“People with HIV are still stigmatised. The infection rates are going up. People are dying. The political response is appalling. The sadness of it, the waste.”
STI / STD
We will use STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection), not STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease), as this group of conditions are infectious and not a disease state of the body itself. Yes, it’s subtle, but infection by bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, et al. is what is happening, so STI is a better descriptor, carrying less stigma.
A non-STI cause of these symptoms is Prostatitis.
Barrier protection (condoms and dental dams) can reduce the Transmission of STIs. Having safe sex and being tested for STIs is good for sexual health.
Chlamydia Trachomatis is a bacteria. Pain when urinating or in the lower abdomen, with penile discharge, are common symptoms. Most people with Chlamydia, however, do not experience symptoms. Testing both partners is sensible, even if only one has symptoms. Antibiotics treat Chlamydia successfully.
Two types of the herpes simplex virus (HSV) cause Genital Herpes. Symptoms include itching, pain, tiny fluid-filled blisters and ulcers (that may leave scabs). Similar to cold sores but on the genitals. It’s possible to transmit herpes even if you don’t have sores or symptoms. As cold sores outbreaks resolve alone, so does Genital Herpes. Antiviral medications can help. Future episodes are likely.
Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus (HPV))
Skin-on-skin contact transmits the Human Papillomavirus. Intercourse is not required. Most people carry the virus. HPV, when active, can cause areas of swelling, cauliflower-shaped warts and itching around the penis. Medication is applied to the warts to clear them. HPV may cause Penile Cancer.
Symptoms caused by Neisseria Gonorrhoeae bacteria include burning during urination, yellow or green discharge, and pain in the testicles. Antibiotics successfully treat the bacteria. However, there is some concern Neisseria Gonorrhoeae is becoming drug-resistant. Practising safe sex is not just about HIV.
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. One of the most common causes of hepatitis is the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV can pass on through blood, semen, and other bodily fluids. Most people with hepatitis have no symptoms. Flu-like symptoms accompanied by jaundice (dark urine, yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes) are a sign of HBV. A vaccine can prevent Hepatitis B. Vaccination is recommended for infants.
HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune cells. It spreads through some, but not all, bodily fluids, including semen, vaginal and anal fluids, and blood. Symptoms include fever, rash, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes. Symptoms worsen as HIV progresses. HIV isn’t curable currently. Several types of drugs stop HIV from replicating and taking over cells. Using condoms reduces transmission.
The parasite Trichomonas Vaginalis causes Trichomoniasis (Trich). Often no symptoms occur but can include itching on the penis, painful urination and penile discharge. Antibiotics treat Trich.
Syphilis is an infection that develops due to the bacteria T. pallidum. Spread by a syphilitic sore during oral, anal, or vaginal sex. The main sign is a painless sore on the genitals, rectum, mouth, or another part of the skin. These sores resolve on their own. However, without treatment, T. pallidum will remain in the body, reactivating and damaging organs, including the brain.
AFFECTS SEXUALLY ACTIVE