CHLAMYDIA

Overview

  • Chlamydia is a common STI that can infect both men and women.
  • It can cause serious permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system, which can make it difficult or impossible for the woman to get pregnant.

Transmission

  • You can get chlamydia by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has chlamydia.
  • If pregnant, you can give chlamydia to your baby during childbirth.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Most people who have chlamydia have no symptoms.
  • Women with symptoms may notice an abnormal vaginal discharge and/or a burning sensation when urinating.
  • Symptoms in men may include a discharge from their penis; a burning sensation when urinating; pain and swelling in one or both testicles (although this is less common).
  • Men and women can also get infected with chlamydia in their rectum, either by having receptive anal sex, or by spread from another infected site (such as the vagina). This can cause rectal pain; discharge; bleeding.

Testing

  • Your healthcare provider may ask you to provide a urine sample or may use a cotton swab to get a sample from your vagina to perform laboratory tests to diagnose chlamydia.

Treatment

  • Cured with medication.
  • You should be tested again about three months after you are treated. Sex partner(s) should be tested and treated.
  • Abstain from sex until treatment is complete.

Complications (if left untreated)

  • For women, chlamydia can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system and lead to long-term pelvic pain, inability to get pregnant, and potentially deadly ectopic pregnancy.
  • For men, infection sometimes spreads to the tube that carries sperm from the testicles, causing pain and fever. Rarely, chlamydia can prevent a man from being able to have children.

Prevention

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Be monogamous (have sex with one uninfected partner who only has sex with you).
  • Use condoms consistently and correctly every time you have sex.
  • Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet. (2017, February 16). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-chlamydia.html

GONORRHEA

Overview

  • Gonorrhea is a common STI that can infect both men and women.
  • It is common in young people, ages 15-24.
  • It can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat.

Transmission

  • You can get gonorrhea by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea.
  • A pregnant woman with gonorrhea can give the infection to her baby during childbirth.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Men can experience a burning sensation when urinating; a white, yellow or green discharge from the penis; painful or swollen testicles (although this is less common).
  • Women can experience painful or burning sensation when urinating; increased vaginal discharge; vaginal bleeding between periods.
  • Rectal infections in both men and women may include discharge; anal itching; soreness; bleeding; painful bowel movements.

Testing

  • Urine can be used to test for gonorrhea, however, if you have had oral and/or anal sex, swabs may be used to collect samples from your throat, rectum, a man’s urethra, or a woman’s cervix.

Treatment

  • Cured with medicine.
  • Sex partner(s) should be tested and treated.
  • Abstain from sex until treatment is complete.
  • If your symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, get checked by your healthcare provider.

Complications (if left untreated)

  • Women with untreated gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can lead to formation of scar tissue that blocks fallopian tubes, ectopic pregnancy, infertility, and long term pelvic/abdominal pain.
  • Men with untreated gonorrhea can cause a painful condition in the tubes attached to the testicles, which may cause him to be sterile.
  • Rarely, untreated gonorrhea can spread to your blood or joints, which can be life-threatening.

Prevention

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Be monogamous (have sex with one uninfected partner who only has sex with you).
  • Use condoms consistently and correctly every time you have sex.
  • Gonorrhea – CDC Fact Sheet. (2017, February 16). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stdfact-gonorrhea.html

GENITAL HERPES

Overview

  • Genital herpes is a common STI caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2).
  • HSV-1 and HSV-2 are very similar to each other; HSV-1 tends to prefer the mouth and HSV-2 tends to prefer the genital area, although either can occur in either or both parts of the body.
  • Herpes is caused by a virus that can be treated but not cured.

Transmission

  • Skin-to-skin contact when sores are present or between break outs as infected skin shreds.
  • Passed easily during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
  • Passed from an infected mother to her newborn during vaginal childbirth.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Usually appear within 2 weeks after the virus is transmitted.
  • Signs and symptoms may include a tingling sensation, dull ache, or genital itching. Small sores that look like pimples or blisters may appear.
  • Others: painful or difficult urination, fever, flu-like symptoms, severe vaginal itching/pain and painful intercourse.
  • If someone has an outbreak, the first one is often the worst one.
  • Subsequent outbreaks can appear weeks, months, or even years after the first, but are almost always of shorter duration and less severe.
  • Most people who have herpes never have a single outbreak, but can still infect sex partners through shedding.

Testing

  • If a lesion is present, a provider can take a specimen from the open sore.
  • A blood test that looks for antibodies exists, but is expensive and not routinely done.

Treatment

  • There is no cure for herpes, but the condition can be treated with antiviral medications.
  • Avoid sex during treatment until provider says it’s OK.
  • All sex partners should be evaluated by a provider and treated as indicated.

