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WHAT ARE SEXUALLY TRANSMISSIBLE DISEASES?

A sexually transmitted disease is an infectious disease that is mainly transmitted by direct infection during sexual activities, including oral and anal intercourse.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Most sexually transmitted diseases initially have no symptoms and this results in an increased risk of passing them on to other people. After the infection, in a variable time called the "incubation period", visible symptoms or signs may develop on the body.

Generally they occur in the genital area but, depending on the type of disease and the type of sex practiced, these symptoms can appear in the mouth, anus or on the skin or in a generalized way. Symptoms can be mild and are often completely absent - but they can appear after a long time, even years later.

The variability of the incubation time depends first of all on the characteristics of the microorganism (on how “aggressive” it is); secondly by the natural resistance of our body.

MOST COMMON SEXUALLY TRANSMISSIBLE DISEASES

The following is a list of the most common sexually transmitted diseases

  • candida;

  • chlamydia;

  • condyloma;

  • hepatitis B or C (HBV or HCV);

  • gonorrhea;

  • genital herpes (HSV);

  • HIV-Aids;

  • papilloma virus (HPV);

  • crabs;

  • scabies;

  • syphilis;

  • trichomoniasis

CAUSES

  • viruses (as in the case of HIV, hepatitis, warts, genital herpes, HPV);

  • bacteria (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis);

  • protozoa (trichomoniasis);

  • parasites (lice, scabies).

HOW ARE THEY TRANSMITTED?

Sexual infection occurs when microorganisms are brought into the body through sperm or vaginal secretions or blood. Or the infection occurs through direct skin-to-skin contact or with the contact between the mucous membranes that line the intimate parts, the mouth or the anus.

Some sexually transmitted diseases can be transmitted to the fetus during pregnancy or to the newborn through breast milk.

ARE THEY DANGEROUS?

Numerous sexually transmitted diseases can have serious consequences over time, such as infertility or cancer. If sexually transmitted diseases are diagnosed in time, the damage can be contained.

If they are not recognized and treated promptly, they can affect the serenity of daily life, causing psychological suffering and a sense of shame. Warning: the presence of a sexually transmitted disease makes the body more vulnerable to the penetration of the HIV virus (the virus that causes AIDS).

RISK FACTORS

The situations and characteristics that increase the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease are:

  • age under 25, especially for girls;

  • having had the first sexual intercourse before the age of 17;

  • the number of sexual partners in life;

  • having a partner who has or has had a sexually transmitted disease;

  • the use of drugs and alcohol;

  • sexual violence.

DOES IT HEAL?

If treated promptly and correctly, sexually transmitted diseases are in most cases curable. If neglected they can cause serious damage. Some diseases such as HIV infection are not permanently curable.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FIND OUT THAT YOU HAVE CONTRACTED AN INFECTION?

To have an infection, one must first have had sexual intercourse. If there is any doubt that you have contracted an infection, you should immediately contact your doctor, the specialist in sexually transmitted diseases, your gynecologist, dermatologist or urologist.

Dr. Fabio Castiglione Italian Andrologist in London

Dr. Fabio Castiglione also offers high quality assistance for the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, with the collaboration of gynecologists for a complete care.