Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Stages of Syphilis

Most people who have contracted syphilis will be aware of it as there will be sores present. It is passed from one person to another when there is contact made with these sores. The main way the transmission occurs is through sexual contact. It can also be picked up by kissing. Syphilis is a particularly horrible STD as it can also be passed to a child if the mother is infected while she is pregnant.

How common is this disease?

As it is estimated, there are more than 12 million cases each year. As a result there are more cases being caught early and treated. The UK has not avoided cases of syphilis although in comparison to many countries it is not as prolific. The good news is that syphilis can be treated successfully as long as it is detected at an early stage. All that is needed are antibiotics and it is for this reason that an STD test should be taken. Failure to identify and treat syphilis can cause serious health issues. These include the following:paralysis, stroke or blindness. It could cause death as well.There are four recognized stages when syphilis is developing and the longer it is left the harder it will be to treat.

Primary stage – A sore will appear and this will normally be around the genitals. It will be invisible and during this time the sufferer will be contagious. They will however not be aware of their status and may spread it to a number of people. This stage will take between three weeks and three months for it to become clear that there is a problem. For men the sore will appear on the penis and for women it will be around the vagina. Sometimes the sores develop in the reproductive organs rather than on the outside where they can be detected. It takes about 3 to 6 weeks for the sores to heal but the infection is still there and can still be passed on.

Stage 2 – The rash is now visible and spreads around the body appearing as pus filled spots. The symptoms now will be weakness, weight loss, fever, hair loss, swollen lymph nodes and irregular pupils. Again the spots will go but the infection is still there.

Stage 3 – It could now appear that the syphilis has gone as there are no signs but this stage is dangerous as organ damage could occur. This could take a year or 20 years and over this time the symptoms can appear and disappear.

Tertiary stage- This is when heart problems start along with blindness and mental problems. The sores will be much more noticeable and by now it could be too late for treatment. But if one can acknowledge that they have a problem and get treatment, the worst could be avoided.

With syphilis the STD tests vary but they are mostly blood tests. They can be bought for use at home. Spinal fluid can also be tested but this has to be carried out by a doctor.

How to Reduce the Risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

There are a wide range of sexually transmitted diseases that you want to protect yourself against. Even taking contraception or ensuring the girl you are with is on contraception does not reduce the risk of you getting one of the diseases.

The good news is that the majority of STD’s are treatable. There are a few that aren’t, there is no cure, but there is effective treatment to help you manage the symptoms in the long term.

The common sexually transmitted diseases you will want to get to know about include HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B, just to mention a few. Each one has its own signs and symptoms, which is why it’s advisable to have confidential STD testing on a regular or semi-regular basis.

In order to reduce the risk of contracting any one of these diseases, you will want to use a condom. You should use a condom at all times, including if using toys, this can dramatically reduce the risk of contracting these diseases as they are spread through bodily fluids, which also includes blood.

Limit the number of partners you have. While you may find it fun to wake up in a different bed on a regular basis, you are not doing yourself any favors, by limiting your partners you can dramatically reduce the risk of getting any one of these diseases. Those in long term relationships with only one partner have the lowest risk of contracting these diseases unless one of you has another partner or has a drug habit.

One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk is to limit your alcohol and drug use. Spending a night out on the town and drinking in excess can leave you without any inhibitions, making it difficult to ensure that you don’t make the mistake and go home with someone, something you wouldn’t ordinarily do if you weren’t drinking. Rather be safe than sorry and limit yourself when drinking or ensure you are in the right frame of mind to make the best health decisions and reduce the risk of regret later on.

Now whether you find yourself in a situation with a new partner or you feel you have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease in some way, the only way to be sure is to have a confidential STD test. The good news is that you can book your test online and there are literally thousands of laboratories that carry out this form of testing using numbers rather than names, so your name is kept private at all times.

You may have taken precautions, such as using a condom or ensuring that you didn’t drink too much, only to find out later that you have a partner that has been sharing needles, this is an example only. This has instantly put you at risk.

Do some online research into finding the best companies that can provide you with confidential STD testing. The thing to look for is a company that takes your privacy very seriously. They shouldn’t only offer a testing process, they should also offer advice and recommendations, along with counselling if needed and medical professionals who are able to give you a prescription if you need one.

