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Simple Facts About STDs

Current estimates indicate that there are over 20 million reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia in the United States alone each year. Moreover, medical statistics show that more than 50% of people worldwide will at some point contract an STD. Here are some basic facts you need to know about these conditions.

There are many different types of STDs
There are over 25 STDs that have been studied. Since 1980 this number has increased by more than eight. The more common ones include chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, human papillomavirus, syphilis, hepatitis b, and HIV, with different varieties of some being known to exist. These diseases can be bacterial, viral or parasitic in origin.
It is possible to contract STDs through oral sex. Comparatively, oral sex is much safer than either anal or vaginal sex. Taking simple precautions like using a latex condom or a dental dam is still advised to be on the safer side. Some STDs can easily be transmitted through mouth sores and cuts while some like herpes can be transferred by skin contact.

Most STDs are treatable, some are incurable
Bacterial STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are easily curable using common antibiotics. However, viral conditions can only be managed and persist for years. Being straightforward with any sexual partners in is often encouraged. Using condoms lowers the risk of contracting STDs, but doesn’t eliminate it.

Some cases are asymptomatic
Some STDs do not show any visible symptoms while in some the symptoms may not appear until many years after exposure. Examples are chlamydia, which is mostly asymptomatic and HIV, which may take up to 10 years for symptoms to present. Some have symptoms similar in characteristic to yeast or urinary tract infections and can easily be confused for the same.

Women are more susceptible to STDs
About half of all sexually active women acquire an STD at some point in their lives. This has nothing to do with promiscuity, but everything to do with anatomy. Female genitals are moister and are therefore more prone to infection. Furthermore, STDs are usually more difficult to detect in women because of the more inaccessible nature of their anatomy.

Untreated STDs lead to complications
Without proper management, some STDs can progress to pelvic inflammatory disease and increase the risk of ectopic pregnancies. Untreated syphilis can cause blindness or brain damage while HPV can cause cervical cancer. Infected mothers can even infect newborns during delivery.
Sexually transmitted diseases have many implications across our daily life. They affect our interpersonal relationships with our partners and influence our self-esteem. Get informed on such diseases will help you stay safe.

Types Of Tests Used To Diagnose Gonorrhea

It is difficult to tell whether you have gonorrhea based on how you feel. Like other STDs, the only surefire way to know whether you have gonorrhea or not is to get tested. When it comes to gonorrhea testing, three types of tests are commonly used, each of which has its pros and cons.

1. Bacterial Culture

A bacterial culture is highly effective for diagnosing gonorrhea of the throat, genitals, rectum, and eyes. A swab of the suspected site is taken and the collected cells are added to a substance that’s designed to boost the growth of N. gonorrhoeae. In case there is growth, the test is deemed positive. The test is considered negative if there is no growth.

A bacterial culture can also be used to establish whether the bacterium is resistant to the available antibiotics. This is significant in cases where a drug fails to eliminate the infection or where there are severe complications such as when the bacterium has spread to multiple organs (or what’s referred to as disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI)).

2. Gram staining

In this test, special dyes are used to stain the bacteria’s walls to make it easy to be identified and isolated (under the microscope). It is an effective way of diagnosing gonorrheal infections in men. However, it is considerably less accurate in women considering that the concentration of gonorrhea in women is often diffuse, and can be easily mistaken for other naturally-occurring vaginal bacteria. Additionally, gram tests have lower sensitivity, so negative results in asymptomatic men cannot be considered definitive.

3. Nucleic Amplification Test (NAAT)

This is a form of genetic testing that was developed in 1993. It is highly recommended for genital and urinary gonorrhea because of its speed and accuracy. Instead of looking for the bacteria itself, the genes of N. gonorrhea are identified. This is done by obtaining the strands of DNA of the bacteria from a urine sample or swab taken from vagina, cervix or urethra. The strands are then duplicated (through a process called thermocycling) until they are about a billion copies.

Because the test provides a genetic footprint of the infection, NAAT often delivers highly accurate results within hours. If you opt for this method of testing gonorrhea, you can get your results within 2-3 days.

