Chlamydia symptoms

Chlamydia Information

Despite the numerous campaigns for raising awareness of the dangers of unprotected sex, many sexually transmitted infections, like chlamydia, are still a serious burden for people in developing countries, especially in Ghana.  With women considered to be at the highest risk of developing this infection compared to men, research shows.

Based on studies targeted towards the frequency of STIs (sexually transmitted infections) in Ghana, out of 186 people tested 167 had chlamydia, 24% being men, and 76% women.

According to statistics, 131 million people across the world are infected with chlamydia. This makes Chlamydia 50 times more common than any other STIs, including gonorrhea and syphilis. This serious infection can cause permanent damage resulting in infertility if left untreated.

Identifying the symptoms of this infection on time can help stop it from spreading. The symptoms can be treated and managed with the proper antibiotics only if caught on time. However, there is one problem – chlamydia is a sneaky infection. Based on records, 70% of women don’t even know they are infected with chlamydia and often mistake the symptoms for something else.

Read More: Chlamydia in Ghana

Symptoms of Chlamydia

Most of the symptoms will need weeks to show, but they do appear in both women and men. Here is a list of some of the most common symptoms people can experience.

  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Painful intercourse
  • Fever
  • Extreme need to urinate too often
  • Burning or painful urinating
  • Bleeding when not on period
  • Soft or swollen testicles
  • Milky discharge from the penis

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Symptoms of Chlamydia in the Eyes and Anus

Chlamydia doesn’t only affect the reproductive organs; it also infects other parts of the body, including the eyes and anus. If these parts of the body come in contact with infected vaginal fluid or semen, the infection can pass onto the areas and cause numerous problems. Here are some of the most common ways to recognize this infection.

  • Pain/bleeding/discharge from the anus
  • Pain/redness/discharge from the eyes

Since most of the symptoms are difficult to point out or won’t even show, it’s crucial to get tested. This is the only sure way to make sure if a person is infected. The ideal way to do it is to go to youth centers, colleges, or pharmacies where they offer to test.

Read More: Chlamydia in the Eye

Read More: Why get Tested for Chlamydia

Proper Diagnosis

If you suspect you have any STIs, you may have to go for a physical exam to check if any of the symptoms you are experiencing have to do with chlamydia. At the end of the exam, a swab sample from the affected area can be taken; this includes the reproductive organs, rectum, throat, or a sample from the urine. This can help conclude if there is a need for treatment or any need for antibiotics. That’s why it’s crucial to get tested.

Read More: Chlamydia Treatment

References

https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/rtis/stis-new-treatment-guidelines/en/

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/stds-hiv-safer-sex/chlamydia/chlamydia-symptoms

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chlamydia/symptoms/

http://www.ijstr.org/final-print/jan2014/Chlamydia-Trachomatis-Prevalence-In-Ghana-A-Study-At-A-Municipal-District-In-Western-Ghana.pdf

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/8181.php

Why Is It Important to Get Tested for STDs?

Online STI Test Kits For Home Use

STDs stand for sexually transmitted diseases, among which the most common are Gonorrhea, Syphilis, genital herpes, Chlamydia, AIDS, and many others. As the term suggests, STDs are diseases caused by viruses or bacteria that are transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, including oral, vaginal, and anal sexual intercourse.

Sex is still a taboo in many countries, including Ghana, which only contributes to the widespread of the many possible STDs. Back in 2017, it has been revealed that Gonorrhea has affected approximately 6.6% of the women and 3.5% of the men in Ghana.  The prevalence of the HSV-1 and HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex Virus) was also high in the female population in Ghana. And syphilis has been found to be present within 2.7% of the women in Ghana as well. The prevalence of HIV in the adult population in Ghana was reported to be around 2.4%, being especially high in the Volta Region.

Read More: Gonorrhea in Ghana

Read More: Chlamydia in Ghana

Read More: Syphilis in Ghana

Read More: Genital Herpes in Ghana

5 Reasons why it is important to get tested for STDs

Here you get 5 reasons to get tested for STDS

It is an easy and quick procedure

For most STDs, the diagnosis includes taking a blood sample, a urine sample, or a simple swap. This is a process that can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours. It is simple, easy, and quick, and not to mention that in most countries, testing for any STD is free of charge.

Early diagnosis is the key

Early diagnosis is the key to most health problems, including STDs. By detecting an existing STD in its early stages, you are increasing the success of treating and even curing it. Although learning that you are struggling with an STD can be scary, it should not hold you back from doing what is best for your health.

There is the proper treatment for most STDs available

Science has offered us proper treatment methods for most STDs, making it even possible for them to be cured. Even the hardest STDs can be properly treated and maintained so that the patient enjoys a good lifestyle and health quality as much as possible. The first step is getting diagnosed.

Read More: All you need to know about STD’s in Africa

Often STD symptoms are not visible

Unfortunately, many STDs are not causing any symptoms or are causing only mild symptoms until they enter a late stage. Once they enter a late stage, the damage is greater, and the treatment is harder and longer. If you suspect that you might have an STD, you should definitely get tested. For most STDs, their symptoms are not visible by the human eye, and testing is the only way to find out if they are present or not.

Testing helps protect your health

STDs threaten to reduce the quality of your health, introducing various health risks into your life. Infertility, cervical cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, damage to the internal organs, are only some of the potential health risks due to undiagnosed and untreated STD.

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Any STD should be reported to a health professional as soon as its first symptoms occur. However, that is often not the case. While feeling ashamed is probably the most common reason to not report a present STD, people, especially in Ghana and Africa in general, often fail to find a proper health professional that can diagnose and properly treat their health issue. It is of high importance to consult a doctor about any present health issue, including a present STD. And here are five reasons why you would consider talking to a doctor about it.

References

https://www.iamat.org/country/ghana/risk/sexually-transmitted-infections

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0205863

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6081947/

https://tradingeconomics.com/ghana/prevalence-of-syphilis-percent-of-women-attending-antenatal-care-wb-data.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5998162/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351246

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8261726

https://www.parkview.com/community/dashboard/the-risks-of-untreated-stds

Chlamydia in Ghana

Like in many of the sub-Saharan countries, Ghana struggles with the scourge of sexually transmitted diseases. Chlamydia is most common in the recent emerging studies. It is due to a combination of factors and ignorance. Though the disease can be fatal, the population is still adamant about coming forth for testing. With retrogressive traditional beliefs, most men are suffering in silence.

Demographic Prevalence of Chlamydia

The hindrance of having precise statistics is the laying back of men to come for testing. However, with the scanty tests that are available, it proves that men are more prevalent in getting chlamydia than women. Despite the statistics, there is a low drive in civic education in combating the spread of venereal disease. Most young men are engaging in multiple sexual activities without any meaningful protection.

In the geographical distribution, fewer women in big cities like Accra and Kumasi show fewer numbers in findings than in the countryside. However, it does not indicate that the cities are clean of the disease. Nonetheless, it could mean that most women in big urban centers are more aware of their role in using protection during sexual encounters.

Repercussions of Untreated Chlamydia in Women

The statistics of the infections in women are rising. This is because women undergo several screening tests during their pregnancy periods. Still, most of them discover they have the disease when the damage to the pregnancy is done. The typical outcomes of untreated infections in pregnant women are many.

They range from tubal infections, stillbirth, congenital deformations, and pre-term labor. Other manifestations include giving birth to low weight babies, and babies with traces of the disease. The most significant setback is the delivery of most women in the countryside through traditional midwives. Likewise, there is a culture of overdependence on conventional herbs.

Mitigation Measures on Chlamydia in Ghana

The fight against chlamydia and other related diseases is poorly gaining ground due to several factors. Most of the men do not come forward for testing and subsequent treatment. For those who do, they do not come back after three months for confirmation of cure.

There is a culture of multiple sexual partners in most young people. This aids in the spread of the disease, mostly in institutions of higher learning. It is an epidemic that is coupled with diverse catalysts. Similarly, there are many instances where victims of the disease opt for over the counter medication rather than proper consultation. When the symptoms cease, one leaves the drug.

With a combination of all the above and other traditional beliefs of witchcraft, the fight against chlamydia will be slow in Ghana. Most people who keep suffering are women and unborn children. Indeed, the relevant authorities need to gain momentum.

References

https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-019-4035-y

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2956315/

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2016/9315757/

http://ugspace.ug.edu.gh/bitstream/handle/123456789/23459/Multiple%20Sexual%20Partnerships%20and%20Sexually%20Transmitted%20Infections.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Syphilis in Ghana

Like many of the other sexually transmitted diseases, Syphilis seems to be following the same trend in Ghana. The women are more proactive in seeking medication for this disease than men. Syphilis is a crippling disease for many people. If you do not seek immediate medical attention, your genitalia and reproductive system may suffer irreparable damage.

Most of the statistics in Ghana are dependent on the few who come forward. The biggest fight should be against stigmatization and ignorance. Many people reach out for self-medication when they notice specific changes in the genitals. This creates a long term resistance to the disease.

Syphilis Statistics in Ghana

It is a tricky affair to have a real picture of Syphilis infections in the country. Most of the people who come forward are pregnant women. In some campaign drives, the pattern still comes out in the predicted forecast. The men are more susceptible to the disease than women. Despite the glaring facts, there is a shortfall of zeal in managing ignorance in most people. Thus, the government must address the position of men in leading the testing and treatment campaigns.

In the women population, the prevalence is high in rural married women. That poses a great danger in society. If the infections are within married couples, it shows the high rates of extramarital affairs. In comparison to the urban women, the prevailing rates are lower than their rural counterparts. The question comes, what are the urban women doing, right? Ignorance might be the difference. In the urban setup, women understand better the options of safe sex. Again, they have better resources and living standards of bargaining for safer sex.

Poverty is a significant indicator of the spread of the disease. From the numbers of positive testing coming from the rural and urban poor, it must be clear that prostitution may be a contributing factor. But more civic research needs to be there for any confirmation of the same.

Mitigating the Spread of Syphilis

Since the statistics coming in are less than adequate, it will take hard work for the relevant agencies to plan for any meaningful campaign. With more stakeholders joining in, the general feeling is, the numbers derived from pregnant women may not be sufficient. So there is a need for more sensitization and testing.

Even without the requisite statistics in place, the government should engage the people for a mitigating policy. The apparent indicators point to women and poverty. Rural women should be empowered to bargain for safe sex. The poor should be given a chance to have dignity and a decent living. If that can be the start, there can be a decisive long term policy for a more significant recovery.

References

https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-019-3967-6

https://sti.bmj.com/content/87/Suppl_1/A119.1

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/276484782_Seroprevalence_of_Syphilis_Infection_in_Individuals_at_Cape_Coast_Metropolis_Ghana

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5998162/

Genital Herpes in Ghana

The grim statistics of the spread of genital herpes is disturbing. More and more young men and women are finding themselves in dangerous exposures of the disease. It is good that some organizations are taking the lead in creating awareness for better sexual interactions. As in most societies, the youth and women from underserved communities are the most vulnerable. In addition to that, there is a need to improve the educational awareness of the communities.

In doing so, you create an avenue that most people will participate in and formulate their coping strategies. Due to the gap that exists between the leaders and the people in society, meaningful interaction does not exist. Equally, the prevalence of genital herpes continues to ravage the young and old.

Prevalence Statistics of Genital Herpes among Ghanaians

Again like in other studies, it is the women who discover their status on genital herpes. This happens when they undergo cervical screening. Since most of them come from poor backgrounds, they find out about herpes when they are over the latent stage. Poverty and ignorance are the two main reasons for the late diagnosis.

