Chlamydia affects people of all ages but is most common in young women. Many who have chlamydia do not develop symptoms (asymptomatic), but they can still infect others through sexual contact. Chlamydia infections can also develop in the rectum or throat. If left untreated (including asymptomatic carriers) it can cause irreversible damage including permanent infertility.
- Pain in the eyes, lower abdomen, pelvis or vagina
- Burning or itching of the genitals
- Pain during sex or urination
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
Treatment: The most common antibiotic treatments are azithromycin or doxycycline. If you have an allergy to some antibiotics or are pregnant your doctor may choose a different antibiotic treatment.
Genital Herpes (herpes simplex 2 virus)
Caused by the herpes simplex virus, the disease can affect both men and women.
Pain, itching and small sores appear first. They form ulcers and scabs. After initial infection, genital herpes lies dormant in the body. Symptoms can recur for years. Medication can be used to manage outbreaks
- Pain in the vagina
- Pain during urination
- Genital sores on the genital area, buttocks, thighs or anus
- Pins and needles in the genital area
- Skin rash
- Tingling or shooting pain in the legs, hips or buttocks leading up to an outbreak
Treatment: Unfortunately, the herpes simplex virus (1&2) lie dormant in your body and there is no known cure. Acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir are antiviral medications prescribed to help manage an outbreak. If the outbreak is severe, antivirals can be administered through IV.
Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotics. If left untreated (including asymptomatic carriers) it can cause irreversible damage including permanent infertility.
- Painful urination
- Abnormal discharge from the vagina
- Increases vaginal discharge
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Irregular menstruation
- Sore throat
Treatment: The most common antibiotic treatments are azithromycin, doxycycline or Ceftriaxone. If you have an allergy to some antibiotics or are pregnant, your doctor may choose to use a different antibiotic.
Hepatitis B is a virus that is found in blood and other body fluids including vaginal fluid, semen and breast milk. It is highly infectious and causes inflammation of the liver.
- Pain in the abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Fluid in the abdomen
- Web of swollen blood vessels in the skin
- Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin)
- Dark urine
Treatment: Hepatitis B has no known cure, but there are vaccinations to prevent it as well as antivirals to help manage and slow down the virus’s ability to damage the liver. Entecavir, tenofovir, lamivudine, adefovir and telbivudine are all common antivirals used to tackle the progression of hepatitis B.
HIV causes AIDS and interferes with the body's immune response system which controls your ability to fight off infection. HIV can be passed from mother to baby through pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.
- Flu-like symptoms in the first few months after infection (swollen lymph nodes, fever, headaches)
- Dry cough
- Night sweats
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Mouth ulcers or white tongue
- Pain in the abdomen
- Rapid weight loss
- Recurring fever
- Profuse night sweats
- Extreme fatigue
- Prolonged swelling of lymph glands (armpits, groin and neck)
- Diarrhea that lasts more than a week
- Sores of the mouth, genitals or anus
- Red, blown, pink or purplish blotches on/under the skin or inside the mouth, nose or eyelids
- Memory loss
- Neurological disorders
Treatment: No cure exists for AIDS, but strict adherence to antiretroviral regimens can dramatically slow the disease's progress as well as prevent secondary infections and complications. With a large variety of antiretroviral medications available it is important that you and your healthcare provider find the correct combination for you. Below is a link to the known FDA approved medications to get a feel for what is available.
Pubic lice (also known as crabs) are tiny insects that live in coarse body hair including pubic hair, arm pit hair, beards, chest hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows. They do not live on your head.
- Itching around your genitals or anus
- Tiny blue spots around your genitals
- Spots of blood or fine, gritty debris in your underwear
- Visible lice or eggs in your pubic hair
Treatment: Washing or shaving pubic hair will not rid you of an infestation. Insecticidal lotion or cream needs to be applied to the area and repeated a week later for any new lice that have hatched. If after the second treatment, you find there is still an infestation, please consult a doctor as repeated exposure to insecticidal treatment can cause damage to the skin. Talk to your pharmacist about over the counter products to reduce pain and itching.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that develops in stages and symptoms vary with each stage. If left untreated it can cause irreversible damage to the brain, nerves, eyes of heart.
- Painless ulcers or sores on the genitals
- Vaginal discharge
- Wart-like growths on genitals
- Rashes on the body or genitals
- Mouth ulcer
- Rectal lining inflammation
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Weight loss
Treatment: In primary or secondary stage of syphilis the treatment is a single intramuscular injection of benzathine penicillin G. In the latent stage of syphilis, you will be given 3 long lasting injects of benzathine penicillin G. This will kill the bacteria but will not reverse the damage done by the bacteria.
A sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite. Trichomoniasis is among the most common sexually transmitted infections. Risk factors include multiple sexual partners and not using condoms during sex. Trichomoniasis can cause preterm labour in pregnant women.
- Pain in the abdomen during sex or urination
- Cervix inflammation
- Vaginal discharge
- Vaginal inflammation
- Vaginal irritation
- Vaginal itching
- Foul-smelling vaginal odour
- Valval inflammation
Treatment: The most common antibiotic used to treat trichomoniasis is metronidazole or tinidazole.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
An infection that causes warts in various parts of the body, depending on the strain. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Many people with HPV do not develop any symptoms but can still infect others through sexual contact.
- Genital warts and/or verruca’s
Treatment: There's no cure for the virus and warts may go away on their own. Treatment focuses on removing the warts. A vaccine that prevents the HPV strains most likely to cause genital warts and cervical cancer is recommended. The loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) uses a thin, low-voltage electrified wire loop to remove genital warts by heating the margin of the area to be removed, which separates the wart from the skin. Imiquimod, podofilox, Sine catechins and Trichloroacetic Acid are all common medications used to treat warts.
Chancroid is a bacterial infection that causes open sores on or around the genitals. This STD is most seen in Asia and Africa.
- Ulcers on the genitals or anus area
- Painful lymph glands in the groin
Treatment: Azithromycin, ceftriaxone, ciprofloxacin and erythromycin base are commonly used antibiotics to treat chancroid. If left untreated, the ulcers will grow. They can destroy skin and genital tissues also leaving the area open to secondary infections of the wounds. Infected glands can also rupture.