Sexually Transmitted Diseases

These are a wide range of different disease which are all acquired as a result of having sexual intercourse with a person who has already contracted the infection.

What to look for

  • a white, yellow, green, grey, or blood-streaked discharge that may have a strong smell.

  • genital and/or anal itching.

  • a rash, blisters, sores, lumps, bumps, warts on or around the genitals.

  • burning during urination.

  • swollen lymph glands in the groin.

  • pain in the groin or lower abdomen.

  • vaginal bleeding.

  • testicular swelling.

  • flu like symptoms.

  • painful intercourse.

See also AIDS, Chlamydia, Genital Herpes, Genital Warts, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Trichomoniasis.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are common and contagious diseases.

As the name of this group of diseases implies, these infections can be contracted by means of vaginal, anal, or oral sex. You are at high risk if:

  • you have more than one sex partner.

  • you don't use protection while having sex.

  • you share needles if injecting drugs.

Most sexually transmitted diseases can be cured or controlled if they are treated early. But you may not realise you have an STD until it has damaged your reproductive system, vision, heart, or other organs. Also, having an STD weakens the immune system and leaves you more vulnerable to other infections.

CAUSES

Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, and syphilis are caused by bacteria, while AIDS, genital herpes, genital warts, and hepatitis B are caused by a virus. The pathogens that cause STDs are found in bodily secretions such as semen, blood, vaginal fluids, and sometimes saliva. Most of the organisms are spread by either sexual or personal contact.

If you are in a risky group always have regular tests.

Traditional Treatment

Never attempt to treat an STD yourself. These diseases are contagious and dangerous. You must see a doctor.

Bacterial STDs can be cured with antibiotics if treatment begins early enough. Viral STDs cannot be cured, but you can manage symptoms with medications. There is a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B, but it will not help if you have already contracted the disease.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

See entries for specific sexually transmitted diseases for information on alternative therapies. But remember always seek conventional medical help first.

Personal Care

  • Douche with vinegar, yogurt, or lemon juice solutions to relieve vaginal distress.

  • Take zinc and vitamins A, C, and E to boost your immune system.

  • Practice relaxation techniques to ease stress.

  • Take warm baths and analgesics.

  • Ask your doctor or Pharmacist about other over-the-counter remedies.

PREVENTION

Always avoid sex with anyone who has genital sores, a rash, a discharge, or other disease symptoms. If you are in a high-risk group you should:

  • Use condoms and water-based lubricants. Remember that condoms are not 100 percent effective at preventing disease.

  • Wash before and after intercourse.

  • Get a vaccination for hepatitis B.

  • Avoid sharing towels or items of clothing.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the symptoms listed in the description section.