Sexually Transmitted Infections
What are Sexually Transmitted Infections?
If you’re sexually active, protecting yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and being tested if you’ve been exposed, is critical to your health and wellbeing. STIs don’t always cause symptoms so that a person who seems perfectly healthy may be a carrier and not know it. STI infections may be passed person to person through blood, semen, vaginal or other bodily fluids. STIs can also be transmitted nonsexually such as from a mother to infant while pregnant, and through childbirth, as well as through transfusions or shared needles. There are several types of STIs, including:
- Genital herpes
- Genital warts
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Vreg Plasma
It’s important to be checked for STIs if you think you’ve been exposed since left untreated they can cause infertility, urethral scarring and lead to birth defects. You can protect your sexual health by being aware of the risk factors in order to make the right choices for you. The doctors at Saint John’s Physician Partners are experts and can help protect your sexual health. Be informed. Be prepared. Be tested. Be safe.
Sexually Transmitted Infections Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of STIs can develop within a few days or weeks after you have had sexual contact with an infected person. Sometimes it may take months or even years. The symptoms range from mild to severe, including:
- Painful or burning urination
- Pain during sex
- Urethral scarring
- Discharge from the penis
- Sore and swollen lymph nodes
- Lower abdominal pain
Sexually Transmitted Infections Diagnosis
As soon as you think you may have been exposed to an STI, you should see your doctor for evaluation and testing. Don’t wait since early diagnosis and treatment can help decrease further complications. It’s easier for your doctor to diagnose an STI when symptoms are present since these symptoms can be mistaken as a urinary tract or yeast infection. Your recent sexual partner should also be examined, tested and treated. Your doctor will do a physical exam and take a detailed sexual history, and may perform the following tests:
- Analysis of Urine
- Blood test
- Examination of discharge from sores
- Cell cultures from the penis, vagina, urethra, anus, cervix or throat
- HPV is best diagnosed in women with a Pap smear
- Anal Pap smear for people who have anal sex.
Sexually Transmitted Infections Treatments
Treatment of STI’s always involves taking medication to combat the infection.
Antiviral drugs are prescribed for herpes or HIV. While antiviral drugs for HIV can keep the disease in check for years, but you will still carry the virus and can still transmit the virus; however, your risk of transmission is lower. Antiviral medication can shorten the outbreak of genital herpes, but will hot cure it.
STIs caused by bacteria, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and trichomoniasis are generally easier to cure with antibiotics.
Partner notification is also a critical part of treatment to prevent the spread of the STI.