Prevention

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Be monogamous (have sex with one uninfected partner who only has sex with you).
  • Use condoms consistently and correctly every time you have sex.
  • Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet. (2017, February 16). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-genitalherpes.html

HPV

Overview

  • Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STD and there are many different types of HPV.
  • Some types can cause health problems including genital warts, cervical cancer and other cancers including the vulva, vagina, penis, anus.
  • HPV can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (called oropharyngeal cancer).

Transmission

  • You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus.
  • It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex.
  • Anyone who is sexually active can get HPV, even if you have had sex with only one person.

Signs & Symptoms

  • In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems.
  • But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems like genital warts and cancer.
  • Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or group of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower.

Testing

  • There is no test to find out a person’s “HPV status” and there is no approved HPV test to find HPV in the mouth or throat.
  • However, your healthcare provider can inspect genital warts and diagnose and regular pap smears detect pre-cancerous tissues.

Treatment

  • There is no treatment for the HPV.
  • However, there are treatments for health problems that HPV can cause.
  • Genital warts can be treated by your healthcare provider or with prescription medication.
  • Cervical pre-cancer can be treated (prevention is always better than treatment).
  • Other HPV-related cancers are also more treatable when diagnosed and treated early.

Prevention

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Get vaccinated: CDC recommends ages 11 to 12, get two doses of HPV vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV.
  • Women between the ages of 21 to 65 years need to get screened for cervical cancer.
  • Use condoms consistently and correctly every time you have sex.
  • Limit your number of sex partner(s) or be a monogamous relationship with a partner.
  • Genital HPV Infection – CDC Fact Sheet. (2017, February 16). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.html

HIV/AIDS

Overview

  • HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus and it can lead to acquired immunodeficiency (AIDS) if not treated.
  • HIV attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the T-helper cells which helps the immune system fight off infections.

Transmission

  • HIV can be transmitted through sharing needles to inject drugs, mother to baby, and sexual contact of semen, vaginal fluid, blood, and breast milk.
  • HIV is NOT transmitted by air or water, salvia, sweat, tears, closed mouth kissing, insects, pets, sharing toilets, food or drinks.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Some people experience flu-like symptoms within 2-4 weeks of infection. These can include: fever, chills, rash, night sweats, and muscle aches. However, some people may not have any symptoms during this stage.
  • Sore throat, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, or mouth ulcers.
  • These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks.

Testing

  • Your healthcare provider may take a blood sample or do an oral swab.

Treatment

  • No effective cure currently exists for HIV.
  • But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled with a treatment called antiretroviral therapy (ART).
  • If taken the right away (everyday) ART can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV, keep them healthy, and lowering their chances of infecting others.

Prevention

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Use condoms consistently and correctly every time you have sex.
  • Limit your number of sex partners or be a monogamous relationship with a partner.
  • Never share needles for injection drug use, tattoos, piercing, etc.).
  • HIV/AIDS – CDC Fact Sheet. (2017, February 16). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stdfact-HIV/AIDS.html

Syphilis

Overview

  • Syphilis is a STI that can cause serious health problems if it is not treated.
  • Syphilis is divided into stages (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary), and there are different signs and symptoms associated with each stage.

Transmission

  • Direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
  • Sores can be found on or around the penis, vagina, or anus, or in the rectum, on the lips, or the mouth.
  • Syphilis can also be spread from an infect mother to her unborn baby.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Several distinct stages.
  • Primary stage
    • Appears 10-90 days (average 21 days) after exposure.
    • A small, round, painless sore appears where syphilis entered the body.
    • The sore will last 3-6 weeks and heals on its own. Even though the sore does away, infection is still present.
  • Secondary Stage
    • Appears 6-12 weeks after initial exposure.
    • Usually shows up as a body rash; can also appear on the bottoms of hands and soles of feet.
    • Rash will clear up on its own without treatment. Even though rash goes away, infection is still present.
    • Other signs and symptoms during this phase include swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and fatigue.
  • Tertiary Stage
  • Appears 2-5 years after exposure. Rarely seen in the United States.
  • Attacks the internal organs, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints.
  • Can cause paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, and insanity.

Testing

  • A blood test looking for syphilis antibodies.

Treatment

  • Cured with penicillin.
  • Avoid sex until provider says it’s OK.
  • Obtain follow-up as directed by provider.
  • All sex partners must be treated.
  • Difficult to treat in 3rd stage and if co-infected with HIV.

Prevention

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Be monogamous (have sex with one uninfected partner who only has sex with you).
  • Use condoms consistently and correctly every time you have sex.
  • Syphilis – CDC Fact Sheet. (2017, February 16). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/STDFact-Syphilis.html

HEPATITIS

Overview

  • “Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver.
  • Toxins, certain drugs, some diseases, heavy alcohol use, and bacterial and the viral infections can all cause hepatitis.
  • The most common types of Hepatitis is A, B, and C.

