Understanding the top 10 sexually transmitted diseases and protecting your sexual health

By Dr Chirag Bhandari

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) pose a significant risk to individuals regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. These diseases can have severe consequences, ranging from ongoing medical issues to infertility and even death. Therefore, it is crucial to familiarize oneself with the most prevalent STDs and learn how to safeguard against them. Presented below are the top 10 sexually transmitted illnesses, along with their characteristics and recommended treatments.

  1. Chlamydia: Chlamydia is the most commonly occurring STD, caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Symptoms may include burning or redness during urination, and if left untreated, it can result in infertility.
  2. Genital Herpes: Caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), genital herpes is characterized by uncomfortable blisters or sores around the mouth or genitalia. Although there is no known treatment for genital herpes, antiviral drugs can aid with symptom management.
  3. Gonorrhea: Gonorrhea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae and can lead to painful urination and discharge from the genitals. Fortunately, antibiotics offer a simple and effective solution for treating gonorrhea.
  4. Syphilis: Syphilis is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum and manifests in various symptoms, such as sores on the genitals or mouth, rash, and fever. Antibiotics can be used to effectively treat Syphilis.
  5. Trichomoniasis: Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis and can cause itching and discharge from the genitals. Treatment with antibiotics is typically successful in combating this infection.
  6. Human Papillomavirus (HPV): HPV is a viral infection that can cause genital warts and is also linked to certain types of cancer, including cervical cancer. Some HPV strains are preventable with vaccines.
  7. Hepatitis: Hepatitis refers to a viral infection that can result in liver damage and can be transmitted through sexual contact. Hepatitis B and C can become chronic and require long-term treatment.
  8. HIV/AIDS: HIV/AIDS is a viral infection that attacks the immune system and can progress to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Sexual contact, sharing needles, and passing from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding are all ways that HIV can be spread.
  9. Mycoplasma Genitalium: Mycoplasma Genitalium is a bacterial infection that can cause urethritis and cervicitis. Treatment with antibiotics effectively combats this infection.
  10. Chancroid: Chancroid is a bacterial infection caused by Haemophilus ducreyi, primarily prevalent in certain regions such as Africa and the Caribbean. It can result in painful sores on the genitals.

To conclude, prevention plays a crucial role in protecting oneself from STDs. The best approach to safeguarding sexual health involves practicing safe sex, which includes consistent condom use and regular STD testing. If there is a suspicion of having contracted an STD, seeking immediate medical attention is essential to prevent further complications. By taking proactive measures and staying informed, individuals can prioritize their sexual health and reduce the risk of STD transmission.

(The author is a Founder of Institute of Sexual Health (IASH). The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)