transmitted diseases (STDs) are conditions passed from one person to another
through sexual contact. Millions of people around the globe have STDs,
especially in developing countries, including Ghana and other African nations.
Prevention of STDs is entirely possible, but to make it happen, we need to get
informed and learn as much as we can about them. The main purpose of this post
is to highlight common STDs and show you how to recognize their symptoms.
herpes is a common STD caused by the herpes simplex virus. The virus is
categorized into two types: HSV-1, which is mainly transmitted through
oral-to-oral contact, usually causing cold sores, but can also induce genital
herpes and HSV-2, which is an STD.
common is genital herpes?
to the World
Health Organization (WHO), about 3.7 billion people
under the age of 50, or 67% of the world population, have HSV-1 infection.
About 417 million people aged 15-49, or 11% of the world population, have HSV-2
infection. Estimates show that 350 million
women (87%) and 355 million men (87%) in Africa have HSV-1 virus. On the other
hand, the HSV-2 virus affects 17 million women in 18 million men in Africa.
Evidence confirms that the prevalence of genital herpes in Ghana is high, and it could be attributed to high endemicity and inadequate intervention, especially in women.
Read More: Genital Herpes in Ghana
is at risk of developing genital herpes?
speaking, every sexually active man or woman can develop genital herpes. That
being said, some people are at a higher risk than others. Common risk factors
associated with genital herpes include:
unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sex
multiple sex partners
a sexual partner who tested positive for genital herpes
of genital herpes
ability to recognize the signs and symptoms of some STD helps an affected man
or woman to get much-needed treatment. That’s why it’s
important to learn how to recognize symptoms of genital herpes, particularly
because most people are not even aware they have it. In most cases, symptoms
are mild, and patients think they will go away on their own without realizing
they have an STD, which they can transmit to other people.
tend to develop two to 12 days after exposure to HSV. People usually
and tenderness in the genital area
in the genital area
red bumps or tiny white blisters
which can rapture, bleed, ooze, and make it difficult to urinate
on the sites where ulcers rapture
affected person experiences flu-like symptoms during the initial outbreak. They
may also experience headache, muscle ache, fever, and swollen lymph nodes in
the groin. Sores associated with genital herpes develop on buttocks, thighs,
anus, mouth, and even urethra. Women can also develop sores on the cervix and
external genitals while men can notice them on scrotum and penis.
Men and women with recurrent herpes develop symptoms about 48 hours before the outbreak. They may notice tingling, pain, and itching at the site of infection. The pain may, in some cases, extend down to buttocks and knees.
Read More: Genital Herpes Symptoms
many men and women don’t
go to see their doctor get this STD treated. When left unmanaged, genital
herpes can lead to many complications such as increased risk to other STDs,
meningitis, proctitis (rectal inflammation), bladder problems, and infection of
is genital herpes treated?
cure which could eliminate genital herpes entirely doesn’t exist, but it is still possible to get the
necessary treatment. The main objective of the treatment is to lower the
chances of transmitting genital herpes to other people, reduce the frequency of
occurrence, lower severity of symptoms, and help sores heal. For this purpose,
doctors prescribe antiviral medications such as Acyclovir (Zovirax) and
Getting tested regularly is important, and luckily, today, you can order a test online and do it in the comfort of your home rather than scheduling an appointment at the doctor’s office.
Read More: Genital Herpes Treatment
is an STD caused by infection with the bacterium called Neisseria
which tends to infect moist and warm areas of the body such as urethra, eyes,
throat, vagina, anus, and female reproductive tract.
common is gonorrhea?
Sometimes referred to as “the clap,” gonorrhea is one of the most prevalent STDs. On a global level, 87 million new cases of gonorrhea are diagnosed each year. Like many other STDs, gonorrhea is also more prevalent in developing countries. For example, one study showed that out of 950 subjects from Ghana, 28% of them had gonorrhea, and men were more likely to develop it than women.