Final Thoughts

Gonorrhea is one of the most common STDs in the United States, and account for 800,000 infections annually. It is, therefore, highly recommended to get tested or screened regularly, especially if you sexually active. Generally, the tests are fast, painless, and sometimes offered freely.

Home Testing For Sexually Transmitted Diseases

While authorities are doing everything they can to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, many cases of infections are still reported each year.

STDs can be both embarrassing and also fatal if not treated early enough. Most of the symptoms associated with such infections will rob the patient of peace If not treated early enough. Note that some sexually transmitted diseases such as Herpes and HIV are not curable and their symptoms can be quite severe.

To avoid infection, it is advisable that you remain loyal to one sexual partner or abstain from unprotected sex.

Unlike it was the case a while back where you had to visit a lab to get tested for STDs, you can now test yourself from home and even treat yourself once you identify the infection.

There are many reasons why you’d want to test yourself for STDs at home. For starters, testing yourself from home saves you the embarrassment most people face when they are forced to talk to a doctor about their sexual life. In addition to the privacy you get testing yourself at home, home testing kits are also cheaper compared to the price you pay to get tested at a doctor’s lab.

Most home testing kits are quite easy to use and won’t be very intrusive. Most of them require that you take a swab of saliva from your cheeks or urine sample in order to test yourself.

Home testing is a fairly easy process that can be carried out by anyone. Most home testing kits are easy to use and it will only take a few minutes before you get the results.

Most STD symptoms are quite obvious while others may not be easily identified. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. While symptoms may vary from one person to the next one, most of them are quite common in all patients. When you notice symptoms such as itching, odor and pain or irritation when urinating, it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Luckily, with home testing kits, you might actually detect the disease and treat it with an antibiotic without necessarily having to seek professional help.

There are many kinds of home testing kits, manufactured by different companies. When shopping for the right kit, you want to ensure you are going to a trusted brand.

Some kits are designed to test individual diseases while others can detect various infections simultaneously. For instance, you can test for chlamydia at home with a universal kit or go for a kit designed for that particular disease.

Home Test Kits For STDs

With STD, STI, and Chlamydia rates on the rise, regular STD testing is a crucial element of the fight against the spread of STDs and STIs. While doctors offer blood tests to test for STDs like Chlamydia, many people fear the social stigma that accompanies such testing and instead will avoid being tested. Partly in response to this, and partly in response to the need for increased accessibility of STD testing, STD and Chlamydia home test kits have emerged on the market.

Home STD Test Kits

The appeal of home STD and STI test kits is that they come with complete anonymity and convenience. A person simply needs to find a reputable lab site online, check their accuracy rates to ensure reliability, and place their order. The test will be delivered to their home in a discreet envelope. The STD and STI home test kits can test for a variety of diseases and infections like HIV, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Chlamydia, and Herpes. To be tested, most tests will require only a small sample of urine, saliva, or blood. The kit will come with complete instructions on how to collect, store, and send the sample back into the lab. Generally, the lab-certified results will be delivered within a week electronically. Some lab sites also offer a follow-up doctor consultation call for individuals with positive results.

Who Should be Tested

When it comes to containing the spread of STIs and STDs, anyone who is engaging in unprotected sex, especially with multiple partners, should undergo regular testing. This is not just to protect the individual, but also to help stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. This is particularly important as several STDs and STIs don’t show symptoms, so people can be carriers for a number of years without realizing it and can be spreading it to subsequent sexual partners. STIs like Chlamydia is very common with approximately one in 12 young people infected in the States alone. Chlamydia shows no symptoms, and left untreated can cause serious health issues, including infertility. It is recommended that regular STD testing is undertaken a minimum of every 12 months and should be done every time a sexual partner is changed.

How to Avoid STDs and STIs

The only way to fully avoid exposure to STDs and STIs is through abstinence. When engaging in sexual intercourse, including oral sex, condoms should always be worn. If you are entering into a new relationship, don’t be afraid to request that that person undergoes testing prior to becoming sexual. It can be a difficult conversation to initiate, but if protection is your priority, it is one you will have to consider. Protect yourself and every future partner by committing to safe sex and regular STD and STI testing.

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