If you have been diagnosed with a disease through confidential STD testing, it is imperative that you refrain from having sex for as long as the medical professional recommends while you take your medication. This reduces the risk of you passing on the disease to the next person.

Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Explained

WHAT IS VIRAL HEPATITIS?

Viral Hepatitis: This is the inflammation and necrosis of the liver caused by a virus or group of viruses.

There are other types of hepatitis including hepatotoxic and drugs related hepatitis and alcoholic hepatitis.

Types of Viral Hepatitis

There are many types of viral hepatitis

Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E and G e.t.c

HEPATITIS B: It is caused by the Hepatitis B virus. A DNA hepadna virus with a partially double-stranded DNA genome.

HEPATITIS C: This is a serious and often-silent liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus – a single stranded RNA virus.At least six major genotypes have been identified.

MODE OF TRANSMISSION

Hepatitis B and C viruses are transmitted by contacts with infected blood or blood products

For example, via contaminated needles (including unsterilized tattoo needles), accidental needle-sticks in healthcare workers, and unprotected sex, sharing nailclippers, razors, or toothbrushes

-Unscreened Blood Transfusions.

OTHER MODES OF TRANSMISSION

It can also be present in saliva, semen and vaginal secretions and through HbsAg positive mothers to child (maternal-neonatal transmission). Hepatitis B is prevalent in homosexuals and intravenous drug users but most cases result from heterosexual transmission. The incubation period of hepatitis B is 6 weeks to 6 months (average of 12 – 14 weeks). That of Hepatitis C is between 6-7 weeks and clinical illness is often mild, usually asymptomatic.

Signs and Symptoms

Hepatitis C has been called “the silent killer” because the virus often hides in the body for years, escaping detection as it attacks the liver. Since most people don’t have warning signs of hepatitis C (or don’t know how or when they were infected).

They don’t seek treatment until many years later. By the time hepatitis C symptoms appear or a diagnosis is made, the damage often is well underway.

If symptoms do appear, they may be mild or severe. Among the most common complaints are:

Fatigue

Fever

Muscle or joint pain

Poor appetite

Nausea

Pain in the upper right part of the abdomen

Dark yellow urine

Vomiting

Yellowish skin or eyes (jaundice)

Itchy skin

Pale stools, easy bleeding, easy bruising.

Yellow Eyes: A Symptom

Acute and Chronic Hepatitis

ACUTE HEPATITIS as the name implies means the illness is sudden and short-lived, occurring within the first two weeks to six months of infection.

In up to 25% of cases, the virus clears from the body on its own without treatment.

CHRONIC HEPATITIS:

For hepatitis to change from an Acute state to Chronic, there should be persistent infection after six months and often much longer.

An estimated 75% to 85% of people with acute hepatitis go on to develop chronic infection.

Diagnosis of Hepatitis

Unless symptoms arise, people with hepatitis C usually don’t know they have the infection until it’s discovered during routine blood testing.

Simple blood test can tell if one is infected or not.

The routine tests include:

Tests for HbsAg

Tests for Anti-HCV.

Further tests and assays are proceeded for individuals who test positive to the above tests.

THE COMPLICATIONS OF CHRONIC HEPATITIS

As many as one in four people with chronic hepatitis C go on to develop cirrhosis, or severe scarring of the liver.

These people may have additional symptoms, including swelling of the legs and abdomen, spider-like blood vessels, and a buildup of toxins in the bloodstream that can lead to brain damage.

Persons with chronic hepatitis B, particularly when HBV infection is acquired early in life and viral replication persists, are at substantial risk of having cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Chronic hepatitis C is also one of the leading causes of liver cancer.

TREATMENTS

Treatments have vastly improved over the years. Today’s medications are more effective at ridding the body of the virus, and they have fewer side effects.

The type of treatment you receive will depend on the genotype, or strain, of your hepatitis, as well as how much damage the liver has sustained.

TREATMENT OF HEPATITIS B

The goal of treating chronic hepatitis B is to control the virus and keep it from damaging the liver. This begins with regular monitoring for signs of liver disease.

Antiviral medications may help, but not everyone can take them.

TREATMENTS: CHRONIC HEPATITIS C

Medications

Some of the newest medicines for hepatitis C genotypes 1, 2, and 3 include: Daclatasvir (Daklinza); Elbasvir/grazoprevir (Zepatier); Ledipasvir (Harvoni); Ombitasvir, paritaprevir, and ritonavir with dasabuvir tablets (Viekira Pak); Sofosbuvir/velpatasvir (Epclusa); Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi); Daclatasvir (Daklinza) with sofosbuvir (Sovaldi); and Sofosbuvir/velpatasvir (Epclusa).