Read More: Gonorrhea in Ghana
is at risk of developing gonorrhea?
like with other sexually transmitted diseases, every man or woman who engages
in sexual intercourse can develop gonorrhea. But, the risk is higher in some
groups. Factors that increase your odds of developing gonorrhea include:
a new sex partner
of other sexually transmitted diseases
a sex partner who also has concurrent partners
people have no symptoms at all, but it doesn’t mean there is no infection. The absence of
symptoms can still mean you are infected and also able to transmit this STD to
other people. Generally speaking, signs and symptoms of gonorrhea develop one
to 14 days after the infection. Men and women experience gonorrhea differently,
and below you can see how they feel when they develop this STD.
tend to experience:
red, warm and swollen joints
yellow, or green urethral discharge that looks like pus
in the eyes, sensitivity to the light, pus-like discharge from the eyes
in scrotum or testicles
swallowing or swollen lymph nodes in the neck
or painful urination
discharge, itching, and pain in the anal area bleeding when passing stool
the flip side, women with gonorrhea may notice:
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Swollen, red, warm, and painful joints
- Vaginal discharge yellow or green in color
- Swelling of the vulva
- Frequent and painful urination
- Sore throat, itching, difficulty swallowing, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Bleeding in between periods
- Heavier periods
- Abdominal or pelvic pain and vomiting
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse
- Itching and pain in the anal area
Read More: Gonorrhea Symptoms
seen above, some men and women may not notice any symptoms at all, but they are
still infected. That is why it is crucial to get tested regularly, and home
tests could be incredibly practical in this case. Being proactive about sexual
health and symptoms of gonorrhea allows you to get the necessary treatment in a
timely manner. When left ignored, gonorrhea can cause multiple complications
such as infertility, an infection that spreads to other areas and joints in the
body, a higher risk of HIV/AIDS, and complications in babies born to infected
is gonorrhea treated
The primary route of treatment of gonorrhea is through antibiotics. Partners of infected men and women are also encouraged to get tested in order to prevent transmitting the STD back and forth or to other people.
Read More: Gonorrhea Treatment
is a common, sexually transmitted disease that affects men and women alike.
Just like other STDs, Chlamydia is caused by bacteria, and in this case, that
is Chlamydia trachomatis. The STD can be spread through vaginal, anal,
and oral sex, but it is also possible for pregnant women to spread Chlamydia to
their babies during delivery.
common is Chlamydia?
According to the WHO, about 127 million cases of Chlamydia are diagnosed each year. That is a staggering number. One of the most common reasons behind the ever-growing incidence of Chlamydia, especially in developing nations such as Ghana, is the lack of public awareness. In fact, the prevalence of STDs in Ghana is expected to grow as stigmatization continues. And, as you are already aware, stigmatization occurs due to the absence of the above-mentioned public awareness.
Read More: Chlamydia in Ghana
is at risk of developing Chlamydia?
that increase a person’s
risk of developing this sexually transmitted disease include:
of some STD
sex without a condom
multiple sex partners in a year
sexually active before the age of 25
tested regularly can help decrease your risk of developing Chlamydia. Regular
tests also raise awareness of this STD, fight stigmatization, and prevent
spreading Chlamydia to other people. Besides “traditional” testing at
clinics or hospitals, people can also get at-home tests for Chlamydia, which
may be practical for those who want more privacy throughout the whole process.
is often considered as “silent” infection because many people have it
although they don’t
experience any symptoms. But, just like with other STDs, the absence of
symptoms can still mean you are infected, and you can transmit it to someone
else. Bear in mind that even if Chlamydia doesn’t cause any symptoms, it can
still damage the reproductive system. First signs and symptoms tend to occur
one to two weeks after the exposure to the bacterium. Men and women tend to
experience this STD differently. Below, you can see the signs and symptoms of
Chlamydia in men and women.
may notice the following:
in the testicles
sensation while urinating
in the lower abdomen
or yellow discharge from the penis
It’s also possible to get
the infection in anus. In this case, a man may notice pain, bleeding, and
discharge from this area.
the other hand, women may experience these symptoms:
(inflammation of the cervix)
in the lower abdomen
sensation while urinating
In some cases, the STD can spread to the fallopian tubes.
Read More: Chlamydia Symptoms
Reasons to be proactive about the prevention and treatment of Chlamydia (as well as other STDs) are numerous. Besides lowering the risk of transmitting Chlamydia to someone else, you can also decrease the likelihood of experiencing various complications. When left ignored or unmanaged, Chlamydia can harm your health in more ways than one. Some of the most common complications include increased risk of other STDs, pelvic inflammatory disease, infection near the testicles, infections in newborns, infection of prostate, reactive arthritis, and infertility.
Read More: Chlamydia Treatment
is Chlamydia treated?
like other STDs, Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. A patient may receive a
one-time dose, or he or she may need to take the drugs a few times a day for
five to 10 days, depending on the severity of symptoms. Generally speaking, the
infection goes away in one to two weeks. It goes without saying you need to
abstain from sex during this time.
is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacterium Treponema
and it develops in four stages: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. The
bacteria can spread from one person to another through direct contact with a
syphilitic sore. Just like other STDs, this one also spreads through sexual
contact i.e., vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
common is syphilis?
World Health Organization reports that 6.3 million cases of syphilis are
recorded each year around the globe. In 2016, the last year for which data is
available on a global level, 1 million pregnant women had active syphilis,
which led to 350,000 adverse birth outcomes. Of these, 200,000 accounted for
stillbirths and neonatal death. In Africa, the prevalence of syphilis is high,
especially in males
in rural areas. One study of pregnant women
showed that the cumulative prevalence of syphilis among 4181 blood donors over
a five-year period was 2.58% in Ghana.
Population-based studies show greater prevalence, and scientists point out that the lack of precise information can be correct with further research on this topic. More precise information allows scientists and healthcare professionals to create programs to raise awareness and prevent this STD from spreading.
Read More: Syphilis in Ghana
is at risk of developing syphilis?
may have a higher risk of developing syphilis if these factors apply to you:
engaging in unprotected and risky sex
who has sexual intercourse with other men
multiple sexual partners
of syphilis vary from stage to stage.
primary syphilis is usually indicated by chancre (small sore), which appears on
the site where bacteria entered the body. The chancre develops about three
weeks after exposure to bacteria. It may be hidden in rectum or vagina, so many
people don’t notice it. Chancre tends to go away on its own in one to three
weeks. Some people can have one chancre only, but others may have several, and
it tends to be painless.
syphilis occurs within a few weeks after the chancre has healed. A person may
starting on the trunk and spreading across the body
in mouth or genitals
above-mentioned symptoms may go away in a few weeks, but in some cases, they
come and go throughout the year.
Latent syphilis occurs when a person isn’t treated in the first two stages. This phase has no noticeable symptoms, but it may last for years before it progresses to the tertiary stage. The last stage of syphilis involves the spreading of the STD to other organs such as the brain, blood vessels, heart, bones, liver, and joints.
Read More: Syphilis Symptoms
proper treatment, syphilis can progress from one stage to another and cause a
number of complications such as the formation of small bumps or tumors on the
skin, bones, and other organs, cardiovascular problems, neurological problems,
higher risk of HIV, and complications in pregnancy and with childbirth.
is syphilis treated?
Syphilis is easy to treat when diagnosed in early stages when doctors usually prescribe penicillin. In most cases, one injection is necessary. In later stages, syphilis can be difficult to treat, which is why it’s crucial to see the doctor as soon as you notice sore on your genital area.
Read More: Syphilis Treatment
Sexually transmitted diseases are common but are preventable. Practice safe sex, get tested regularly, and learn how to recognize signs and symptoms. The more you know, the safer you are.
Read More: STD’s in Ghana