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.

What Does Herpes Look Like?

What to look for. You should first consider that not everyone has herpes signs or symptoms, or they do not notice the symptoms, or maybe they just have not had symptoms yet. This is important to realize because the lack of symptoms does not mean that you or your partner does not have oral or genital herpes. However, if you are concerned you or your partner might be having symptoms or a herpes outbreak, it is important to know what to look for. Your common, most characteristic sign of herpes is going to be a blister or a cluster of small sized blisters. The blisters may be filled with a clear fluid. And since herpes is usually found on the mouth or in the genital region, if you have a clear blister in one of those areas this may be enough reason for concern. In these cases, most people will seek a physical exam by a medical professional. If you have a full blister they can perform a herpes culture which is a swab of the blister. This test can actually test you what is causing the bump. Sometimes herpes does not turn in to a full blister, it may look like just a pimple, or a red tender spot, or just may appear to be like a stretch in the skin. It is important to realize that simply because you have had a pimple or tender spot, this does not mean you have herpes. If you are worried, you can consider a herpes blood test.

Other herpes characteristics. Some other signs to consider would be does this area where your bump is itch or tingle? Herpes has a pretty distinct and isolated itch, usually right at the surface of the skin. More painful outbreaks may also have and aching, throbbing type of pain. Another clue is when whatever you are experiencing seems to be recurring, in the same area.

History and clinical profile: There are not that many reasons for you to get an unexplained bump orally in the genital region. This is where the staying calm comes in. Think about it, do you have any likely reason to have a blister there? Were you more physically active than normal? Did you cause extra friction in that area? Maybe your clothing was a little too tight the day before? Do you have any reason to suspect it is herpes? Did a past partner have herpes? When was the last time you were tested? Also, for the ladies, please consider, a large percentage of your genital region is not visible to you so therefore you may not know you are having outbreaks. If you are having what you think are unexplained and recurring yeast infections you might consider a quick herpes blood test.

In summary, if you are worried and having a blister, you might consider a physical exam and/or culture. You might consider a herpes blood test if you do not currently have a full blister, have another symptom or other reason to be concerned about herpes, or if it has simply been awhile since your last herpes test.

Ten Questions and Answers About BDSM and STDs

1. What is a sexually transmitted disease or STD?

Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) is the politically correct term for what used to be called “veneral disease (VD)”. These are diseases that are transmitted through or as the result of sexual activity (not just sexual intercourse).

There are no BDSM specific sexually transmitted diseases but like any other sexual activity BDSM activity CAN spread STDs.

Heterosexuals are a lot less STD aware than the homosexual world is, but they should be just as educated on the subject. As a result, the current risk groups for any STD are heterosexual women.

There are many different sexually transmitted diseases and certainly not all are directly related to the genital organs.

General information is freely and widely available from doctors, hospitals, first aid centers, pharmacies and of course on the Internet.

2. How does one get STD infected?

Some sexually transmitted diseases are viruses, others are caused by bacteria, some by plain and simple dirt. As a result, there are different ways, in which people can get STD infected. An important form of STD infection is the contact between bodily fluids (most importantly blood, sperm, vaginal fluids and mother milk). This is especially true the most lethal ones in the Western world: such as Hepatitis (around in different varieties) and HIV (Aids). As a result, contact with bodily fluids should be avoided by anyone who has more than one partner (even if that is only incidental) and partners who have not been solely together for MANY years (not months). Incubation time (the “lead” time before the actual infection shows itself), in the case of HIV for example may be as much as five to seven years.

Another well known cause of STD infection is lack of hygiene. In the BDSM world especially quite a lot of personal hygiene is neglected. Toys that have been on the floor or in a toy bag should not be used unless cleaned and – when brought into contact with the genital area – protected. One should wear latex gloves during penetration, especially when in a (more) public environment.

3. What do I do when I (think I) am STD infected?

There is only one answer: visit your doctor as soon as possible. Bear in mind that your doctor is not there to judge you, but to cure you. And yes, doctors have seen it all before and many times. If you feel troubled by having to go to your doctor, turn to a first aid center or a specific STD center if there is one in your area.

Every STD spreads like wildfire! They are among the most contagous diseases. In most cases if you are infected, you do not only have a responsibility to yourself, but also to your partner(s) and to an extent to you entire environment.

4. Can an STD be cured?

Some can, and some cannot. There are no cures yet for HIV, hepatitis C and various forms of herpes, for example. HIV and hepatitis C are potentially lethal. So is syphylus, but there is a good cure for this disease.

5. Does an STD only effect me?

Every STD will effect you but most will also effect your partner and maybe others (such as unborn children) if not properly taken care of. Sometimes an STD can be the cause of dead babies or incurable medical problems. Some will not really effect the bearer, but will badly effect the partner and – for example – cause infertility (in males especially).