Transmission

  • Hepatitis A
    • Spread primarily through sexual or household contact with an infected person.
    • Passed through the feces (poop) of an infected person – for example, by oral to anal contact or handling a condom after anal sex.
    • Spread through poor sanitation (cleanliness) like forgetting to wash hands after going to the bathroom or changing a baby’s diaper.
  • Hepatitis B
    • Spread most often through sexual contact and sharing injection drug needles or other equipment used to shoot up drugs (such as works, cotton, cookers, etc.)
    • It lives in body fluids such as blood, semen and vaginal secretions.
  • Hepatitis C
    • Spread primarily through injection drug use but may also be spread sexually in rare cases.
    • Generally found in the blood of an infected person.

    Signs & Symptoms

    • If symptoms appear for hepatitis B or C, they will appear more gradually than they do with hepatitis A. Unlike hepatitis A, the hepatitis B and C viruses can stay in the body – sometimes for a lifetime – and may eventually cause chronic (long lasting), serious liver diseases.
    • Symptoms of hepatitis include yellow eyes and skin, abdominal (stomach) pain or swelling, muscle weakness, joint pain, rashes or arthritis, nausea or vomiting, dark urine, loss of appetite, fever, and fatigue (exhaustion).
    • Sometimes there are no visible symptoms, but there are tests that your healthcare providers can do to find out whether you have one of the hepatitis viruses.
    • When hepatitis damages the liver’s cells, scar tissue is formed and those cells can no longer function. With fewer healthy liver cells, the body begins to show symptoms ranging from mild (such as fatigue) to severe (such as mental confusion).
    • Although many cases of hepatitis are not a serious threat to health, the disease can lead to liver cancer, liver failure and death.

    Testing

    • Blood test.

    Treatment

    • While there is no guaranteed cure for hepatitis, there are treatments for hepatitis B and C which might help.

    Prevention

    • There are vaccines available to prevent being infected with hepatitis A and hepatitis B. The vaccines are safe, and you can get them from a doctor. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
    • For hepatitis A and B: Abstain from sex, Be monogamous (have sex with one uninfected partner who only has sex with you); Use condoms consistently and correctly every time you have sex.
    • For hepatitis C: Don’t share injection drug equipment.
    • Hepatitis – CDC Fact Sheet. (2017, February 16). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/stdfact-hepatitis.html

    CRABS (PUBIC LICE)

    Overview

    • Crabs are tiny little blood-sucking bugs (lice) that live in pubic hair and cause a lot of itching.

    Transmission

    • Crabs are usually transmitted through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. These little bugs can literally jump from the pubic hair of one person to that of another during sex.
    • They can also be transmitted through sleeping in infested bedding, wearing infested clothing, and possibly from contact with an infested toilet seat.
    • Crabs can still be transmitted even if you use a latex condom to help prevent other STIs.

    Signs & Symptoms

    • Usually, crabs will be found in the pubic area, but lice can also infest armpits, eyelashes, beards, mustaches and even head hair.
    • The main symptoms is intense itching. The itching usually comes from an allergic reaction to lice bites.

    Testing

    • Visual inspection.

    Treatment

    • Crabs can be treated by putting a liquid medicine directly on your pubic hair. You can get a prescription from your doctor. You can buy over-the-counter treatments as well. After treatment, a fine-toothed comb can be used to remove the crabs and their eggs.
    • Notify any sex partners immediately so they can be treated.

    Prevention

    • Visually inspect your partners genitals before any close physical contact.
    • Make sure you wash and dry your clothes, bedding, towels, etc. with hot water to kill crabs and their eggs.
    • Parasites, Lice, Pubic “Crab” Lice – CDC Fact Sheet. (2017, February 16). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/pubic/gen_info/faqs.html

    SCABIES

    Overview

    • Scabies is similar to pubic lice, but the bugs are too small to be seen. The bugs dig under the skin.

    Transmission

    • Because scabies is highly contagious (able to be spread to another person), family members often must be treated, too.

    Signs & Symptoms

    • Scabies causes very itchy small sores all over the body.
    • Scabies rarely is found on the neck or face.

    Testing

    • Visual inspection.

    Treatment

    • A liquid medicine applied on the entire body treats scabies and is available by prescription only.

    Prevention

    • Visually inspect your partner’s genitals before any close physical contact.
    • Clothes, bed sheets and towels must be washed after treatment since the bugs can live in them.
    • Scabies – CDC Fact Sheet. (2017, February 16). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/scabies/gen_info/faqs.html

    Hotlines

    • National Sexually Transmitted Disease Hotline
    • Phone Number: 1-800-227-8922

      Information and referrals to free and low-cost public clinics. Operators can answer general questions on prevention, symptoms, transmission and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. Open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Voice Information System (24/7)

      Phone Number: 1-800-232-3228

      A 24-hour voice information hotline for questions concerning STD, HIV, and TB information.

    • TEEN Line (24/7)

      Phone Number: 1-800-443-8336

      Peer-to-peer counseling for teens.