Here’s all you need to know about Sexual Health & STDs

Sexual Health

Sexual health is a big and an important facet of our lives. However, it is and it can be affected by other aspects of health viz; physical, emotional, mental and social health. But along-with the positive aspects there are also illnesses, mixed emotions and unintended consequences that may affect our sexual health as well.

“Sexual Health” refers to many factors that impact sexual function and reproduction which includes a variety of physical, mental and emotional elements as well. Disorders that affect any of these factors can directly impact a person’s physical and mental health, therefore, affecting their relationships and self-image. Some of the common health disorders may include –

  • Infertility
  • Reproductive system disorders including cancer
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Gynecological problems
  • Sexual Dysfunction

According to the preliminary data released on August 28, 2018, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) hit an all-time high in 2017. The data shows that more than 2.3 million new cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia were reported that year.

But few questions arise- what actually are STDs, signs and symptoms of various STDs, and more. Keep reading, you’ll get your answers…

What are Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

STDs are diseases that are transmitted from one person to another through sexual contact. STDs are serious illnesses that require treatment. Some STDs like HIV are deadly and cannot be cured.

What are the most common STDs?

Some common STDs are-

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Chlamydia
  • Herpes
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
What are the signs of having an STD?

Almost all STDs are transmitted through sexual contact. In addition, some STDs can also be transmitted through close skin-to-skin contact, even if no intercourse occurs.

Remember that an STD may have no symptoms. But if you notice any unusual discharge or a new rash after the intercourse, rush to a medical professional and get it evaluated.

Below are the symptoms for different STDs-

1. HIV (Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus)-

Early symptoms of HIV can resemble those of flu: headache, fever, muscle aches and sore throat. Symptoms can also include swollen lymph nodes, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, a fungal infection of the mouth, and rashes on abdomen, arms, legs and/or face.

If untreated, later symptoms can include fatigue, weight loss, night sweats, join pain, short-term memory loss and recurrent infections.

According to the journal published in Greater Kashmir on Sep 19, 2018, “The number of new HIV infections in Jammu and Kashmir in 2017 was 213, the lowest in recent years and seven times lower than the Indian national average for the year, a government reports says, but the rate of decline is still worrying.”

2. Gonorrhea-

Caused by infection with bacterium Neisseria gonorrhea, symptoms usually occur within 2 to 14 days after exposure. However, in some cases people infected with gonorrhea never develop noticeable symptoms.

Symptoms in men-

  • Urgency of urination
  • A pus-like discharge (white, yellow, beige or greenish)
  • Swelling or pain in the testicles
  • A persistent sore throat

Symptoms in women-

  • Vaginal discharge (watery, creamy o+r slightly green)
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Heavier periods of spotting
  • Sore throat
  • Sharp pain in lower abdomen
  • Fever
3. Chlamydia-

This infection is easily spread because it often causes no symptoms and may be unknowingly passed to sexual partners, thus making it one of the most common sexually transmitted disease.

It is not easy to tell whether or not a person is infected since the symptoms are not always apparent. But when they occur, they are usually noticeable and can include the following-

Symptoms in women-

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge that may have an odor
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Painful periods
  • Abdominal pain with fever
  • Itching and burning sensation
  • Pain with urinating

Symptoms in men-

  • Small amounts of clear or cloudy discharge
  • Painful urination
  • Itching and burning sensation
  • Pain and swelling around the testicles
4. Syphilis-

Syphilis has 4 stages, thus symptoms may or may not depend on the stage one is in. If you think you have or have been exposed to syphilis, get treated right away! General symptoms are-

  • A small, painless sore on the skin
  • A skin rash that causes small, reddish brown sores
  • Sores in mouth, vagina or anus
  • Fever
  • Swollen glands
  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Extreme tiredness (Fatigue)
  • Muscle aches
5. Genital and Oral Herpes-

It is one of the most common STDs in US. It is caused by Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). Most of the cases of Genital Herpes are caused by the herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2). Any of the following symptoms can occur in a man or a woman-

  • Cracked, raw or red areas around your genitals without pain or itching
  • Itching or tingling around genital or anal region
  • Small blisters leading to painful sores
  • Painful urination
  • Headaches
  • Backaches
  • Flu-like symptoms including fever, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue

Oral Herpes symptoms include itching of the mouth or lips, sores or blisters on the lips or inside the mouth, and flu-like symptoms such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, body-aches, fatigue.

Failing to treat STDs can have risks for future generations as well. Women who have herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis can transmit the infection to their baby at birth.

If you are or have been noticing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, you must consult your doctor as soon as possible before it’s too late!

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