Injectibles

PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF HEPATITIS B

The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all infants at birth and for adults

PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF HEPATITIS C

Currently, there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C.

Avoid any contacts with body fluids by protecting yourself using protective measures.

FACTS ABOUT STDs

Chlamydia:This is a common STD that can lead to infertility if left untreated. It clears up quickly with antibiotics. But it often goes unnoticed because symptoms are vague or absent.

Women with symptoms may notice

– An abnormal vaginal discharge;

– A painful urinating.

Symptoms in men can include:

A discharge from their

penis;

A burning sensation when

urinating; (dysuria)

Pain and swelling in one

or both testicles

Can chlamydia be cured?

Yes, chlamydia can be cured with the right treatment. When taken properly it will stop the infection and could decrease your chances of having complications later on.

GONORRHEA

Gonorrhea spreads easily and can lead to infertility in both men and women.

Antibiotics can stop the infection.

– Burning during urination and discharge.

– Later, the infection may cause skin rashes or spread to the joints and blood.

In Men: Discharge from the penis, swollen testicles.

In Women: Vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, spotting. Symptoms may be mild and are easily confused with a urinary tract or vaginal infection.

SYPHILIS

Most people don’t notice the early symptoms of syphilis. Without treatment, it can lead to paralysis, blindness, and death.

Syphilis can be cured with antibiotics.

Signs and Symptoms: The first sign is usually a firm, round, painless sore on the genitals or anus. The disease spreads through direct contact with this sore.

Later, there may be a rash on the soles, palms, or other parts of the body, as well as swollen glands, fever, hair loss, or fatigue. In the late stage, damage to organs such as the heart, brain, liver, nerves, and eyes occurs.

Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2

Most cases of genital herpes are caused by a virus called HSV-2. It’s highly contagious and can spread through intercourse or direct contact with a herpes sore.

There is no cure. But antiviral drugs can make outbreaks less frequent and help clear up symptoms more quickly.

Symptoms: Fluid-filled blisters that form painful, crusted sores on the genitals, anus, thighs, or buttocks. Can spread to the lips through oral contact.

HIV/AIDS

The HIV virus weakens the body’s defense against infections. HIV spreads through unprotected sex, needle sharing, or being born to an infected mother. It may cause no symptoms for years, so a blood test is the best way to learn your status.

Timely treatment is important to help prevent serious illnesses. Many have no symptoms, but some people get temporary flu-like symptoms one to two months after infection: swollen glands (seen here), a fever, headaches, and fatigue. Canker sores in the mouth can occur, too.

TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR HIV

While there is no cure for HIV, there are medications that can suppress the amount of virus multiplying inside the body. People take a combination of antiviral drugs in hopes of preventing the infection from advancing to AIDS.

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite that spreads during sexual contact. It can be cured with prescription drugs.

Signs and Symptoms in Men: Most men have no obvious symptoms. Some develop a mild discharge or slight burning during urination.

Signs and Symptoms in Women: Women may develop a yellow-green discharge with a strong odor, vaginal itching, or pain during sex or urination. Symptoms usually begin five to 28 days after acquiring the parasite.

COMPLICATIONS OF STDs

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a serious complication of untreated STDs, especially chlamydia and gonorrhea.

It happens when bacteria spread to infect the uterus and other female reproductive organs. Prompt treatment is essential to prevent damage to a woman’s fertility.

Signs and Symptoms: Lower abdominal pain, fever, unusual discharge, painful intercourse, painful urination, and spotting. However, there are often no warning signs.

Who’s at Risk for STDs?

Anyone who is sexually active is at risk for an STD, regardless of gender, race, social class, or sexual orientation.

That said, teenagers and young adults acquire STDs more easily than older people.

Can Virgins Get STDs?

Yes, they can. Many STDs spread through any type of sexual activity, including skin-to-skin contact and oral sex. This is especially true of STDs that produce genital lesions or sores.

Preventing STDs

The best ways to avoid getting an STD are to abstain from any sexual contact.

Do not share sharps and needles.

Avoid the use of unsterilised objects.

Make hyiene a priority.