STD is often asymptomatic or only slight, everyday symptoms occur so you should ask for STD screening, too! In case of an STD infection the problem is noticed usually when complications –pelvic inflammatory disease, prostatic inflammation, infertility, cervical cancer- have developed. Precede the dangerous complications of STDs!
What is an STD?
STD is the abbreviation of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Recently this abbreviation is used instead of the obsolete expression of “venereal disease” to those infectious diseases caused by different pathogens that are mainly transmitted by sexual intercourse. The most common pathogens causing an STD are: bacteria, chlamydia, mycoplasma, viruses, fungi and parasites. More than 30 pathogens may be transmitted by sexual intercourse.
Who can get an STD infection?
Anybody can get an STD infection who has an active sexual life. A source of infection occurs when the genital organs touch the partner’s genitals, the mucous membrane of the mouth or rectum during a sexual intercourse. Therefore not only vaginal intercourse is considered as sexual intercourse but oral and anal sex too, and in addition some of the pathogens may be transferred by a touch of a hand, and may spread through sharing inanimate objects.
What symptoms and complaints are caused by STD infections?
Usually no change occurs following the exposure to the pathogen and the infected person doesn’t even know that he/she has been infected, e.g. HIV. There are pathogens that only cause symptoms and complaints following a relatively long incubation period, e.g. HPV infection causing genital warts. Others cause explicitly unpleasant symptoms within a couple of hours or days e.g. gonorrhea. And there are others that are not detected for years, and only the chronic infection is revealed years later by the complications difficult to manage e.g. chlamydia, ureaplasma, mycoplasma. But we often encounter with infections recurring from time to time that are difficult to keep in track e.g. vaginal yeast infection, genital herpes.
Typically the STD infections are asymptomatic for a longer period and may be detected only by screenings.
Who and when should anyone participate in an STD screening?
Everybody who is active sexually, especially:
- both partners before having a baby
- both partners in a new relation before the first sexual intercourse without using a condom
- after a sexual intercourse with a new partner but without using a condom
- in case of any urinal or genital symptom or complaint, especially when it is recurring or not responding to therapy (eruptions or desquamation on genitals, unpleasant smell, discharge, itchiness, painful urination , warts, papulas, lesions etc.)
- in case of lower abdominal pain, arthritis, inflammation of the eye, eruptions, feverish condition, enlarged lymph nodes.