Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. In Singapore, STDs are common, although most can be easily treated.

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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) include those caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Many can be cured, although some require lifelong management.

STDs Caused By Bacteria

The STDs that are caused by bacteria can all be cured with antibiotics in most cases. Unfortunately, however, antibiotic resistance is increasing in Singapore, so sometimes it will be difficult to cure the infection. Also, if you wait to begin treatment, then there may be permanent damage that isn’t cured after the bacteria are eradicated. So it’s important to get prompt treatment for these infections.

Syphilis is potentially the most serious bacterial STD. Though it begins as a sore on the genitals, it progresses to infect the rest of the body, potentially causing damage to the nervous system, cardiovascular system, and other body systems.

Gonorrhea and chlamydia are usually discussed together, because their symptoms are very similar. They’re commonly transmitted together, meaning that many people acquire both infections at the same time. These infections cause burning with urination and discharge from the vagina or penis. If left untreated, they can progress into the internal reproductive organs, causing scarring that leads to infertility. This can happen in men or women, though it’s most common in women.

STDs Caused By Viruses

Viral STDs include the most serious and the least serious infections. For the most part, these STDs (like all viral illnesses) are very difficult or impossible to cure, although they can sometimes be managed with lifelong medication.

The most serious STDs are those that can cause death. HIV is the most well-known of these infections. It slowly destroys the immune system, weakening the body’s defenses and leading to death by other infections. Lifelong management with at least three medications is necessary. Another serious viral STD is hepatitis B. This infection destroys the liver, leading to cancer or cirrhosis of the liver in many cases. There is a vaccine available that can prevent the infection, and there are antiviral treatments that can manage it.

Less serious STDs are mainly nuisances, which don’t cause death or disability in most cases. One example is herpes, which can infect the genitals, mouth, or anus. It causes sores to appear on the infected area. The infection is lifelong, and can reappear many times to cause sores again. It’s only life-threatening if acquired by a newborn from the mother during birth, in which case it can cause a severe infection of the brain and spinal cord.

Another STD in this category is human papillomavirus (HPV). It causes genital warts, which can be a major nuisance but don’t threaten health. It can also cause cervical cancer in women, which is why there’s a vaccine available against several of the most common types of HPV.

STDs Caused By Parasites

While most STDs are caused by bacteria or viruses, a few fall into another category. Trichomoniasis is caused by a single-celled parasite. It causes vaginal itching and discharge in those who have any symptoms at all, but only rarely causes more serious problems, except in pregnant women (in whom it can lead to premature labor). It’s easily treated with antibiotics.

Categories: STD
2015 July 31st   Leave a comment

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