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Viral Infections

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), also known as Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), are becoming more prevalent. The unfortunate consequence of unprotected sex can be the development of a STI. Most STIs are spread from partner to partner unknowingly because no symptoms were seen. Many STIs will never show any symptoms. Anyone can get a STI. You can get an STI over and over and you can even have more than one at a time. Condoms are the best protection from STIs, but blood, vaginal secretions and ejaculate can all spread infections. With that said STIs can be seen in/on the penis and surrounding area, in the vagina and surrounding area, rectal area, mouth and throat. It is very important to know your sexual partners. As your number of sexual partners increases, so does your risk for becoming infected. Remember, protecting yourself from STIs is much easier than being treated for one.

Viral STIs

  1. Herpes –
    - Transmitted through vaginal, anal and oral sex, and skin to skin contact
    - Can be transferred during childbirth
    - Symptoms: Small blisters or sores to where the infection took place, around sex organs and surrounding skin, anus, mouth, eyes, and burning with urination
    - Testing is done by getting a sample of fluid from the sore
    - There is no cure, it is a lifelong virus
    - Treatment includes pills and creams to minimize pain from sore and breakouts and to lessen breakouts
     
  2. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) “Warts” –
    - Transmitted through vaginal, anal and oral sex, and skin to skin contact
    - Can be transferred during childbirth
    - Symptoms: Wart-like growths on sex organs and on skin around them, anus and in the throat
    - Testing is done by visually looking for the growths and through pap smear exams
    - There is no cure, it is a lifelong virus
    - Treatment includes freezing or burning the warts with a chemical or cutting them off. The virus will still be present and the warts could grow back
    - There is a vaccine available to reduce the risk of cervical cancer and to prevent genital warts caused by 2 types of the virus
     
  3. Hepatitis B –
    - Transmitted through vaginal, anal and oral sex, sharing needles with infected blood
    - Can be transferred before childbirth
    - Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, dark urine, skin rash, yellow skin and eyes, joint pain
    - Testing is done by a blood test
    - There is no cure
    - Treatment is supportive based on symptoms
    - There is a vaccine available
     
  4. HIV/AIDS –
    - Transmitted through vaginal, anal and oral sex, sharing needles and “works” with infected blood
    - Can be transferred during pregnancy, childbirth, and in breast milk
    - There are no specific symptoms for HIV
    - Symptoms of AIDS: tired, fever, decreased appetite and weight, diarrhea, night sweats, and dry cough
    - Testing is done through either a blood or urine test or a “cheek” swab
    - There is no cure for HIV/AIDS
    - Treatment is supportive based on symptoms

 

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