SIX Often Overlooked Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Source: Wikipedia Commons
STDs are infections that are most notably spread through sexual intercourse or contact with a vagina or penis. Oftentimes, we just bother ourselves with the notable STDs such as HIV, syphilis – neglecting to even stay aware of the other less popular ones. The following are a list of commonly ignored sexually transmitted infections:
- Pubic lice: These are small insects which strongly attach to and may crawl around body hair. They are often found in pubic hair but may reside in any parts with a reasonable covering of hair such as beards and under arms. Their eggs may also be found in these areas. They may be transmitted during sexual intercourse but an infestation can arise from hairs left on clothing, toilet seats amongst others. They are not known to spread disease; however, common symptoms include intense itching; persistent scratching may result in secondary infection. They may be treated with lotions such as malathion that are available over the counter in most pharmacies.
- Trichomoniasis: It refers to an infection caused by a protozoan, Trichomonas vaginalis. This often affects the vagina where it may give rise to inflammation and odorous watery discharge. It may be spread to men in whom it can affect the urethra; resulting in a whitish discharge. A course of treatment with antibacterials such as metronidazole usually helps to clear the infection.
- Anogenital warts: They are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). They are raised cauliflower-like growths which may be found under the foreskin, the vulva or anus. Warts may clear on their own. Treatment may only be necessary if they painful and a source of discomfort; this usually is based on the removal of affected tissue using topical agents
- Chlamydia: The causative agent is the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. It may not cause any symptoms; this can help it to spread. Occasionally, unusual vaginal and penile discharges, pain in the lower abdomen, painful urination may indicate a chlamydial infection. It is recommended that the infection is diagnosed and treated as soon as possible with antibiotics such as azithromycin to avoid complications.
- Scabies: A skin infection caused by mites that invade the skin and lay eggs. Infected people may have small raised spots and severe irritation which may be due to an allergy to the insect its eggs and faeces. An intense itching of the genitals, fingers and arms often occurs; this may be worse at night. It is usually passed on by direct sustained contact like during sexual intercourse. It may be treated with a parasiticide. Health workers may also advice the eradication of the parasite from clothing and bedding using a disinfectant.
- Molluscum contagiosum: A skin rash characterized by a dip in the middle of the spot. The disease is caused by a viral agent, transmitted through prolonged contact. When spread through sexual intercourse, the first sign of the rash may appear in the genital area. It may resolve on its own in 6-9 months. However, it is advisable to seek health advice as extensive molluscum contagiosum may indicate the presence of other STDs.
Whilst these STDs may be less notable they can have quite severe side effects. To avoid developing these and curb the spread of infection, it is generally recommended to practice safe sex and be vigilant for any changes to sexual health. Most pharmacies and health clinic carry tests which can help detect the presence of some of these infections.