Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)


There are now more than twenty disorders recognized as being
transmitted primarily by sexual means. The more familiar STD's are AIDS,
gonorhea, syphilis, chlamydia-related infections, genital herpes, candidiasis,
nonspecific vaginitis, trichomoniasis, pediculosis, scabies, and urinary tract
infections.

GONORRHEA

One of the most frequently encountered communicable diseases in
the U.S. It is caused by the bacterium Neisseria Gonorrihoeae, which is common
all over the world today and can only thrive in human beings. There is no way to
acquire immunity to this disease. Anyone who is sexually active is susceptible
to gonorrhea.
This disease is transmitted by the way of direct contact with
the secretions of mucos membranes such as those of the urethra, cervix, vagina,
anus, eyes and throat.
The contact involved in transmitting gonorrhea is almost always
sexual in nature. It is possible that contaminated fingers can transfer
infection from one region of the body to another, however, this is highly
unlikely because the bacteria dies rapidly when demed the warmth and moisture of
mucous membranes.
Symtoms of infection usually appear within two to ten days after
exposure but might take up to thirty days.
In males, gonorhea usually strikes first at the urethra, the
tube that extends from the bladder to the tip of the penis. A burning sensation
during urination may be experienced due to the irritation of the urethra's
mucosal lining. Many males may also notice and abnormal discharge from the penis.
The penis itself may be red or swollen at the tip. Urination may become more
frequent or difficult. Occasionally, no symptoms are evident immediately.
In females, gonorrhea seems to strike selectively at the cervix
(the entrance of the uterus, but it also can appear elsewhere. As many as 80% of
the females with gonorhea have no immediate signs or symptoms. One symptom in
women is a foul smelling vaginal discharge. Since vaginal discharges are not
uncommon, women should be alert to any change in the color, odor, or other
appearance of discharges. If gonorrhea has affected the urethra, a women may
experience a burning sensation upon urination.
Gonorrhea can also infect the anal region, the oral cavity, and
the eyes. The period of communicability for gonorrhea is uncertain but probaly
lasts as long as discharge continues, anywhere from three to six months.
Precise diagnosis of gonorrhea requires cuttures of discharge
specimens. Under most circumstances gonorrhea is easily treated. It is now clear
however, that larger and larger doses of penicillin may be necessary to kill
some resistant strains.
Untreated gonorrhea may result in irreversible complications.
Infertlity and sterility can develop in males and females. Gonococcal arthritis
in major joints and a generalized infection that irreversibily damages the brain,
heart, liver and other key organs can be produced in either sex.
The most reliable form of protection is the use of condoms
during sexual episodes. The sexually active individual should also be selective
about sexual partners and stay alert to obvious signs and symptoms of disease.
Gonorrhea is known by such street names as
"clap","drip","dose","strain", "gleet", and "jack".

SYPHILIS

Syphilis is perhaps the best known of all the STD's. Once
confined to certain parts of the world, syphilis now occurs universally.
Treponema Pallidum is it's causative agent. It belongs to a group of organisms
that resemble bacteria. Humans provide the only known host for T. Pallidum.
There is no vaceine or other acquired immunity for syphilis. Only about 30% of
the people exposed result in infections.
Syphilis is transmitted by direct contact with infection sores,
called chancres, syphitic skin rashes, or mucous patches on the tongue and mouth
during kissing, necking, petting, or sexual intercourse. It can also be
transmitted from a pregnant woman to a fetus after the fourth month of pregnancy.

The incabation period for syphilis is from ten to ninety days
with twenty on days being the average. The diagnostic blood test for this STD is
likely to be negative during the incubation period.
Syphilis goes through several stages. In its primary stage, it
is characterized by the appearance of a chancre at the first site of infection.
A chancre resmembles a blister, pimple, or raised open sore. It is infectious
and contains a large number of spiral bacteria (spirochetes). Chancres are often
painless and may be hidden in the mouth, throat, vagina, cervix, or anus, making
detection difficult. Chancres tend to heal themselves in two to six weeks but
leave behind thousands of infectious spirochetes. Primary syphilis may be
accompanied by swollen glands near the site of primary infection.
Once the chancre dissappears the secondary stage begins.
Secondary symptoms can occur from six weeks to six months after the primary
infection "disappears". New symptoms usually include the presence of a rash