Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are the infections caused by a sexual contact with an infected person. Some of these infections can also spread from mother to infant or unborn babies. The microorganisms enter the body via the skin and mucosal linings of the genitals (urethra, cervix, vagina, rectum) and oral cavity. The causative organisms are bacteria, spirochete, chlamydia, virus, protozoa, fungi and parasites. Infections does not always cause symptoms, but when symptoms are present it is termed as sexually transmitted disease (STD). If not treated they can lead to complications like pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, tubal or ectopic pregnancy, urethral stricture (narrowing) and cervical cancer.
STDs and Causative Organisms
|Disease||Type of Organism|
|Gonorrhea, Chancroid, Bacterial Baginosis||Bacteria|
|Nongonococcal Urethritis, Epididymitis, Cervicitis, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease,
|Herpes Genitalis, Hepatitis B, Cytomegalovirus, HIV/AIDS, Condylomata Acuminate, Molluscum Contagiosum||Virus|
|Pediculosis pubis (Pubic lice), Scabies||Parasite|
Sexually transmitted infection does not always show symptoms.
Some of the symptoms and organism/disease conditions include the following:
History, physical exam and lab tests as necessary for diagnosing the problem.
Because of perceived stigma and possible threat to emotional relationships, patients may not be comfortable for seeking medical advise or will be reluctant to disclose full and reliable history. In many cases, patients may not have common symptoms of the disease. It is always important to give correct information to your health care provider for easier diagnosis.
Blood test, tests of body fluid and imaging tests may be necessary. Patients diagnosed with one STD should be screened for other common STIs as well.
It is very important to consult your physician for treatment. Self treatment is not advisable.
|Chlamydia and Gonorrhea: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and pelvic inflammatory disease are bacterial STDs/STIs, and are treated with antibiotics. Antibiotic course should be completed even if the symptom goes away. Sexual partner should also be treated. If chlamydia and gonorrhea are not treated properly, they can cause permanent damage to reproductive organs and result in infertility.
Syphilis: Penicillin is the drug of choice. Treatment regimen depends upon stage of syphilis.
Bacterial vaginosis: Bacterial vaginosis can be treated with antibiotics, typically metronidazole.
Genital herpes: Genital herpes can be treated with antiviral drugs such as Acyclovir, Valacyclovir. Although this medication can limit the length and severity of outbreaks, it does not cure the infection completely. If a pregnant woman has an herpes outbreak during labor, cesarean section is done to reduce the risk of transmission of herpes to the unborn child.
Genital warts: Cryotherapy (freezing), cauterization (burning), laser surgery are treatment options. There is some chance of transmission of disease even after symptoms related to warts are no longer visible/evident.
Hepatitis B: The goal of the treatment is to prevent further liver damage. Antiviral medicines are used to treat hepatitis B. Liver transplant done for end stage liver disease
Trichomoniasis: Trichomoniasis can be treated with a single dose of an antibiotic, usually either metronidazole or tinidazole, taken by mouth.
Scabies: Permethrin are the drug of choice for treating scabies.
Candidiasis: It is treated with antifungal drug like fluconazole.
HIV: treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART)
When to seek a Medical Care?
Prevention: Here are some common methods to prevent STIs: