Contributor: Mariah Rossi and Dr. Emran
Dr. Emran talks about the sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Bacterial Vaginosis. He explains that all of these STDs are curable and that those who are sexually active should be tested at least once a year.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection and can be passed from partner to partner during sexual intercourse regardless of gender. It is a bacterial infection that can be examined under a microscope which has the appearance of 2 bubbles, also referred to as Gonococcus. The symptoms that accompany Gonorrhea are painful urination, discharge, swelling, and spotting in women. It is not isolated to the genital area and can affect the rectal area, eyes, and throat. If left untreated, the bacteria can spread through the blood and affect the joints, resulting in Septic Arthritis.
Gonorrhea can be detected from a urine sample or a cervical test in women. The sample will be sent to a lab and if tests positive then it has Gonorrhea DNA. Gonorrhea is easily treated by an antibiotic, either an oral antibiotic or an injection in a single treatment. Partners must be treated at the same time, otherwise, the infection will continue to spread. Gonorrhea can be prevented by using condoms. If left untreated it can lead to infertility and during pregnancy it can affect the baby. This can cause blindness in the child. It is the responsibility of those who are tested positive to inform all partners and get treated.
Chlamydia is also a bacterial STD spread by sexual intercourse. It is a microscopic organism and often travels with Gonorrhea. Its symptoms include odor, discharge, or bleeding. It can also be detected by a urine sample or a swab. Partners must both be treated at the same time. If left untreated, it can be dangerous and result in a severe pelvic infection in women that may lead to hospitalization. Furthermore, scar tissue can form in fallopian tubes and lead to ectopic pregnancies or tubal pregnancies which are very dangerous.
Lastly, Bacterial Vaginosis is not an STD but occurs when there is an overgrowth of normal bacteria in the vagina. Typically it affects women from 15-45 year old and is accompanied by discharge or odor that can make women very uncomfortable. A pelvic exam will confirm the diagnosis and a short course of antibiotics is effective. If left untreated in pregnant women it can cause preterm labor or an underweight baby.
Dr. Emran addresses that these STDs are a preventable epidemic in the U.S. and encourages those who are sexually active to get tested and inform their partners. Testing can be done at a local doctor’s office, free STD clinic, or Planned Parenthood. The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) website is linked below for more information.
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