“Let’s talk about sex baby, let’s talk about you and me… let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be, let’s talk about sex.”
The infamous song, by Salt and Pepa in the 1990’s, reminds us how much our times have changed and how sometimes we are a little weird with certain subjects. Sometimes we talk about it, sometimes it becomes a taboo. And if sex is a taboo itself, STD’s are even worse to talk about. Sexually transmitted diseases and sexually transmitted infections occur when you have sex, doesn’t matter the type of it. In order to be sure, you need to get tested. Usually, STI’s have no symptoms but you can still pass it on to your sexual partner, even if you don’t have symptoms. Some can be infected by touching the blood, others have to be specifically by sexual contact.
This is a bacterial infection of your genital tract. Chlamydia may be difficult to detect because early-stage infections often cause few or no signs and symptoms.
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Painful urination
- Lower abdominal pain
- Vaginal discharge in women
- Discharge from the penis in men
- Pain during sexual intercourse in women
- Bleeding between periods in women
- Testicular pain in men
A bacterial infection of your genital tract. It can also grow in your mouth, throat, eyes and anus. The first gonorrhea symptoms generally appear within 10 days after exposure.
Signs and symptoms of gonorrhea may include:
- Thick, cloudy or bloody discharge from the penis or vagina
- Pain or burning sensation when urinating
- Heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
- Painful, swollen testicles
- Painful bowel movements
- Anal itching
This is a common STI caused by a microscopic, one-celled parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. This organism spreads during sexual intercourse with someone who already has the infection.
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Clear, white, greenish or yellowish vaginal discharge
- Discharge from the penis
- Strong vaginal odor
- Vaginal itching or irritation
- Itching or irritation inside the penis
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Painful urination
This is an infection with the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV interferes with your body’s ability to fight off viruses, bacteria and fungi that cause illness. It can lead to AIDS, a chronic, life-threatening disease.
Early HIV signs and symptoms may include:
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph glands
These early signs and symptoms usually disappear within a week to a month and are often mistaken for those of another viral infection. During this period, you’re highly infectious.
As the virus continues to multiply and destroy immune cells, you may develop mild infections or chronic signs and symptoms such as:
- Swollen lymph nodes — often one of the first signs of HIV infection
- Weight loss
- Cough and shortness of breath
- Late-stage HIV infection
Signs and symptoms of late-stage HIV infection include:
- Persistent, unexplained fatigue
- Soaking night sweats
- Shaking chills or fever higher than 100.4 F (38 C) for several weeks
- Swelling of lymph nodes for more than three months
- Chronic diarrhea
- Persistent headaches
- Unusual, opportunistic infections
is caused by a type of the herpes simplex virus (HSV) that enters your body through small breaks in your skin or mucous membranes. Most people with HSV never know they have it, because they have no signs or symptoms or the signs and symptoms are so mild they go unnoticed.
When present, genital herpes signs and symptoms may include:
- Small red bumps, blisters (vesicles) or open sores (ulcers) in the genital, anal and nearby areas
- Pain or itching around the genital area, buttocks and inner thighs
The initial symptom of genital herpes usually is pain or itching, beginning within a few weeks after exposure to an infected sexual partner. After several days, small red bumps may appear. In women, sores can erupt in the vaginal area, external genitals, buttocks, anus or cervix. In men, sores can appear on the penis, scrotum, buttocks, anus or thighs, or inside the tube from the bladder through the penis (urethra).
HPV is one of the most common types of STIs. Some forms put women at high risk of cervical cancer. Other forms cause genital warts. HPV usually has no signs or symptoms.
- The signs and symptoms of genital warts include:
- Small, flesh-colored or gray swellings in your genital area
- Several warts close together that take on a cauliflower shape
- Itching or discomfort in your genital area
- Bleeding with intercourse
In women, genital warts can grow on the vulva, the walls of the vagina, the area between the external genitals and the anus, and the cervix. In men, they may occur on the tip or shaft of the penis, the scrotum, or the anus. This STI is often dormant in men.
Hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are all contagious viral infections that affect your liver. Hepatitis B and C are the most serious of the three, but each can cause your liver to become inflamed.
Signs and symptoms may occur after several weeks and may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially in the area of your liver on your right side beneath your lower ribs
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
- Muscle or joint pain
- Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
If you’re sexually active you need to get tested a minimum of every 6 months. If this is unrealistic to your lifestyle, you should keep it at least to a year. STD’s are no joke. Plenty have medication available but its better to avoid life-threatening diseases, and unnecessary medical expenses when you could prevent them. Always use condoms and make sure to practice safe sex. The Departamento de Salud de Puerto Rico offers Free Hepatitis C Testing, Free HIV Testing, and Free STD Testing. You can also consult NeedyMeds to find low-cost clinics.