STD Screening (Sexually Transmitted Disease Screening and Evaluation)
What are Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)?
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or venereal diseases are spread through sexual contact. The microorganisms that cause STDs generally spread through semen, vaginal fluids, and other body fluids.
Some STDs may spread through modes other than sexual intercourse. For example, during breastfeeding from mother to infant and by sharing of drug needles or blood transfusion (infected blood).
According to WHO, 1 million new STDs are acquired each day across the globe.
STDs are caused by infectious organisms such as:
- Viruses (HIV, human papillomavirus, genital herpes)
- Bacteria (syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia)
- Parasites (trichomoniasis)
The symptoms of STDs include:
- Development of sores or bumps around the genital, rectal, oral area
- Burning pain during urination
- Discharge from the penis or vagina
- Vaginal bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Pain during sex
- Skin rash over hands, feet, and trunk
- Swollen lymph nodes
Factors that increase your risk for STDs include:
- Unprotected sexual intercourse
- Multiple sexual partners
- History of an STD infection
- Excessive alcohol or recreational drug use
- Sharing syringes or needles
Untreated sexually transmitted diseases can cause:
- Pelvicinflammatory disease
- Heart disease
To arrive at an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will discuss your symptoms, sexual history, perform a physical examination, and order laboratory investigations of blood, urine, and fluid samples.
The treatment will depend on the type of STD infection. The various options include:
- Antibiotics for bacterial STD infections.
- Antiviral drugs
- Antifungal drugs
- Antiprotozoal drugs
It is important to abstain from sexual contact until the completion of treatment.
To prevent or reduce the risk of STDs use the following precautions:
- Get vaccinated (Vaccines are available against HPV, hepatitis A & B)
- Practice safe sex
- Regularly undergo medical check-ups