The term “social disease” is another name for a sexually transmitted disease (STD). This nomenclature reflects the heavy stigma that a diagnosis with a venereal disease can carry. The reality is that the most common STD’s (gonorrhea and chlamydia) are curable and will not negatively affect future sex partners.
HIV is the exception that can still be reduced to undetectable levels that are thought to be untransmittable. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drugs are also available for those at highest risk to kill HIV before it sets in if taken within 72 hours or exposure.
Although drug-resistant strains of many bacterial STD infections are on the rise, this means that people who contract the infections are more likely to experience harsh side-effects from stronger antibiotics and will have to follow through the regimen as directed to prevent the development of incurable drug-resistance.
Some sexually transmitted diseases can be transmitted in blood transfusions, dirty intravenous needles, medical instruments, breastfeeding, or from mother to offspring. A few sexually transmitted diseases like hepatitis and herpes can even be spread by contaminated food or sharing a toothbrush, a towel, a razor, etc.
The ease of catching a sexually transmitted disease without even having sex makes it important for Americans to get tested even if they are in a monogamous relationship. Symptoms of diseases like Hepatitis C can lie dormant for 2-30 years while still causing cirrhosis of the liver and organ damage.
The Two Herpes Viruses
Herpes simplex type-1 is the second most common STD after the human papillomavirus (HPV). Herpes may exist in 50-85 percent of the population and yet lie dormant with no side-effects for the majority. HSV-1 can be transmitted by saliva and is spread easily by kissing.
It is possible to infect genitals with HSV-1 via oral sex. However, the main cause of herpes outbreaks on the genitalia is the dreaded herpes type-2 virus. This virus will cause sores or a rash similar to jock itch to break out on the genitals and groin area with intense itching. HSV-1 only causes cold sores on the mouth.
Subsequent outbreaks can be triggered by sex, stress, and other factors but become less frequent and less severe as the disease progresses. For men, herpes is typically asymptomatic and can lie dormant for years before an outbreak if one ever occurs.
Testing for herpes is also problematic because the virus can only be detected on days when it is shedding. It can be shedding on days when there is no visible outbreak, although a current outbreak usually correlates with active shedding and increases the risks of transmission.
While some forms of HPV can be vaccinated against, herpes outbreaks can only be reduced by taking antiviral drugs like Valtrex. People who are infected with HIV are most prone to the development of herpes symptoms because they have a compromised immune system.
STD’s Trending in Atlanta, GA
STD’s are reaching epidemic rates in Georgia and the LGBT communities of Atlanta in particular. The Atlanta-based CDC recently ranked Georgia among the top five STD capitals in the nation after analyzing the statistical reports of 2.29 million new cases of syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
If the current trends continue, it is also likely that Georgia will have the second highest concentration of HIV cases with as many as 1 in 51 people being infected during their lifetimes.
The lax attitude towards HIV by many in the community is that it is just a disease, and that it may be better to contract it due to the housing and government benefits for people handicapped by it. Georgia is the current leader for new syphilis cases in the country and is being hit hard with drug-resistant strains.
STD Testing Atlanta, GA
Many people wait months to get results from their general health care provider or other community testing sites when they need to obtain information on their STD status. However, many people now prefer the anonymity of having their screenings carried out by STD Check. STD Check destroys all records related to the testing and billing transactions.
When it comes to social diseases, more people are willing to go through with the testing that safeguards their health when they know that it won’t go onto their permanent medical record. STD Check provides the alternative to traditional methods by offering patients the convenience, quality assurances, and privacy they desire.
STD Check tests for all the STD’s that are trending and considered to be high-risk in Atlanta at this time. Whether you need a test for herpes, hepatitis, HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia, STD check offers quick, accurate, reliable tests with no major blood draws. You can even talk to a doctor over the phone to get an antibiotic.
You simply have your fingertip pricked for a drop of blood if you choose certain panels or give a urine sample for others. The HIV test uses a simple oral swab early in the morning. These quick and painless steps can be completed at a local STD Check clinic in a matter of minutes.
Symptoms of the STDs
Syphilis is an insidious STD that can have mild or intermittent general symptoms that evade detection. The infection plays out over three stages. In the first stage, the infected person may develop one or more chancre sores where the syphilis infection entered the body.
The chancre can be located anywhere on the sexual organs, even deep in the vagina. It may seem like a harmless bump or can appear like an open sore. The sores are painless but highly contagious. Chancre sores are rarely visible until 3 weeks after infection and may take up to 3 months to appear.
Even though the sores only last for 3-6 weeks, if treatment is not sought, the syphilis virus will still be active in your body and transmittable. A full regimen of antibiotics have to be taken in order to prevent the infection from progressing to subsequent stages.
In the second stage of syphilis, the symptoms manifest a lot like an initial HIV infection when the infected person is going through seroconversion. However, the slight rash is distinctively upon the soles of the feet or palms of the hands. It can, however, be so mild that you do not even see it.
Other Second-Stage Symptoms of Syphilis
- Low-grade fever
- Mild flu-like symptoms
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches
- Weight loss
- Hair loss
- Anal, oral, or vaginal sores
Second stage symptoms are not limited to one episode. A person may go through several phases of these symptoms that last anywhere from 2-6 weeks at a time. The outbreaks may occur intermittently, once, or frequently over a 2 year period.
Even after the symptoms have ceased, you will still have syphilis in your body. It is possible that you can take antibiotics for some other reason and kill the infection simultaneously without ever knowing you had it.
If syphilis progresses into the final stage, the damage from this point on can be permanent even if you succeed in treating it and curing the infection. Testing for syphilis is important to prevent the complications.
Third-Stage Symptoms of Syphilis
- Organ damage
- Brain damage
- Nerve damage
The final stages of syphilis are particularly critical and can come about suddenly if you ignored the general warnings of previous stages that something may be wrong.
Due to the mild nature of these symptoms and their elusiveness, most people fail to consider that an STD is to blame. It is easy to mistake many symptoms with a cold or rash. Only people who have read extensively about syphilis will take precautions.
Chlamydia is a difficult STD to detect because it is often asymptomatic. In fact, up to 70 percent of women who tested positive reported that they experienced no symptoms. There are over 40 different types of vaginal infections that may produce similar symptoms even if they do notice the infection.
Everything from vaginosis to a yeast infection can likewise lead to painful sex and vaginal discharge. Even vaginal drying that often occurs as women age and after childbirth can cause similar symptoms while increasing the risk of acquiring such an infection.
Chlamydia Symptoms in Men and Women
- Burning sensation during urination
- Pain during sex
- Discharge from the penis (pus, milky, or watery)
- Vaginal discharge (yellowish or pungent)
- Pain or swelling in testicles
- Pains in the abdomen
- Bleeding at times other than menstruation
In addition to these symptoms, it can infect the eyes and throat. You can have pain, discharge, itching, and redness in the eyes. Infection in the throat is less common.
Women suffer the most when inflicted by this infection. Because it often goes undetected, it is usually untreated and leads to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause painful inflammation of the pelvic joints and lead to infertility.
PID from chlamydia is the leading cause of life-threatening ectopic pregnancies. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized embryo attaches outside of the uterus. This is the primary cause of death during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Men can become infertile if chlamydia is left untreated. In both cases, chlamydia can also cause an inflammation of the joints, eyes, and urethra. This is a condition known as reactive arthritis (SARA). It has no cure but typically clears up on its own in a matter of months.
Although the symptoms of gonorrhea are very similar to chlamydia, gonorrhea can progress into a more objectively deadly condition if left untreated.
Gonorrhea Symptoms in Men and Women
- Burning sensation during urination
- Pain during sex
- Discharge from the penis (cloudy and thick)
- Vaginal discharge (cloudy and thick)
- Pain or swelling in testicles
- Pains in the abdomen
- Bleeding at times other than menstruation or heavy menses
- Anal itching
- Pain during bowel movements
Gonorrhea is likewise responsible for causing infertility in men and women. It inflicts women with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). If left untreated, it can spread to the blood and cause a deadly infection known as disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI).
It is now easier than ever to obtain rapid testing from STD Check. Instead of worrying or chasing away romantic situations because your current romance is skeptical about your sexual history, it is better to get tested to be safe. The quick and easy methods also provide accuracy.
STD Check offers rapid RNA HIV testing and the 4th generation tests confirmed with the gold standard Western Blot. If you have refrained from sexual intercourse for 3 months or more, you are at the ideal window to confirm all-but-certain results for the majority of STD’s.
If you are concerned that you may have contracted an STD because you engaged in high-risk activity by getting drunk and having a one-night stand or having sex with a prostitute, consider triple testing just to be sure: immediately, then at 3 months, and finally at 6-months just to be safe.
Eliminate the stress in your life and move on after a mistake. Don’t let past mistakes haunt you forever. If you do test positive, the quicker you seek treatment, the better your prognosis. In any case, the safe, quick, and anonymous results of STD Check make it a primary choice among Atlanta natives.