STDs ( Sexually Transmitted Diseases )

Bacterial Vaginosis
Candidiasis
Chancroid
Chlamydia
Genital Warts
Gonorrhea
Hepatitis
Herpes
HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)
PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease)
Syphilis
Trichomonas

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Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age. The cause of BV is not fully understood. BV is associated with an imbalance in the bacteria that are normally found in a woman's vagina. The vagina normally contains mostly "good" bacteria, and fewer "harmful" bacteria. BV develops when there is a change in the environment of the vagina that causes an increase in harmful bacteria.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Some women do not know that they have Bacterial Vaginosis.
Others may complain of an excessive and /or foul smelling vaginal discharge. These are
the two most common symptoms. Other signs and symptoms include redness, swelling
and itching on the outside of the vagina.

Testing

The only way to know for sure if you have BV is to go to a health provider to get tested.
Medical tests for BV are available. A sample of discharge from the vagina can be collected and examined under a microscope by a health provider to detect BV.

Treatment

The primary goal in treating Bacterial Vaginosis is to relieve vaginal symptoms and signs of infection. Your health provider will prescribe an antibiotic and/or a vaginal cream.
Make sure that you take all the pills that you are given or use all the cream you are given. BV may come back if you don't.

For testing and treatment for Bacterial Vaginosis in the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

How Can I Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis?

Sometimes you may get BV no matter what you do. But the following tips may help you avoid it:

  • Keep your vaginal area clean and dry. Wash daily with warm
    water, rinse well and pat dry.
  • Don't use douches, strong soaps, deodorants or sprays.
  • Wear cotton underwear.
  • Don't wear tight fitting clothing.
  • Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement.
REMINDER: Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's including Bacterial Vaginosis.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Candidiasis (Yeast infection)

Yeast infections are caused by one of many types of fungus called Candida.
Candida and other organisms may be found in small numbers in the normal vagina as
well as in the mouth and digestive tract. An estimated 75% of women will have at least
one yeast infection in their lifetime. Canidiasis is the second most common vaginal infection.

What are the signs and symptoms?
  • Some women have a white, cottage cheese like vaginal discharge. This discharge has no odor and can cause itching, redness and swelling of the external genitalia.
  • Male sex partners may develop a rash on the penis (called balanitis).
  • Candidiasis is sometimes difficult to recognize as these symptoms may be present in other vaginal infections. How do you get tested for Candidiasis?
  • Your health care provider will perform a pelvic exam to collect vaginal samples for inspection and examination under the microscope.
  • Men can get tested and treated by their health care provider.
What is the treatment for Candidiasis?
  • For clinical symptoms and microscopic evidence of yeast, your health provider will prescribe an antibiotic and/or a vaginal cream.
  • Over the counter medications are now available, but it very important to see a health provider to be sure you have a yeast infection and not some other problem.
  • For testing and treatment for yeast infection in the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.
REMINDER: Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Chancroid

Chancroid is a sexually transmitted disease that is characterized by genital ulcers. It is caused by a gram negative bacillus H. ducreyi. Chancroid is well established as assisting in the transmission of HIV infection.

What are the signs and symptoms?
  • Usually, a single painful ulcer, surrounded by reddened edges appears on or around the penis in men.
  • In 25-60% of the cases of Chancroid there may be painful, swollen lymph nodes.
  • Women are frequently without symptoms. How do I get tested for Chancroid?
  • A painful ulcer with enlarged painful swollen thigh glands usually means Chancroid.
  • Your health care provider will examine the ulcer and take some tests from the ulcer and your blood.
How do I get treated for Chancroid?

Your health care provider will prescribe antibiotics for treatment of Chancroid. Successful treatment cures the infection, clears up the symptoms and prevents the spread to others.
For testing and treatment for Chancroid, in the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

REMINDER: Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's including Chancroid.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Chlamydia

Chlamydia is the most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States. Chlamydia is spread from person to person by close physical contact during vaginal, anal and/or oral sex. An estimated 3 million people will be diagnosed with chlamydia each year. If not treated in women, chlamydial genital infections can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and tubal (ectopic) pregnancy.
If not treated in men, chlamydial infections can cause swollen testicles and infertility.

What are the signs and symptoms of Chlamydia?

  • Most people infected with chlamydia don't know that they have it. Up to 80% of women and 50% of men have no symptoms
  • When symptoms do occur in women they may include: abdominal pain, pain during intercourse, burning or pain with urination, unusual vaginal discharge, low-grade fever and bleeding between periods or after sex.
  • When symptoms do occur in men they may include: watery, white drip from the penis and pain or burning with urination.
  • If not detected and treated, chlamydia infections can cause severe health problems for women including: Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain.
  • Chlamydia infections in pregnant women may also result in problems for newborns including eye infections and pneumonia.
  • Recent research has shown that women infected with chlamydia have a 3 to 5 fold
    increased risk of acquiring HIV, if exposed.
  • Both men and women may be infected with Chlamydia and not know it.
How do I get tested for Chlamydia?

