STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases, are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. Bacteria, parasites and viruses cause STDs. If left untreated, they can lead to serious, lifelong health problems like blindness, bone deformities, brain damage, cancer, heart disease, infertility, birth defects and even death.
Everyone who is sexually active should get tested for STDs—because not all STDs have symptoms, but all STDs can lead to more serious health issues if left untreated.
Common STDs and their symptoms
Here are some of the most common STDs and their symptoms:
• Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common STDs in the United States. This virus can cause genital warts, but may not appear in everyone. HPV is highly contagious and easily transmitted. If left untreated, HPV may lead to cervical cancer in women.
• Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are very common infections caused by sexual contact with someone else who has the infection. A common sign of gonorrhea is inflammatory discharge from the urethra or vagina. Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that may lead to genital pain, pain during urination, and discharge from the vagina or penis.
• Genital herpes is a virus causing contagious sores on the mouth or genitals. Additional symptoms include skin rash, pain in the vagina or penis and pain during urination.
• HIV is a viral infection that is transmitted through blood contact (e.g., sharing needles) or through sexual contact. Symptoms include chronic fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, persistent fever, headache, upset stomach, sore throat, unexplained weight loss and skin discoloration.
• Hepatitis C and B are viral infections that can be transmitted through blood, semen or other bodily fluids. These infections can lead to chronic liver disease and liver cancer.
If you or a loved one would like to be tested for STDs in a safe, compassionate environment please contact the skilled specialists at Bay Area Physicians. Call 251-344-5900 to schedule an appointment.