Sexually transmitted diseases constitute a major health problem in Southern Africa. Significantly, over one million people seek treatment for Sexually transmitted diseases each year. Firstly, in males the symptoms of a Sexually transmitted disease include: Burning urine, painful testis, penile discharge, sores on the penis and swollen lymph nodes in the groin. Secondly, symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases in woman include: vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain, painful intercourse, vaginal itching, sores on the external genitals and lymph nodes in the groin.
Above all, it is important to seek immediate medical attention, if symptoms like the above are experienced.
The incidence of sexually transmitted diseases and co-infection with HIV is high and it is therefore important to take the necessary precautions. These include condoms, spermicides and abstinence till in a stable relationship.
A variety of organisms cause sexually transmitted diseases. The diseases may present in many different ways. Below are the common causes of sexually transmitted diseases:
Warts, human papilloma virus (hpv)
The wart virus causes an overgrowth of skin, forming lumps. There are many types that affect different parts of the body. Direct contact transfers this sexually transmitted disease. The warts are found on the vulva, penis and around the anus. They may be raised and cauliflower shaped, or flat and smooth. Furthermore warts can be single growths or in groups which vary in size. Warts are treated with the application of a caustic paint, Podophyllin. Further treatments include freezing, laser treatment and cutting them off. Recurrence rates are high as the virus remains in the body. Safe sex is the best method of prevention.
Herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV virus. Firstly the most common type appears around the mouth. It is also known as a cold sore. The second type occurs around the genital areas or anus. Both types of this virus can cause infection anywhere in the body.Transmission is by direct contact. At the site of infection there is often an itching or tingling sensation. An outbreak of blisters follows the itching. The blisters then form scabs. It is contagious in all stages. HSV is treated using Acyclovir as an ointment. Safe sex is the best method of prevention. However, a healthy diet, exercise, rest as well as reducing stress will help prevent further outbreaks.
HIV and HIV/AIDS
The HIV virus causes damage to the body’s immune system, which can progress to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). There are two main types of the virus, HIV1 and HIV2. Transmission is by blood, semen or vaginal fluids during intercourse as well as shared needles. There is no vaccine or cure for HIV/AIDS. Treatment is available to manage the various infections and cancers associated with it. Most importantly, safe sex and single use syringes are the best forms of prevention.Hepatitis, is a virus that can effect the liver. It is spread by sexual contact, exposure to blood and from mother to child. Shared needles also spread Hepatitis. There are three types A B and C. Hepatitis B is the toughest strain. Some people infected with Hepatitis B may carry the virus all their lives. One quarter of these “carriers” will die from liver disease and cancer. Vaccination, practicing “safe sex” as well as single use syringes can prevent Hepatitis B.
Pubic lice (crabs)
Pubic Lice are parasites that live on the skin. They suck blood up to six times a day from their human host. They inject saliva under the skin. As a result there is an itching irritation and this is often the first sign of infection. Transmitted through close bodily contact and look like a small freckle at the base of the pubic hair. Treatment: A 1% Permethrin cream.
Scabies are a parasite similar to pubic lice, the female burrows into the skin to lay eggs. After that the young nymphs migrate back to the surface of the skin to mate. The process of burrowing irritates the skin, this causes scratching to relieve the symptom. The scratching helps the mite to migrate further over the body as the eggs and adults can be transferred under the fingernails. Transmission is by close physical contact. Treatment: A 5% Permethrin cream applied to the whole body. This is available from chemists.
Chlamydia trachomatis is a germ that can infect the urethra and rectum. Unprotected sex transmits the germ. The symptoms are usually a discharge, stinging when urinating and a tickling sensation along the penile shaft. Your GP diagnoses Chlamydia. Antibiotics treat Chlamydia.
Gonorrhea is a bacterium that causes infection that shows as a discharge from the penile shaft accompanied by pain when urinating.
A bacterium causes syphilis. Unprotected sex transmits the disease. The first stage shows as a small sore or chancre, which is usually not painful and can be found anywhere on the body. Six weeks later the second stage appears as a rash accompanied by swinging temperature and weight loss The third stage attacks the brain, heart and nervous system which leads to insanity, paralysis and death. The treatment is antibiotics.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR USE OF CONDOMS:
- Use Latex condoms because they offer greater protection against HIV and other STDs.
- Store condoms in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
- Do not use condoms in damaged packages or those that show obvious signs of age (e.g. those that are brittle, sticky or discolored). The prevention of infection or pregnancy is not guaranteed
- To prevent puncture handle condoms with care.
- To prevent exposure to fluids that may contain infectious agents put the condom on before any genital contact. Finally, hold the tip of the condom and unroll it onto the erect penis, leaving space at the tip to collect semen. The tip of the condom must not contain air.
- Use only water based lubricants. Do not use petroleum or oil-based lubricants because they weaken the latex and may cause breakage.
- Use of condoms containing spermicides may provide some additional protection against STDs. However vaginal use of spermicides along with condoms is likely to provide still greater protection.
- If a condom breaks, it should be replaced immediately. Moreover, if ejaculation occurs after condom breakage, the immediate use of spermicide is suggested. However, the protective value of postejaculation application of spermicides in reducing the risk of STD transmission is unknown.
- Take care that the condom does not slip off the penis before withdrawal. Hold the base of the condom throughout withdrawal. Withdrawn the penis while it is still erect.
- Above all, never reuse condoms.
In conclusion if you find yourself struggling with any sexual problems that are related to Early Ejaculation, Erectile Dysfunction, Low Libido, STI or Circumcision. Do get in touch with us to book a consultation with our professional doctors who specializes in Men’s Sexual Health.
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