The only way to know for sure if you have chlamydia is to go to a doctor or a clinic to get
tested. Medical tests for chlamydia are available. A sample of discharge from the vagina or penis or a urine sample can be collected by a medical professional to test for chlamydia.
Make sure that you get checked for chlamydia and other STDs every time you have a
health exam.

How do I get treated for Chlaymydia?
  • Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics.
  • Make sure that you take all the pills that you are given. Chlamydia may come back if you don't.
  • Do not have sex until all of your pills are gone.
  • Tell your sex partner(s) that they must be treated too.
  • For testing and treatment for chlamydia in the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.
REMINDER: Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's including Chlamydia. All sexual partners should be treated to prevent the spread of Chlamydia.
Make sure that you get checked for chlamydia and other STDs every time you have a
health exam.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Genital Warts

Genital warts are sexually transmitted skin lesions caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Certain types of HPV cause cancer.

What are the symptoms of Genital Warts?

Single or multiple soft, fleshy, painless growths appear on the vaginal area, penis, anus, urethra, or perineum. Women may have growths on the inside of the vagina or on cervix.

How do I get tested for Genital Warts?

Diagnosis is made by the clinician who visually inspects the lesions. For some women the Pap smear may indicate the presence of HPV, and a special microscopic test (colposcopy) is used to diagnose flat warts that are difficult to see.

What is the treatment for Genital Warts?

Several treatments are available for Genital Warts. All of the treatments involve applying medication to the warts. Depending on the location and the number of warts, your health provider will determine if the treatment will be provided by the patient or the provider. Despite treatment, Genital Warts can come back. For testing and treatment of Genital Warts in the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

REMINDER: Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's including Genital Warts.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Gonorrhea is spread from person to person by close physical contact during vaginal, anal and/or oral sex. Other names for gonorrhea are GC, clap, the drip, or a dose.

What are the signs and symptoms of Gonorrhea?

Many people infected with gonorrhea don't know that they have it. Up to 50% of men and most women have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur in women they may include: abdominal pain, pain during intercourse, burning or pain with urination, unusual vaginal discharge that is yellow or bloody, low-grade fever and bleeding between periods or after sex. An undetected gonorrhea infection can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility in women. A woman with gonorrhea can give it to her baby during childbirth. It can also cause premature delivery or miscarriage in pregnant women. Signs and symptoms of a gonorrhea infection in men may include: pain or burning with urination, yellowish white discharge from the penis and swollen or tender testicles.

How do I get tested for Gonorrhea?

The only way to know for sure if you have gonorrhea is to go to a health care provider to get tested. Medical tests for gonorrhea are available. A sample of discharge from the vagina or penis or a urine sample can be collected by a medical professional to test for gonorrhea.

What is the treatment for Gonorrhea?

  • Gonorrhea can be easily treated and cured
  • Your health care provider will give you antibiotic pills to take.
  • Make sure that you take all the pills that you are given. Gonorrhea may come back if you don't.
  • Do not have sex until all of your pills are gone.
  • Tell your sex partner(s) that they must be treated too.
  • For testing and treatment of Gonorrhea in the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.
REMINDER: Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's including Gonorrhea. Make sure that you get checked for gonorrhea and other STDs every time you have a health exam.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a serious virus that affects your liver. The most common forms of the virus are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Hepatitis B is the most common form of Hepatitis, and it is often spread through sexual contact. Hepatitis C is spread through IV drug use but also may be spread sexually.
  • It is easy to become infected with Hepatitis B.
  • It's 100 times easier to get Hepatitis B than HIV the virus that causes AIDS.
  • There are more people infected with Hepatitis C than HIV.
  • Approximately, four million Americans are infected with Hepatitis C; in comparison to the one million Americans who are infected with HIV.
  • Hepatitis B can be prevented with a vaccine.
Wat are the Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis?
  • Symptoms of Hepatitis include yellowing of the eyes and skin, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, fever, fatigue, and darkening of the urine.
  • Sometimes there are no visible symptoms of Hepatitis.
  • People can have the virus and not realize they are sick for a long time.
How do I get tested for Hepatitis?
  • There are tests that your health care provider can do to find the virus.
  • The body produces antibodies that can be detected with a blood test.
What is the treatment for Hepatitis?
  • No specific therapy exists for Hepatitis B. Your health care provider will provide supportive care and treat the symptoms.
  • Hepatitis B is the only sexually transmitted disease that can be prevented with a vaccine.
  • Hepatitis C is treated through a series of injections to decrease the damage to the liver.
To get vaccinated for Hepatitis B in the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local
family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.

