Winthrop University: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

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Health Services

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

 

Chlamydia

Cause

  • Chlamydia is caused by bacteria.
  • The bacteria are transmitted via genital fluids (i.e., semen or vaginal secretions) during vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected partner.

Symptoms

  • If symptoms occur, they usually appear 1 to 3 weeks after transmission
  • Often has no symptoms
  • Vaginal discharge/ Penile discharge
  • Pain during urination
  • Increased frequency of urination

Diagnosis

  • Lab tests usually determine diagnosis

Treatment

  • Antibiotics

Risk-Reduction Tips

  • Sexual abstinence
  • Maintaining monogamous relationship
  • Use of condoms

If treated promptly, chlamydia has high cure rates.

Genital Herpes (HSV)

Cause

  • Genital Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus(HSV)
  • Herpes is transmitted via skin-to-skin or oral-to-genital contact with an infected partner
  • Condoms may not protect against contracting genital herpes, however they do reduce the risk

Symptoms

  • Tingling or itching in the buttocks, legs, or genital area
  • First episode can have visible sores or systemic symptoms
  • Multiple, small, painful sores can appear on external genital area; usually last 2 to 4 weeks until they crust over or disappear.
  • Symptoms can appear 3 to 6 days after contact.

Diagnosis

  • Visual examination of sores with confirmation via lab tests
  • HSV 1 & 2 blood tests (herpes simplex virus)

Treatment

  • Genital Herpes can be treated, but not cured
  • Oral medication is used

Risk-Reduction Tips

  • Sexual abstinence
  • Maintaining monogamous relationship
  • Use of condoms

Herpes can be transmitted even if partner does not have visible sores.

Gonorrhea

Cause

  • Gonorrhea is caused by bacteria
  • Gonorrhea is transmitted by sexual contact (oral, anal, or vaginal)

Symptoms

  • Intense inflammation of vagina or testicles.
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Yellow vaginal or penile discharge; vaginal bleeding can occur
  • Sometimes genital itching
  • Symptoms usually appear 10 days after transmission

Diagnosis

  • Patient history and physical exam confirmed by lab tests

Treatment

  • Antibiotics

Risk-Reduction Tips

  • Sexual abstinence
  • Maintaining monogamous relationship
  • Use of condoms
  • If treated promptly, gonorrhea has high cure rates.

Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV)

Cause

  • HIV is caused by a virus
  • Can be passed via blood, semen and vaginal fluids during sexual contact or by sharing needles with an infected individual.
  • When the immune system gets very weak, other diseases and infections can enter the body. This stage of HIV is called AIDS.

Symptoms

  • May occur 2 to 4 weeks after infection
  • Often has no symptoms
  • May display fever, fatigue, body aches, rash, swollen lymph nodes

Diagnosis

  • Blood Test
    • It can take 3 to 12 months after infection for the body to make enough antibodies to report a positive test
    • A negative test may mean you are infected, but your body has not made HIV antibodies yet
    • Talk to your healthcare professional about the need for retesting

Treatment

  • There are treatments for HIV, but there is still no cure
  • Early intervention is essential

Risk-Reduction Tips

  • Sexual abstinence
  • Maintaining monogamous relationship
  • Use of latex condoms

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) & External Genital Warts (EGW)

Cause

  • HPV is a virus that is highly contagious
  • HPV is usually transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, anal, and sometimes oral sex with an infected partner.

Symptoms

  • Warts may develop on genitalia (vagina, penis) or anus
  • Warts may sometimes appear on woman's cervix
  • Symptoms will not show for weeks to months after it is transmitted and may not show symptoms at all.

Diagnosis

  • External genital warts identified by visual examination
  • Annual Pap smear can detect changes in cervix, which may indicate HPV is present.

Treatment

  • Topical creams or gels
  • "Freezing" with liquid nitrogen
  • Surgical removal

Risk-Reduction Tips

  • Sexual abstinence
  • Maintaining monogamous relationship
  • Use of condoms (may not offer complete protection from HPV)

Syphilis

Cause

  • Syphilis is caused by the spirochete, a spiral organism
  • Transmission occurs when broken skin or mucous membranes are exposed to the sore of an infected sexual partner. The genitals, mouth, and anal area are especially susceptible to infection.

Symptoms

  • Symptoms appear within 3 weeks after exposure
  • Painless sores in mouth or genital area
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Untreated syphilis may enter into a dormant phase and resurface years later with signs of weakness, fever and a rash on the body, palms of hands and soles of feet.

Diagnosis

  • Evaluation of symptoms
  • Blood test

Treatment

  • Antibiotics
  • Risk-Reducing Tips
  • Sexual abstinence
  • Maintaining monogamous relationships
  • Use of condoms

Trichomoniasis

Cause

  • Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite
  • Transmitted by sexual contact

Symptoms

  • Vaginal discharge often yellow-green (sometimes gray), frothy, mild to foul odor
  • Vaginal itching, redness, or swelling can occur
  • Pain with urination
  • Discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • Increase in symptoms during or after menstrual period
  • Symptoms develop within 28 days of transmission

Diagnosis

  • Lab tests of vaginal discharge or penile secretion

Treatment

  • Oral antimicrobial medication
  • Potentially infected sexual partners are also treated to ensure eradication of infection
  • Risk-Reduction Tips
  • Sexual abstinence
  • Maintaining monogamous relationships
  • Use of condoms

Trichomoniasis has high cure rates if both infected person and partner are treated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated: 9/8/20