Presently there are over 25 sexually transmitted diseases. Reynolds County Health Center conducts screening and treatment, if needed & you meet eligibility guidelines, for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV, otherwise referred to as Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s) or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s). All testing is confidential and free of charge.
Slang: “dose”, “clap”, “drip”
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease that is most common in people ages 15 to 30; many of those infected with gonorrhea also have chlamydia. Gonorrhea is caused by a bacterium known as Neisseria gonorrheae.
Males: Most infected men have symptoms, which can include a milky discharge from the penis and burning sensation upon urination.
Females: Most women have no symptoms; if symptoms are present, there is often a vaginal discharge and/or painful urination.
Male/Female: Rectal: itching, pain and discharge with blood or pus. Oral: sore Throat, swollen glands.
Curable with antibiotic therapy. If not treated can cause reproductive organs damage, infertility, heart trouble, skin disease, arthritis & blindness, and a mother can transmit it to her newborn during childbirth.
Slang: “The Clam”, “Gooey Stuff”
Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the country. It is caused by a bacterium known as Chlamydia Trachomatis and is often without symptoms. Chlamydia is frequently diagnosed in teenagers and young adults.
Males: Infected men commonly have no symptoms; if symptoms are present, there is often a watery or milky discharge from the penis and a burning sensation upon urination.
Females: Infected women commonly show no symptoms; if symptoms are present, there is most often vaginal discharge and/or bleeding; low abdominal pain and painful urination.
Male/Female: Rectal: Pain, itching and discharge with blood or pus.
Curable with antibiotic therapy. If not treated can cause reproductive organ damage, infertility, and the mother can transmit to her newborn during childbirth.
Slang: “Pox”, “Bad Blood”
A sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterium known as Treponema pallidum that may be transmitted sexually for from mother to child before or at the time of birth (congenital syphilis).
Primary Stage: Small painless sore where organism enters the body (genital, oral or rectal); in women the sore may be internal and go unnoticed.
Secondary Stage: Rash that can involve the palms and soles of the feet; swollen lymph glands, fever, and painless sores often found in the mouth.
Latent Stage: Patient does not have symptoms-stage could last for years.
Late Stage: If left untreated can cause damage to the brain, or heart, blindness and/ or death.
Can be cured with antibiotic therapy. If left untreated, it can cause heart disease, brain damage, blindness, death, and a mother can transmit it to her newborn during childbirth.
HIV and AIDS
HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the virus that causes AIDS. This virus attacks an individual’s immune system and reduces the individual’s ability to fight off a variety of infections and some cancers.
When an individual infected with HIV begins to develop symptoms and/or infections a doctor may diagnose that person as having AIDS. AIDS is the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. A diagnosis of AIDS means that an individual is living with HIV and also has a CD4+T-cell count of 200 or less and an opportunistic infection.
What are CD4+ T cells?
CD4+ T cells are a type of white blood cells that assist in protecting the body from various forms of infection. These specific white blood cells are responsible for fighting off infections. HIV targets and destroys these cells to weaken the immune system.
How is HIV passed from one person to another?
HIV can be passed from an infected person to an uninfected person through unprotected anal, vaginal, oral sex. HIV can also be passed while sharing needles or reusing equipment when injecting drugs, tattooing or body piercing. HIV can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. The body fluids that are known to transmit HIV from one person to another are:
- Semen (e.g. thick whitish secretion released from a man’s penis during sexual arousal)
- Vaginal Fluids (e.g. natural lubricant found in a woman’s vagina during sexual arousal and fluid released during sexual climax)
- Breast Milk
How is HIV not spread?
HIV is not spread through casual contact. Casual contact can be considered to be any activities, in which an individual does not come into contact with another’s blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or breast milk. Specifically HIV cannot be spread by:
- Shaking hands
- Dry kissing
- Using the same eating or drinking utensils
- Restroom facilities
- Attending the same church, school, or work place