REMINDER: Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's, including hepatitis.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Herpes
  • Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a virus.
  • This infection can be treated but not cured.
  • Herpes is transmitted when an infected area comes in contact with a mucous
    membrane, primarily the moist skin of the mouth, genitals, and anus.
  • Genital herpes infections are usually caused by the Herpes Simplex type II virus.
  • Oral herpes infections are usually caused by the Herpes Simplex type I virus.
  • Herpes can be transmitted when no symptoms are present.
  • About 45 million people 12 years and older in the United States are infected with the herpes virus.
What are the signs and symptoms of Herpes?

Symptoms are very different from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms are pain or burning while urinating and bumps or blisters around the genital area, then they scab over. Most people who have Herpes don't know it because they never have symptoms they notice. If symptoms do appear, they may show up anywhere from three to ten days after getting the virus. Herpes also can look like an irritated red area or bumps that many people mistake for something else; men mistake herpes for jock itch and women mistake it for yeast infection.

How do I get tested for Herpes?
  • It is recommended that an individual have a skin culture taken within the first 48 hours after signs appear.
  • After 48 hours risks increase for false negative test result (results that come back
    negative although it is positive)
  • Blood tests are often used when no symptoms are present.
What is the treatment for Herpes?
  • There are three treatments available for genital herpes: Zovirax (acyclovir), Famvir (famciclovir), and Valtrex (valaciclovir). Each of these medications is in pill form.
    Zovirax is also available in an ointment but is not as effective as the pill.
  • Each of these medications can reduce the severity of outbreaks and how long they last. The medications also can be taken daily to keep the outbreaks from happening so frequently.
  • Denavir, also an ointment, is the only prescription medication specifically developed for oral herpes.
  • For testing and treatment for herpes in the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.
REMINDER: Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's, including Herpes.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

HPV is the name of a group of viruses that includes more than 70 different types.
HPV is the most common viral STD in the Unites States. It is estimated that up to half of all sexually active young women are infected with the virus that causes HPV. Certain
types of HPV cause visible warts on the genitals. Some types of HPV infection cause no visible warts and many people with HPV don't know they have it. HPV is usually spread by direct skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, anal and/or oral sex with someone who has this infection. HPV is the number one cause of abnormal Pap smear results in women and may lead to pre-cancerous changes on the cervix. HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer. Both men and women can contract and spread HPV.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of HPV?
  • Most women and men with HPV have no symptoms and don't know they have it.
  • Warts may appear within several weeks after sexual relations with an infected person; or they may take months to appear; or they may never appear. This makes it hard to know exactly when or from whom you got the virus.
  • If you are infected with visible genital warts they may appear to be unusual growths, bumps, or skin changes on or near the penis, inside the vagina, on the cervix, vulva, perineum, urethra or anus. You may even notice unusual itching, pain or bleeding in the genital area.
How do I get tested for HPV?
  • Regular genital self-examinations may be helpful in detecting visible genital warts for both women and men. If you detect unusual changes in your genital area the only way to know for sure if you have HPV is to go to a health care provider and get a physical exam.
  • To check for visible warts a health care provider will examine your genital area more closely and may use a magnifying lens to find small warts. This causes abnormal tissue to turn white and makes it easier to see, especially if it is viewed through a magnifying lens such as a colposcope.
  • To check for subclinical HPV (HPV that has no symptoms) a Pap smear is taken during a pelvic exam. For women, an abnormal Pap smear may be the first sign that HPV is present. Women with abnormal Pap smears should be examined further for cervical problems or followed closely by a doctor.
  • There are several new tests that can detect the genetic material of HPV. These can be used to find cervical HPV infection in a small number of cases.
  • Men with genital warts or who have a partner with HPV should talk to their health care provider.
What is the Treatment for HPV?
  • HPV is a persistent condition even when there are no symptoms. No therapy has been shown to get rid of the virus. In 80% of cases HPV recurs.
  • Since it is difficult to cure HPV the goal of treatment is the temporary removal of visible genital warts and the lessening of symptoms and signs, not to cure HPV.
  • Even if there are no visible warts from HPV, it is important that health care providers watch carefully for precancerous changes (by taking a Pap smear) on the cervix that may be found along with HPV infection.
  • The currently available treatments for visible genital warts consists of two types: (1) patient-applied therapies and (2) provider-administered therapies.
  • Whatever treatment you choose remember to always ask your health care provider for a complete explanation of the treatment including its costs, benefits and required follow- up care.
  • In June 2006, the HPV vaccine was approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for women between the ages of 9-26. The vaccine was created to prevent 4 of the most common types of HPV viruses from infecting a woman’s body. 2 of these viruses cause 70 percent of cervical cancer. This vaccine also prevents 2 types of HPV viruses that cause 90 percent of genital warts. It will not help treat or cure men or women who are already infected with HPV, and it will not prevent the spread of other types of HPV. The best time for women to get the vaccine is during puberty and before any sexual contact. For more information on the HPV vaccine, click here.

