Wednesday, September 3, 2014

OMG! STD?! - Unraveling the Itches and Burns pt. 2

I'm just going to pick up from where we left off in the last post, and jump right into the list! Remember the acronyms as you read.

STI - Sexually Transmitted Infection      HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus
STD - Sexually Transmitted Disease      AIDS - Auto Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome

Widely known:
Genital warts - These fall under the category of STIs, technically. They are white-ish in color and come in either smooth, tiny bumps or large bumps that resemble a cauliflower. Caused by a type of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), these will appear on the genitals or anus. Genital warts can also be confused with a few other things like pimples, blood blisters, and sebaceous glands. 

Genital warts are passed by coming into contact with infected genital fluids, like during vaginal and anal sex. It can also be passed by non-penetrative sex, as well. If you're concerned that you might have genital warts, please check with your care specialist or a health clinic and get tested. Symptoms are likely to occur a couple of months after contraction. 

While there isn't a treatment for HPV, there are treatments for genital warts. They include liquids that stop cell growth to liquid nitrogen to freeze them or surgically removing them. Personally, I'd go with the liquid. If you do have them, remember to use protection during sex and keep your anatomical downstairs clean (don't use scented soaps! The essential oils will irritate the warts!). Ladies, please remember to schedule pap smears in order to check your business for warts or other infections. 

Herpes - Did you know that we're all likely to contract a form of herpes? I've got one right now, it's called a cold sore. There are two kinds of herpes, oral and sexual. Cold sores are a type of herpes that can be obtained via kissing or oral sex. That's the bump on your lip or tongue that feels sore and bothersome. The other is acquired by having anal or vaginal sex. To take care of yourself and your loved one(s), consider waiting before kissing or having sex until the sores are gone.

The symptoms of herpes will appear within a week, taking form of a headache, backache, itching, pain while peeing, and blisters. A quick check with your doctor or health clinic will mean some testing, but you will also get advice on how to deal with them. 

There's no cure for herpes, but they go away over time. The virus can resurface at times, but it usually remains hidden. Sometimes health care specialists will sometimes issue you antiviral tablets to keep the outbreaks at bay, though a lot of people recommend to take aspirins, give the sore areas some air, get rest, avoiding sunlight, placing water or ice on sore areas and keeping hydrated as ways to combat against outbreaks.

Syphilis - Syphilis is a contagious disease that can be given to another during sexual contact. It can even be given by long periods of kissing or close contact. Pregnant women can even spread it to their baby, putting the infant at risk. However, it can't be spread by toilet seat sharing or touching the same doorknobs.
There are 3 stages of syphilis: early, secondary, and tertiary. 

  • Early - Development of bug bite-like sores around the genitals and/or mouth within 3 weeks. 
  • Secondary - Copper-colored rash on hands and feet occurring between 1-3 months after contraction, swollen lymph glands, and flu-like feelings.
  • Tertiary - Without treatment, it can begin to take form of blindness, impotence, heart/brain/nerve problems.
Please check with your doctor or health care provider if you think you have syphilis. It will only take a blood test to find out what's going on. A few treatments include penicillin injections or antibiotic tablets. 

At this point, I'm starting to get tired and a little itchy. Maybe it's just the talk about all of these infections and stuff. To alleviate some tension, here's a cute picture.

Aaand, we're back.

Pubic Lice (Crabs) - Much like head lice, these are insects that attach themselves to the genital areas of people. They cause itching and can be easily found via the eggs that they leave around. Pubic lice are spread through sexual contact among adults and can be a sign of sexual abuse in children. 

Lice can inhabit things that people often come in contact with, like clothing or bed spreads. As per usual, please see your health clinic (I know, I sound like a broken record right now). To treat them at home, use a lice-removing shampoo to kill the existing lice. After, go through with a comb and tweezers to remove the eggs. Be sure to wash clothes and bedding in hot water before continuing treatments. Anything that can't be washed in hot water, store in a air-tight bag for up to two weeks. Continue to treat yourself for another week and a half, and refrain from having sex. Please have family and sexual partners check themselves for public lice to ensure that everyone gets treated and is healthy. 

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease - PID is an infection that sometimes has no symptoms, but is very common. This infection harms women's reproductive systems, and is usually caused by uncured or untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea. If there are symptoms, they come in the forms of vaginal discharge, pain during periods, fevers, stomach illness, back pain, and pain during sex. It is commonly spread via sex with someone infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea. Please inform your sexual partner(s) if you have PID so they can be checked for STDs. 

