Everything You Need to Know About STDs (to Stay Safe)

By: Maram Faragallah

Disclaimer: before anyone tears into us, this is important, it is not meant to encourage you to have sex or anything even remotely sexual (if you want to, that is your choice), rather this is meant to educate you in case you do, for the sake of your safety first and foremost.

STDs are sexually transmitted diseases – in case you did not know what that stood for. There are a dozen type of sexually transmitted diseases that people get through – obviously – sex, anything from making out to penetrative sex, including everything in between. Especially, oral sex.

Oral sex involves using the mouth, lips, or tongue to stimulate the penis (fellatio), vagina (cunnilingus), or anus (anilingus) of a sex partner. The penis and testicles and the vagina and area around the vagina are also called the genitals or genital area.

  • When performing oral sex on someone who has infected genitals, the person may get throat or mouth STDs.
  • A person can have STDs in more than one place. E.g. throat and penis.
  • STDs transmitted through sexual intercourse can spread through the body.
  • If you’re infected with STDs, it may not be obvious because some show NO SYMPTOMS.

STDs can also be transmitted through normal sex. There are multiple way you can protect yourself from STDs:

1.Don’t Have Sex

I know writing this is funny because it’s obvious. But well a way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases is to not have sex.

2. Get tested beforehand

Before having sex, get tested along with our partner and make sure you’re both STDs free. Then use a condom during the intercorse.

3. Mutual monogamy

If both you and your partner agreed that you’re sexually exclusive or that both of you wouldn’t have any other partners then you’re not likely to get any diseases.

4. Talk to your partner

Talk to your partner about your concerns and what you like and don’t like sexually.

Nowadays, STDs patients are increasing especially in Egypt. The lack of awareness and knowledge on STDs makes a lot of people careless during sex which results in more cases. The lack of sexual education to prevent people from knowing ways to have protected sex and prevent problems that arise during having sex.

List of STDs and their Symptoms:

ONE: Chlamydia

Most common STD and easily curable through a course of antibiotics. The problem is, it doesn’t show any symptoms but it can be discovered through testing.

TWO: Gonorrhea

Can only be caught during sex because the bacteria needs to be inside a body to survive. Women don’t usually have symptoms although it can affect the reproductive system on the long run, but men can get painful urination and discharge from the penis. If untreated, the bacteria can spread to the rest of the body, often infecting the skin or muscle joints.

THREE: Genital Herpes

About 80% of people who have genital herpes don’t know they do have it. They can live a lifetime with it and never find out.

But it can be passed to another partner who can suffer soreness of the infected area and/or painful blisters around the genitals. Most people are able to recognise recurrent episodes due to the itching and tingling sensation in the genitals that they feel a few hours before the blisters appear. This is the best time to start an antiviral treatment, right before the virus starts producing genital herpes blisters.

FOUR: Genital Warts

Genital warts are located in or around the anus and genital area. They’re caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) which often doesn’t cause any symptoms at all, and sometimes shows only years after infection.

Genital warts appear as little bumps that sometime form clusters with a cauliflower shape. Since they come in different sizes treatment ranges from antiviral creams to surgery.

While they are not dangerous, they are easily transmitted and require immediate treatment. As far as symptoms go, genital warts are sometimes itchy and in rare cases they can be painful. Women can suffer from irregular vaginal bleeding or discharge.

FIVE: Syphilis

Syphilis is fairly easy to treat with antibiotics, if left untreated the infection can cause severe symptoms (e.g. contagious ulcers on the genitals, anus and mouth; then infection of the brain, eyes or ears) and is potentially life-threatening.

In the early stages, like many types of STDs, the symptoms of syphilis are hard to recognise and it can take several months before they appear. However, as soon as the bacteria enter your body, the illness progresses – in three stages – with the symptoms getting worse at each stage.

SIX: Hepatitis B

As for hepatitis B, it is a virus that attacks the liver and is passed through sexual contact and blood (e.g. via needles). The symptoms of hepatitis B start with a short acute infection to which everyone responds differently: a few will develop chronic hepatitis B and others will develop liver severe dysfunction.

SEVEN: HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus

It is caused by a virus that attacks your immune system. Basically you don’t die from HIV, but from any benign infection that your body can’t cope with. This is the final stage where HIV results in your body to suffer from AIDS – the Acquired Immunodeficiency Symptom (i.e. your immune system is down).

There is no cure or vaccine for HIV at the moment, but early treatment considerably slows down the spread of the virus in infected patients.

Testing in Egypt may be be difficult because people will give you dirty looks but I just urge you ignore them, your safety comes first, always.

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