Did you know that sexually transmitted diseases were at an all time high in the US last year? It is estimated that one in four Americans has an STD, while over 1 million STDs are acquired every day worldwide.
Preventing STDs starts with being well informed which is why we bring you a list of top 10 worst diseases that can be spread through sexual contact.
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Trichomoniasis, colloquially known as trich, is an STD caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. According to the World Health Organization, three are 160 million new cases of trich every year around the world, with between 5 and 8 million infections occurring in the US alone.
The disease is most often spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex, but it can also spread through genital touching. Symptoms of trich may include itching in the genital area, a foul-smelling discharge, burning with urination, and pain during intercourse. However, many infected people remain asymptomatic and can spread the disease even when the symptoms are not present.
While trich can be easily treated with antibiotics, the parasite damages the inner lining of the vagina which increases a woman’s risk of getting HIV/AIDS and can also lead to chronic inflammation of prostate in men which may eventually lead to prostate cancer. Methods of prevention include sexual abstinence, using condoms, not douching, and getting tested for STDs with each new partner.
9. Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is an infection caused by herpes simplex virus and one of the most common STDs in the world. Most infected people don’t experience any symptoms, but when symptoms do appear they typically include small blisters that break open to form painful ulcers on the genital area. Even though genital herpes is most contagious when symptoms are present, it can still be passed to others in the absence of symptoms.
The onset is usually around 4 days after exposure and symptoms can last up to 4 weeks. In addition to painful blisters, an infected person may also experience itching and burning sensation, discharge, fever, headache, muscle pain, enlarged lymph nodes, and general feeling of discomfort. Women also experience additional symptoms such as painful urination and inflammation of the cervix.
Genital herpes cannot be cured and infection usually recurs four to six times per year. Complications are rare but may include bladder problems, meningitis, and an increased risk of HIV/AIDS. As with most STDs, prevention includes abstinence, using condoms, and only having sex with partners who have tested negative for HSV.
Pubic lice, better known as crabs, are parasitic insects that primarily infest the pubic or genital area of humans. Nits and live lice are often visible to the naked eye and adult lice can sometimes be seen crawling on the skin. In most cases, crabs are transmitted through sexual activity but nonsexual transmission is also possible. For example, a person can get crabs from sleeping in an infested bed, using infested towels, wearing infested clothing, or rarely by using an infested toilet seat.
The main symptom of crabs is intense itching in the pubic-hair area, which gradually becomes stronger over several weeks following infestation. This itching is caused by an allergic reaction to the saliva produced by the parasite, and usually starts about five days after a person gets crabs.
Crabs are treated with both over-the-counter and prescription medications and several rounds of treatment are usually needed to kill all of the newly hatched nymphs. Sexual contact should be avoided until all signs of infestation disappear. People with more sex partners are at a greater risk of getting crabs and since condoms do not provide effective protection, the only way to reduce your risk is through abstinence or mutual monogamy with an uninfected partner.
Unlike crabs, the next STD on our list is spread exclusively through sexual contact. Chancroid, also known as soft chancre, is a bacterial infection mainly found in developing countries and among low socioeconomic populations.
The symptoms of chancroid include ulcers and open sores in the genital area, pain with urination and intercourse..