After a care provider gives you a pelvic exam and determines the treatment needed, you'll be recommended to take at least a week to rest and remain hydrated, as well as taking some pain killers. Don't use tampons!

Some types of birth control include protection against PID, but condoms and other forms of protection are still recommended. If left untreated, it can cause infertility or pregnancy difficulties. 

HIV - One of the most common and dangerous STDs, HIV is the precursor to AIDS. This virus reproduces by itself and goes after other viruses before then attacking your T-cells and your immune system, the system in control of regulating and killing off illnesses in your body. Once your immune system is weakened, other common sicknesses can get in and keep you sick and your body can't fight them. 

HIV can transmitted through sex, drug injection use, pregnancy, exposure at work, and blood transfusions. Bodily fluids that can contain the virus are blood, semen, pre-cum, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. If any of these come into contact with damaged tissues (torn anal tissues, cuts, etc) or mucous membranes (inside of your mouth) on your body, you can acquire the virus. It is rare that a mother spreads HIV to her baby during childbirth or that someone gets HIV through a blood transfusion. Much like the others, HIV has flu-like symptoms, including rashes. However, most people don't show symptoms or even know that they have the virus.

There are drugs one can take to reduce the viral load in the body, but it isn't a cure. Please be sure to get yourself tested regularly if you're concerned about contracting HIV.

AIDS - This is a later stage of HIV, where the immune system is severely weakened. During this time, your immune system will have a hard time fighting any diseases. Originally, the virus was believed to only be contracted by men who have sex with other men and was named GRIDS (Gay-Related Immunodeficiency Syndrome), but research done in the 1980's showed that women were found with it, too. 

Symptoms include:

  • Flu-like symptoms (fever, sore throat, fatigue, swollen glands)
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Rashes

Because symptoms don't always show, please get yourself tested! AIDS is a serious problem and it affects everyone. There is currently no cure for AIDS.

If you're keen to watching movies, please take a look at "Rent"(a musical) and "And the Band Played On" (a live-action feature about AIDS research in the 1980's). 

To learn more about AIDS and HIV, please visit the AIDS website and the Avert website

Lesser known:

Scabies - Highly contagious and extremely itchy, scabies is caused by a mite that bites or burrows into the top layer of skin, and is spread through direct contact with skin or contact with clothing or personal items of the person infected. Scabies tend to live on the hands and around the waist, so it makes sense that sexual contact will allow them to travel to the genitals.

Sexual contact is the predominant way of getting scabies, especially among young people. You can get scabies from day care centers, senior centers, and large crowds. It looks like a rash with bumps and blisters that itch often, leading to skin infections if constantly scratched and left untreated. Prescription creams and lotions will help treat scabies, depending on the time and applications. The itching can be cured with basic aspirins and antihistamines. Getting rid of scabies in the home requires to wash all clothing and sealing what can't be washed for up to a week, much the same with public lice.

Chancroid - Chancroid (pronounced SHANG-kroid) is a contagious bacteria passed along through sexual, skin-to-skin contact. They appear as open sores on the penis, vulva, and anus. These sores may be pus-filled or just painful and swollen. It can be treated with antibiotics, but is also easily mixed up with herpes.

Trichomoniasis - Trich mostly affects women, but can also affect men. It begins with a small organism passed along during sex. It mainly irritates the genitals, causing discharge, burning during peeing and general discomfort. It can take up to a month for symptoms to appear. An antibiotic is prescribed after an exam by a care provider. If left untreated, it could lead to HIV. Taking precautions before sex can ensure that everyone is safe. 

In case you want to take a peek at what some of these look like, here's the link to a website called Avert. This is a safer sex information site with a lot of cool things in it! I'd highly suggest visiting it. It also helped me gather more knowledge on some topics covered in this post!

Also, should you need an incentive, here's a list of odd flavored and unflavored condoms you can purchase online. 

  • Bourbon/whiskey/beer flavored
  • Chicken/bacon/gravy flavored
  • Ruler condoms to measure your handsome wiener.
  • Mountain Dew condoms!
  • Eco-friendly condoms
  • Condoms with your face on the package
  • Presidential condoms...can I hear a "yes, we can!"?!

Now, I'm going to watch a funny movie and get to sleep. I hope this post was helpful and informative! Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a message or comment below. Don't forget to share on Google+ and other networking sites. I'm on Twitter and Facebook, so don't be shy! Leave me a message! :)

Take care and be safe, everyone!
- Luka

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