Sexually transmitted disease testing
Gonorrhea is a curable infection caused by the bacteria Nisseria Gonorrhea. It is transmitted during vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Most women with gonorrhea have no symptoms. Even when women do have symptoms, they can be mistaken for a bladder infection or other vaginal infection. Because symptoms may not be present, the only way for a person who has been at risk for gonorrhea to tell whether they’re infected is to be tested. If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause complications such as PID and infertility.
Chlamydia is the most common STD in the U.S. Among all age groups, teens and young adults have the highest rates of infection. Chlamydia is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia Trachomatis. Most women with chlamydia do not experience symptoms. Since symptoms may not be present, the only way to know if a person who may be at risk is infected with chlamydia is to be tested. Annual testing for the infection is recommended for all sexually active women age 25 and under. Yearly testing is also recommended for women over age 25 who have risk factors for chlamydia (e.g., those with new partners and those with multiple sex partners). Chlamydia can be cured with a simple antibiotic, however, if left untreated, chlamydia can lead to complications such as PID and, potentially, infertility. A person is able to transmit chlamydia to a partner from the time they become infected until treatment is completed. It is recommended that both partners get treated to prevent reinfection after treatment. Pregnant women need to be treated prior to delivery.
Vaginitis is a name for swelling, itching, burning or infection in the vagina that can be caused by several different bacteria. The most common kinds of vaginitis are bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast, a fungus. Vaginitis is very common. Most women will have some kind of vaginitis at least once in their lives. Vaginitis is not always caused by a sexually transmitted infection. Women who are not sexually active may develop BV or yeast infections. Most of the time these infections are caused by an imbalance of the bacteria that is normal in the vagina. Discharge may have a funny color, a bad odor, or be very heavy.Vaginitis is rarely dangerous but can be very upsetting. In most women, it is easy to treat. But if you are pregnant, an infection may cause special problems for you and your baby and needs to be evaluated right away.
Trichomoniasis is a common, curable sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasitic protozoa called Trichomonas vaginalis which can be seen on microscopy. Trichomoniasis may cause symptoms in women such as abnormal discharge, vaginal odor, or vaginal discomfort. Most men do not have symptoms.
Herpes is a common and usually mild recurrent skin condition caused by a virus: the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). The majority of oral herpes cases are caused by HSV-1 and the majority of genital herpes cases are caused by HSV-2; however, type-1 or type-2 can occur in either the genital or oral area. More than 50 percent of American adults have oral herpes, which are commonly called cold sores. About one in six people have a genital herpes infection. Oral and genital herpes can be uncomfortable, but they are generally not dangerous infections in healthy adults. There are several days throughout the year when herpes can be spread even when there are no symptoms. The surest way to prevent the spread of genital herpes is to avoid sexual contact during an outbreak and to use condoms for sexual contact between outbreaks. There is no cure for herpes but the outbreaks can be treated to decrease frequency and severity. Pregnant women should try to ensure they do not have outbreaks prior to delivery.
Syphilis is a fairly rare but curable, bacterial infection, caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum. The bacteria enters the body through mucous membranes via sexual activity. Once inside the body, syphilis enters the blood stream and attaches to cells, damaging organs over time.There are four stages through which untreated syphilis progresses, each stage with its own unique signs and symptoms: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. While curable with antibiotics, complications that may develop in later stages cannot be reversed with treatment, so early diagnosis is important. This infection can be devastating in pregnancy and is routinely tested for.
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). The Hepatitis B Virus can infect a person when the mucous membranes or blood are exposed to an infected person’s blood, saliva, semen, or vaginal secretions. While many people have been vaccinated against it, there is no cure and the Hepatitis B infection must be closely monitored.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). It is the most common chronic blood borne infection in the United States. HCV is transmitted through sexual activity, drug use, and any exposure to an infected persons blood. Some people infected with Hepatitis C are able to clear the virus from their blood within about 6 months from the time of infection. However, about 75% of people with Hepatitis C infection do not get rid of the virus and therefore have chronic (long-term) Hepatitis C. There are new treatment modalities that are not yet in routine use. Chronic infection can lead to serious liver problems, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is the virus that causes AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. HIV can be transmitted through the blood, sexual fluids, or breast milk of an HIV-infected person. Over time, infection with HIV can weaken the immune system to the point that the immune system has difficulty fighting off certain infections. A blood test can determine if a person is infected with HIV. There is no cure for HIV, but with aggressive treatment, the disease can be controlled. Due to the risk of neonatal infection at the time of delivery, HIV is routinely tested for in pregnancy.