6. How do I protect myself against STD infection?

Your first line of defense is strict personal hygiene. Wear latex gloves and use condoms, also on penetrating toys, such as dildos and vibrators. Regularly clean equipment and – for example – wash bondage ropes.

The second important line of defense is to educate yourself. Again, know what the risks are and avoid them.

7. Does an STD spread quicker, because of BDSM activity?

The BDSM community is very open. It is not unusual to temporarily exchange partners, people switch partners frequently and such things as BDSM parties open an easy risk for infection. Besides, BDSM activity implies much more physical contact than most other forms of sexual behavior and there is the frequent use of toys and equipment. So, there indeed are more opportunities for infection, compared to a standard vanilla relationship. As a result – although no real research has been done in this area – there should be a higher risk of spreading an STD.

8. What BDSM activities are likely to spread an STD?

All forms of penetration, genital or by means of toys, fingers, fists or the mouth are activities that can transmit an STD. In terms of BDSM there are also other activities. Whipping may occasionally cause small superficial skin wounds and any breakage of the skin is a serious crack in the bodies main line of defense against diseases, including many STDs. Bondage ropes, used in the genital area, are a well known vehicle for sexually transmitted diseases and so are internal toys (vibrators, dildos, Ben Wah balls, vibrating eggs, etcetera). Nipple clamps may also cause small skin wounds. In general, BDSM activity is much more physically intens and physically demanding than most other forms of sexual activity. As a result, you should be more careful.

9. Why do governmental and health organisation hardly ever mention BDSM-acitivity in their STD information?

Most forms of what is generally known as “alternative sexuality” (such as BDSM) are overlooked by governmental and health organisations, when it comes to information and education about STD risks. The reason for this is largely in the fact that such organisations simply will not believe there are that many practitioners and that such organisations have no clue about BDSM. “Alternative sexuality” in the entire education of health care professionals usually takes up as much space (and attention) as ONE PAGE IN ONE BOOK! That is, if alternative sexuality is being mentioned at all!

10. How can I help to inform people about STD risks?

If you happen to be active in a local BDSM community, or for example have a personal website about BDSM, try and devote some time and space to sexually transmitted diseases occasionally. For example, next to workshops about flogging, bondage or needle play, a workshop about STD prevention will be very helpful. But, since this is not a popular subject you may also want to settle for having leaflets available, writing something in your magazine or newsletter if you have one and putting information on websites.

The Ins and Outs of STD’s

STD’S are a problem that many of today’s youth are faced with. They are a real threat to our society. STD’s consist of any disease that is acquired primarily through sexual contact. They are infectious diseases that spread from person-to-person through contact with infected bodily fluids. In this, you will be exposed to two of the more common threats in the world of STD’s. (However, there are several more.)

Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STD’S) of our time caused by a bacterium know as Chlamydia trachomatis, which if left untreated for long can damage the reproductive organs. Symptoms may often times go unnoticed because they are usually mild or none at all. Un-reparable damages can be caused silently before the condition is even noticed, such as infertility. It’s very important to get a yearly physical and get tested to ensure your health. Most of the time there are never any symptoms at all in men.

Here is an interesting and very frightening statistic for everyone: between the years of 1987 and 2004 reported cases of chlamydia jumped from 50.8 to 319.6 cases per 100,000 population!

Some methods fore treatment for chlamydia include:

o Azithromycin

o Doxycycline

o Erythromycin ethylsuccinate

o Ofloxacin

*Chlamydia is one of the most easily treated STD’S. These medications, when taken correctly will eliminate the disease 99.9% of the time. (These medications must be prescribed by your practicing physician.) See a doctor if you have questions.

A current threat to the youth of today is another STD by the name of hepatitis. Hepatitis is a rather more serious one however. Hepititis is inflammation of the liver that is caused by a virus. The result in contracting this one can almost certainly lead to death in many cases! There are five different types of viral hepatitis. They include but are not limited to: hepatitis A, B, & C. Also know as HAV, HAB, & HAC. These are merely the most common forms of the disease. However, the only one of these that is an STD is hepititus B. All others have alternate forms of infecting.

HBV

HBV can survive outside the body at least 7 days and still be capable of transmitting infection.

The symptoms for all three types of viral hepatitis are much the same. Symptoms are much more predominant in adults than in infected children. If symptoms do occur, they usually include:

o Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

o Tiredness

o nausea

o dark urine

o clay-colored bowel movements

o loss of appetite

o abdominal discomfort

Some of the treatment medication that can be used to treat this disease include:

o Acyclovir (Zovirax)

o Famciclovir (Famvir)

o Valacyclovir (Valtrex)

*These statements are merely facts that have been gathered. They are in no way a substitute to seeing a physician. If you have any doubts, see a doctor immediately. If you have been promiscuous in the past and have not been tested within the last 6 months, it is strongly suggested to do so.