Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s), such as Gonorrhea, Herpes, and Chlamydia go back to antiquity. However, there is still a handful of STD’s that many people don’t know (or have heard of). Some of them are incredibly common infections while others are caused by pathogens that people probably know but never associate with sexual transmission. They also include infections that may be rare in your locality but much common in some parts of the globe.
This is when you have ulcers or sores on your genitals. The sores often start as small bumps, which then grow into 2 inches ulcers within 2 days. Common symptoms include bleeding during intercourse or painful sex. You may also experience pain when urinating. Additionally, you may notice swollen lymph in the groin area and below your belly button.
2. Molluscum Contagiosum
This is a viral STD that is not necessarily spread through sexual intercourse but through the skin to skin contact as well. In fact, it is so common that even children can get it. However, when it appears in your genitals, it is usually considered an STD. Common symptoms include fluid bumps on the genitals, which can be as large as a pencil eraser or as tiny as a pinhead. While the bumps don’t hurt, they can be itchy.
3. Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV)
Also known as climatic bubo, LGV is essentially a subtype of genital ulcer that includes other types of STDs, such as syphilis, Chancroid, and HSV-2. Like syphilis, it has three stages. Stage one include ulcers and bumps, which appear 3 days to 1 month after infection. Stage two (2-6 weeks) include chills, fever, swollen gland, muscle and joint pain. If it is not treated, it gets to stage three, where it is characterized by hemorrhoids growths, rectal ulcers, and swelling of the reproductive organs. It is more prevalent in men than in women. Luckily, it is treatable with antibiotics.
Cytomegalovirus or CMV is a very common STD—it is estimated that about 80% of the U.S population are carriers, and 4 in 10 people are infected non-sexually before their puberty stages. However, adults can be re-infected sexually. In adults, nonetheless, CMV infections don’t have any distinct symptoms, and if they do, they are mostly very mild. Although it doesn’t have serious symptoms, it often poses serious threats to people with compromised immune systems or pregnant women. CMV virus is present in blood, urine, vaginal and cervical secretions, semen, saliva, and breast milk.
Also referred to as granuloma inguinale, it is the major cause of chronic genital ulcers. Since the discovery of antibiotics, it’s been pretty rare. However, over the recent past, there has been a resurgence of fresh cases, especially in South Africa and Australia. While the infections are common in the genital areas, they can also affect areas around the nose, mouth, and chest. Currently, there are four cases of donovanosis:
• Necrotic: foul-smelling and deep ulcers that can result in severe tissue damage
• Ulcerogranulomatous: swollen red ulcers that bleed when touched
• Cicatricial or sclerotic: dry lesions with scar tissues
• Hypertrophic: dry ulcers with irregular, raised edges.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, this is the most common curable form of STD’s followed by Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. It is caused by a single-celled parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis, which also considered pretty cute as far as microbes world go. What may not be so cute about this parasite is its tendency to attach to the body cells and degrade their surfaces, producing unpleasant symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of this type of STD include pain during urination, swelling in your vaginal area, and increased the urge to urinate. The infection is usually spread by activities that involve transfer or passing of secretion from one partner to another such as direct vulva-to-vulva contact, anal and vaginal intercourse.
Regardless of whether you’ve heard of an STD or not, the best way to stay safe is to use barrier methods such as dental dams and condoms. You and your new partner can also go for STD screening before initiating in sexual activities. Remember, there are many health centers that can diagnose and treat a various form of STD’s as well as help you identify the less common ones like the ones highlighted above.