In combating the spread of HIV, the Ghanaian authorities need to put genital herpes into consideration. In the populations where HIV is high, most of the people are testing positive with herpes. This means there is a high rate of sexual activities across the spectrum. More stakeholders are now reaching out to the government to help in formulating a lasting solution to these endemic numbers.

Rural women are the pillars of the Ghanaian cultural setup. Unfortunately, they are the ones who are susceptible to the genital herpes menace. Poverty, coercion, and lack of proper screening all contribute to the spread of the virus. The first thing to do is helping these poor girls and mothers gain meaningful employment. That will stop the coercion and sexual exploitation for money.

Since genital herpes and HIV go hand in hand in this setup, there should be a multifaceted effort to manage both at once. In research showing the awareness and knowledge of young people on sexuality, the findings condemn both community and government agencies. Shockingly, girls below the age of 16 are engaging in sexual activities with more than one partner. Social workers need to step in and raise proper awareness of sexually transmitted diseases.

Mitigation

Reports after the other are urging the government to formulate and implement the measures today. The infections are in their endemic stages. Being cautious will not realize any meaningful results as of now.

The lack of appetite for policy formulation and poor accountability on the part of government agencies is contributing to the spread of the herpes virus. The civic society is doing the best it can, but the ultimate solution lies with the people. 

References

https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-018-3288-1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3121136/

http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/journal/paperinfo?journalid=280&doi=10.11648/j.ijidt.20180303.11

https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/rib1-04.pdf

Gonorrhea in Ghana

Gonorrhea information

It is one of the oldest known venereal diseases to humankind. Yet it is the most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. This is due to the mutation of the disease-causing agents. Most people go for self-medication, making the combating of the disease unattainable. This is not unique to Ghana alone. It is a typical pattern in almost all countries south of the Sahara.

The campaigns against gonorrhea do much less than the intended outcome. As the spreading of the disease continues, most people resort to the traditional healers for remedy. It is easier for treatment at the shrine than in hospitals. It is high time people deal with the stigmatization of the sufferers.

Prevalence Statistics of Gonorrhea

Though it is the women who come forward for medication after testing, the men stay behind. The irony of the matter is the regular statistics in any testing campaign proves that more men have the disease than women. The government needs to address the reluctance to medication in men as soon as possible.

Like in the campaigns against chlamydia, men are shy to come forward and admit they have gonorrhea. Most of them are either in a marriage or in a sexual relationship. Coming forward will expose the extramarital affairs that go on.

Resistance to Drugs

The worrying trend in the recent findings shows that there are many people with a type of gonorrhea that is highly resistant. The tests with conventional drugs are proving futile. The resistance build-up may be a result of self-medication during an infection. After the usage of several antibiotics, the disease develops a high tolerance for regular medication.

It is not a wonder for the disease to be highly resistant to drugs. Most of the government clinics and hospitals lack proper medication for infectious diseases. This gives the traditional healers the power to lead in treating most patients

Mitigation Measures

In the first place, the relevant agencies have to change tact on how they approach this problem. The traditional way of waiting for people to come for testing is not bearing fruit. There must be another elaborate campaign of having people go for testing. In other sub-Saharan countries, the testing personnels visit people in their homes. Though the testing is voluntary, the results are bearing more testing than the wait and see approach.

Many statistics prove that sexually transmitted diseases are an epidemic in Ghana. The numbers keep rising in every testing drive, yet the government is still passive. One of the recent findings is urging the agencies for further observation of the gonorrhea patterns.

Gonorrhea is more prevalent in younger men and women. They fall in the demographic group that is most sexually active and carefree. There is a high need for urgent remedial mitigation.

References

https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-019-4035-y

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25562852

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271135531_Gonorrhea_Surveillance_in_Ghana_Africa