Sex feels good. Sex is fun. Sex can be a healthy expression of love or emotion … as long as you engage in healthy practices, because, believe it or not, the world just isn’t a safe place anymore. Gay or straight, married or playing the field, you’ll be doing yourself and your sexual partners a favor if you practice prevention to avoid sexually transmitted diseases … STDs. If you think that you may have picked up a little something extra, here are a few common STDs and their symptoms to help you out:
Chlamydia. Very common, not life threatening, but painful and difficult to detect in its early stages, as it may not exhibit any symptoms initially.
Herpes Simplex Virus-2. This one causes genital herpes and enters your body through tiny breaks in the skin or mucous membrane. Signs and symptoms are often mild and may go unnoticed. When and if they worsen, they can be detected by small red bumps around the genital or anal area, or by pain and itching around the genitals, buttocks, or in the inner thighs. If ulcers develop, you may experience painful urination or flu-like symptoms, including swollen lymph nodes in the groin.
Gonorrhea. This one is also very common and may remain undetectable initially. It often manifests in the ten days following infection. Symptoms include a cloudy discharge, painful and frequent urination, and pain during sex.
Syphilis. Particularly deadly during the 19th century (Oscar Wilde was rumored to have died from it), syphilis can spread to the heart and brain. Symptoms begin in four stages and begin with chancre sores that develop into a rash that can appear on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet, fever, fatigue, soreness, and can, if left untreated, cause stroke, visual problems, hearing problems, or dementia. Watch out for this one.
HIV. Famous for the epidemic it caused in the 1980’s and for decimating the gay male community, today HIV has infiltrated all sexual walks of life. It is a virus responsible for interfering with the body’s immune system, which means it becomes difficult to fight off diseases, bacteria, and fungi. It is treatable, however, and not necessarily a death sentence. If you visit a clinic, the person administering the test may use a western blot test. Western blot reagents are used to detect specific proteins in a sample or extract of tissue. Since viruses can be the source of protein, western blotting can be used to study and detect the presence of a virus. The confirmatory HIV test uses this test to identify anti-HIV antibodies in human samples. As with other STD’s, symptoms may not initially manifest. Some people may feel feverish, have a headache that won’t go away, experience fatigue, sore throat, or other flu-like symptoms. Left untreated, you may experience swollen lymph nodes for more than three months.
If you think you may have an STD, get checked out today!