STDs and STIs are very common especially among youths under the age of 25, but also in many adults. Youths are at a higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and infections as they tend to have unprotected sex from time to time.
Most youths assume their partners are safe and this is always a great assumption with potentially dangerous ramifications. Others also assume using protection like the condom is enough proof to keep them from STD and infections.
It is important to note that most STDs are asymptomatic yet the virus can be passed on to another. Frequent testing and screening is, therefore, the safest way to identify and prevent transmission. It also helps to treat the infections early enough.
You should also be watchful for specific symptoms of a given sexually transmitted disease. Here is a brief description of some distressing STD symptoms you must never oversight:
Chlamydia And Its Symptoms
The cause of Chlamydia can be the bacterial infection of the genital tract and symptoms are often elusive until three weeks following exposure to the infection. They are also mild and easy to overlook as they come in cycles. Chlamydia symptoms include;
- Pain while passing urine
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Vaginal discharge (in women) and penis discharge (in men)
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Bleeding during off-period days
- Testicular pain
Gonorrhoea And Its Symptoms
Gonorrhoea is another bacterial infection that affects the genital area, mouth, throat, eyes and anus. Symptoms can appear up to 10 days following infection. They include;
- Itchy anal area
- Penile/Vaginal discharge that is thick, bloody and cloud
- Burning sensation and pain when passing urine
- Heavy bleeding during periods and off-period days
- Painful swollen testicles and bowel movements
Trichomoniasis And Its Symptoms
This is a parasite infection from the single-cell Trichomoniasis vaginitis. It is passed through intercourse with an infected person and mainly affects the vaginal region. It also infects the urinary tract of men but has no symptoms. In women the following symptoms should be an indication of the sexually transmitted disease;
- Vaginal discharge that is greenish, yellowish, whitish or clear
- Strong odour from the vagina
- Vaginal irritation and itching
- Pain when passing urine
- Pain during sexual intercourse
HIV And Its Symptoms
Perhaps the most feared STD, HIV is caused by a virus that attacks human immunity and compromises our ability to fight off disease-causing bacteria and fungi. When not treated, it can lead to AIDS which is a life-threatening immunodeficiency stage that is chronic.
HIV is highly asymptomatic although some people may experience flu-like illnesses within six weeks of exposure. The only way to know for sure is through screening and testing. Some of the early warning signs include;
- Fever and headaches
- A sore throat and swelling lymph glands
- Loss of appetite and motivation
As the virus develops, more symptoms like diarrhoea, weight loss, fever, shortness of breath and cough may show up. In the late stages, the patient may experience night sweats, persistent fatigue and headaches that are unexplained, opportunistic infections, chronic diarrhoea and shaking fever chills.
There are several other STIs including genital herpes, syphilis, HPV (human papillomavirus) and hepatitis.
Most sexually transmitted diseases (except a few like HIV) cause some underlying symptoms that can be seen across all of them.
These include pain when passing urine, depleted energy, vaginal or penile discharges, pain during sex (mostly in women) itching and irritation and deterioration of skin properties. Rashes and outbursts are also commonly linked to STIs especially persistent unexplained outbursts.
It is advisable to establish a screening calendar and make sure you go for testing on every date. Screening is also important before having intercourse with a new partner, or when suspicious or ill.