REMINDER: Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STDs. Make sure that you get checked for STDs every time you have a health exam. Women should get a Pap smear at least once a year.

For more information about HPV visit:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Planned Parenthood
Pearl of Wisdom
Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

PID is an infection of a woman's pelvic and sexual organs - uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Germs from STD infections can spread from a woman's vagina into her cervix and up into her uterus and other organs and cause PID. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the two main STDs that can cause PID. Women get STD's and PID from sexual intercourse.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of PID?

  • Many women with PID have no symptoms.
  • Women who do have symptoms may notice:

-Yellow or white vaginal discharge.
-Bleeding between periods or after sex.
-Heavier and more painful periods.
-Cramps or pain in lower abdomen (belly) sometimes with fever, chills or
nausea. Pain deep inside during or after sex.
-Pain during a pelvic examination.

  • Untreated, PID can cause painful and permanent damage to the pelvic and sex organs, including infertility.
  • If a woman who has had PID gets pregnant, the baby may begin to grow in her fallopian tube instead of her uterus. This is called a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy and may be life threatening.
How do I get tested for PID?

The only way to know for sure if you have PID is to go to a doctor or a clinic to get tested. It is very important to treat any STD right away. A pelvic examination and lab test is used to check for PID.

What is the Treatment for PID?
  • PID can be cured with antibiotic pills.
  • If your PID is very bad, you may need to be in the hospital for a few days.
  • Make sure that you take all the pills that you are given.
  • Do not have sex until all of your pills are gone.
  • Tell your sex partner(s) that they must be treated too so that you will not get infected again.
  • Go back to your health care provider to be sure you have been cured.
REMINDER: Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STDs. Make sure that you get checked for STDs every time you have a health exam.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Syphilis

Syphilis is a complex sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium. Treponema Pallidum. The bacterium is passed from person to person through direct contact with syphilis sore(s). Syphilis causes sores mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Untreated syphilis in a pregnant woman can infect and possibly cause death to the unborn child.

What are the signs and symptoms of Syphilis?
  • The primary stage of syphilis is marked by the appearance of a single sore (called a chancre).
  • The chancre is usually a firm, round, small, and painless lesion.
  • It appears at the spot where the bacterium entered the body.
  • The chancre lasts 1 to 5 weeks and will heal on its own.
  • If inadequate or no treatment is administered, the infection progresses to the secondary stage.
  • As the chancre disappears, a rash develops.
  • The rash often appears as rough "copper penny" spots on both hand and feet.
  • The rash may also appear as prickly heat rash, as small blotches or scales all over the body, as moist warts in the groin area or as pus-filled bumps like chicken pox.
  • Other symptoms can include fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscles aches and fatigue.
  • Late stage symptoms include poor muscle movements, paralysis, gradual blindness, dementia (mental illness).
How do you get tested Syphilis?

A health care provider can detect the syphilis bacterium from infectious sores under a microscope. The body produces antibodies that can be detected with a blood test.

What is the treatment for Syphilis?
  • One dose of penicillin will cure a person who has had syphilis for less than one year. More doses are needed to cure someone who has had it for longer than a year.
  • A baby born with the disease needs daily penicillin treatment for 10 days.
  • There are no home remedies or over-the counter- drugs that cure syphilis.
  • Penicillin will kill the syphilis bacterium and prevent further damage but it will not repair any damage already done.
  • For testing and treatment for syphilis in the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.
REMINDER: Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's, including syphilis.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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Trichomonas Infection

Trichomonas vaginalis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a microscopic parasite.
Trichomonas is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, mainly affecting women 16-to-35 years of age. Infection is more common in women who have multiple sexual partners.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?
  • Signs and symptoms differ in men and women.
  • Persons infected with Trichomonas vaginalis may be without symptoms to specific symptoms.
  • Some women may have a foul smelling frothy green vaginal discharge, vaginal redness or itching.
  • Other symptoms include painful sexual intercourse, lower abdominal discomfort, and the urge to urinate.
  • Many men do not have symptoms.
  • When symptoms are present in men, they most commonly have discharge from the urethra, the urge to urinate and a burning sensation with urination.
How do I get tested?
  • Diagnosis is most commonly made by viewing the parasite under a microscope.
  • A vaginal sample is collected from women during a pelvic examination.
  • A urethral sample is collected from men.
What is the treatment?
  • Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic for you and all sexual partners you have had since becoming infected.
  • If all current sexual partners are not treated, it is possible to become reinfected.
  • For testing and treatment for trichomonas in the Philadelphia area, click here for a list of local family planning clinics. Outside of Philadelphia, please click here for a clinic near you.
REMINDER: Using a condom consistently can help to protect you from STD's, including trichomonas.

Click here to download PDF fact sheet

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