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Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD): Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Cure

Last Updated: Nov 01, 2021

What Are Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)?

STD full form is sexually transmitted diseases. These are infections that are commonly spread by sex, especially vaginal intercourse, anal sex, or oral sex. More than thirty different types of bacteria, viruses and parasites can cause STI.

Types of STDs:

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Sexually transmitted diseases include:

What are the 4 new STDs?

Though there are more than 30 Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the commonly transmitted ones are syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea. However, the newer STDs Mycoplasma genitalium, Neisseria meningitides, Shigella flexneri, and Lymphogranuloma vender um are seeing an upsurge in cases and an increased incidence of antibiotic resistance.

What STD stays with you for life?

Sexually Transmitted Diseases may be due to bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. Nowadays, treatment is quite possible in most STDs but there are still some of them which do not have a cure and stay a lifetime. Those STDs include HIV syndrome, hepatitis B, Genital herpes, Human papillomavirus infection, and cytomegalovirus infection.

What are the symptoms of STD?

All STDs do not show symptoms so treatments can sometimes get delayed. But some infections come with some symptoms:

Symptoms of STDs in Men:

  • Penile discharge
  • Painful inter course
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Painless sore around penis

Symptoms of STDs in Women:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Whitish vaginal or painful inter course
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Painless sore around vagina
  • Heavy greenish discharge with a foul odour
  • Vaginal itching or burning around the vagina

How to diagnose STDs?

Many home testing kits are available to check your hunch if you experience any of the symptoms regarding STD's. Don't solely rely on them as they may not always reliable.

Regular screening with a Pap smear Test can prevent or detect most cases of early-stage HPV caused cervical cancer. Always remember to get tested for STDs at the doctor’s clinic or in a hospital. Don't just rely on home testing kits.

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Can you get STD from the toilet seat?

STDs are usually transmitted during sexual activities. It can be transmitted during oral, vaginal, anal sex and close skin-to-skin contact. The possibility of transmission of STDs in absence of sexual activities is bleak. However, the transmission may occur theoretically.

How treatment of STDs are done?

  • Chlamydia: Persons with chlamydia should abstain from sex for seven days after the single dose of antibiotics or until the completion of a seven day course of antibiotics.
  • Genital herpes: It cannot be cured but can be controlled with medications.
  • HPV: It cannot be cured but can be prevented with vaccines and controlled with medications.
  • Syphilis: It can be treated with a single injection of antibiotic if recognized during the early stages, usually within one year of infection. If not it could not be recognized during early stages, then syphilis may need longer period treatment with antibiotics.
  • Trichomoniasis: It can be treated with a single dose of antibiotics, usually either metronidazole or tinidazole, taken by mouth.
  • Hepatitis B: It can be treated with antiviral medications and can be prevented with vaccination.
  • Gonorrhoea: It can be treated with antibiotics.
  • HIV/ Aids: Persons who may have a higher risk of HIV infection can obtain HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP which consist of HIV medication known as Truvada from their doctors and should take this consistently to prevent HIV. AIDS can be prevented in those who are suffering from HIV by early initiation of antiretroviral therapy.

Some of these diseases can be treated with antibiotics like azithromycin, cefixime and metronidazole. Treatments can reduce the symptoms and progression of most of these infections.

What antibiotics treat Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

Sexually Transmitted Diseases can be treated by the application of some of the antibiotics such as in the case of gonorrhea, a third-generation antibiotic like ceftriaxone is preferred, while in the case of chlamydia, antibiotics like azithromycin are suitable for treating the disease. In case if a person is allergic to ceftriaxone, a combination of oral azithromycin with oral or injectable gentamicin may work.

Can STD be cured completely?

STD can be caused by bacteria or viruses. If bacteria are the causative agent then they may be cured with antibiotics if initiated early in the course of illness. STD caused by a virus can only be managed to give symptomatic relief. The vaccine against hepatitis B is available but it can protect against hepatitis B only if given well in advance prior to infection.

Are there any side effects of STD treatment?

