavirus (HPV), so is obviously also a virus.† The symptoms are soft, moist, small pink or red swellings and are usually clustered together to resemble cauliflower and typically occur one to six months after infection.† Again, since it is a virus, there is no cure, but a doctor can remove the warts; however, relapse is common.
Next to HIV, hepatitis is the most dangerous to your health of the STDs.† There are two common types of the hepatitis virus, which are called hepatitis-A virus (HAV) and hepatitis-B virus (HBV), and both primarily attack the liver.† There are four other stains as well (hepatitis-C, hepatitis-D, hepatitis-E and hepatitis-G), but they are not as common, and one of them, hepatitis-G, may actually be helpful to people who are infected with HIV (if infected with hepatitis-G before being infected with HIV).
HAV is usually transmitted by contact with fecal matter (shit), such as may occur during anal sex, but is most frequently transmitted via contaminated food, particularly in underdeveloped countries.† Blood and other body fluids may also transmit the virus.† Unlike HBV, HAV† will not turn to a chronic condition.† The body will typically kill the virus off after the initial acute infection, and once symptoms begin, the person is no longer contagious and will develop an immunity to the virus afterwards.† It typically has an incubation period of about 2 to 6 weeks, and symptoms usually last 4 to 8 weeks.
HBV is transmitted the same way HIV is.† It has an incubation period of about 6 to 25 weeks.† In most people, the disease will last as long as HAV does; however, some people develop a chronic condition.
Symptoms may vary from a minor flu-like illness to fatal liver failure, depending on the individualís immune response.† The most common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, fever, hives, aches, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine and a general feeling of not being well.† Death is possible in severe cases, but is not common.† Once infected, there are effective treatments.
There are vaccines for HAV and HBV.† These include three shots at certain intervals, and do not usually have side effects.† Currently, it has become common for children to be immunized for hepatitis as part of their regular immunizations, but that is a relatively recent phenomenon.† As far as I know, there are no vaccines for the other strains of hepatitis.