Medicines for the treatment or control of sexually transmitted diseases may cause some side effects such as an allergic reaction, have itching, redness and swelling in the skin. Some kind of germs may even cause development of cancer. Some viral infections like hepatitis B and HIV can cause serious illness and may result in death. Medications for chlamydia can cause nausea and vomiting, belly pain or cramps, vaginal itching or discharge.

After the treatment with antibiotics, patient who was suffering from syphilis can experience fever, headaches, joint or muscle pain and nausea and chills. Side effects of HIV medication are- hypersensitivity reaction, anemia, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, neuropathy, rash, insomnia, fatigue, loss of appetite etc. like this many other medications for other STDs may have side effects.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Even if the symptoms go away during the treatment patients must continue their course of medication. Doctors will generally prescribe blood tests to ensure that the patients are responding to the medications given. Sex partners must be get tested too if they need.

It is suggested to avoid unsafe sex and to use condoms while having sexual intercourse as the person has a chance of getting re-infected with the disease. For some infections, it is suggested to get tested regularly for sexually transmitted diseases.

Can STD be cured?

Many STDs can be cured with antibiotics or other treatments:

  • Trichomoniasis
  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia

Which STD is not curable?

Few STDs can’t be cured but can still be managed with treatments

  • HPV
  • Genital herpes
  • HIV

STDs from oral sex:

Oral sex is a form of sexual activity that involves the use of mouth, lips, or tongue to arouse the sex organ (penis or vagina) or anus of a sex partner. Although the risk of contracting STDs from oral sex is far lower than other forms of sex, it is still significant. In fact, exposing yourself to unprotected oral sex multiple times can increase your risk of getting infected with STDs.

Therefore, you should take the following measures to reduce your risk of getting STDs from oral sex:

  • For mouth-to-penis oral sex: Envelope the penis with a non-lubricated latex condom.
  • For mouth-to-vagina contact or mouth to anus contact: Use a dental dam

Risk factors of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

There are certain factors that can affect your likelihood of contracting or developing Sexually Transmitted Disease. Those are:

  • Having unprotected sex
  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • Drug abuse
  • Sharing needles

Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention

There are certain measures you can take in order to reduce your risk of contracting STDs. Some of those ways are:

  • Practice safe sex
  • Avoid multiple sex partners
  • Get yourself vaccinated
  • Avoid alcohol or drug abuse

What is the cost of STD treatment in India?

Cost of treatment will be determined by fees of doctor and the type of STD a patient is affected with, stage of the disease and medications chosen for a particular patient. Many low cost STD checking packages are also available. Cost of treatment will vary.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Permanency cannot be guaranteed in many cases because infections can return or the symptoms or infection may not have disappeared with the treatment. But there have been many cases where the curable diseases have been effectively cured.

How long does it take for an STD to go away?

STDs caused by bacteria like chlamydia usually require two weeks of treatment if the treatment is initiated early in the course of Illness. STDs caused by viruses like HIV, Hepatitis, Herpes, Human papillomavirus, and cytomegaloviruses can only be managed symptomatically, though they will remain for a lifetime.

What are the home remedies to the treat STD's?

Amongst many home remedies:

  • Echinacea is highly appreciated as this herb is used to treat many infections including STDs as it boosts the immune system and stimulates hormone secretion in the body
  • Garlic can prevent the risks of STDs as garlic contain antiviral and germ-killing power that may effectively purify the whole system.
  • Yogurt is very well known for its natural probiotics which make it ideal for fighting infections throughout the body.
  • Probiotics can help in the growth of good bacteria in the body.
  • Lemon juice which can reduce the pain associated with the STDs through its astringent properties, lemon balm, aloe vera gel, neem leaves, milk thistle, cranberry juice, tea tree oil etc.
Summary: Sexually Transmitted Diseases may be due to bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. The common STDs are syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, Mycoplasma genitalium, Neisseria meningitides, Shigella flexneri, and Lymphogranuloma venereum which are seeing an upsurge in cases and an increased incidence of antibiotic resistance. They can be treated by the application of some of the antibiotics such as in the case of gonorrhea, third-generation antibiotics like ceftriaxone are preferred, while in the case of chlamydia, antibiotics like azithromycin are suitable for treating the disease.

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Written ByDr. Ajay Kumar Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)Sexology
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