Continuation of the STD series I started awhile back. I am going to finish this one eventually, I promise.
A Disclaimer: I do not now have, nor have I ever had an STD. I get tested regularly. I use condoms every single time. I do not sleep with homeless people (or, really, anyone right now since I’m waiting for stupid Botboys). When the men I sleep with when I’m sleeping with them do not have condoms, I provide my own. And in this case, I’m careful about hanging around places that simply look like they may be a breeding ground for “creepy crawlies”. I itch just thinking about it.
AKA: The Syph, Cupid’s Disease, The Pox, The French Disease, Bugs in the Brain
How It’s Spread: Syphilis is most easily spread during those stages, via contact with one of the sores. Most of these sores and symptoms go unnoticed, and while sex is the primary vehicle for passing this one on, it can also be passed on via kissing or prolonged bodily contact.
Currently syphilis is found most frequently in men who have sex with men, however women and newborns are also at risk for infection.
If you’re having anal, vaginal, or even oral sex, you’re at risk for this one.
Primary: A single sore on the body (but there can be multiple). Usually firm, round, and painless which is why many don’t notice it. This lasts 3-6 weeks. This will heal whether you go in for testing/treatment.
Secondary: Skin rashes in your mouth, vagina, or ass (the technical term for this is mucus membrane lesions, but I don’t know that knowing what they’re “technically” called makes any difference because you’re still infected. The rash may show up while you have the first sore, or it could be several weeks after it heals. The rash can look rough, red, or appear as reddish-brown spots on your hands and feet. It’s not going to itch, and sometimes it can be very faint, so you sometimes you won’t notice. To go with this happy event, you may also experience fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, patchy hair loss, weight loss, muscle aches, and fatigue. Once again, even if you don’t get this treated, these symptoms will go away. If you aren’t treated, then you get to see what’s behind Door Number 3!!
Latent: All of the other fun stuff from the other two doors disappear. If you don’t get treated, Syphilis can live in the body for years without knowing. Most people who have this late stage syphilis don’t even develop symptoms. But if you ARE going to develop symptoms… well… they suck. First, it’ll happen about 10-30 years after your initial infection (how’s THAT for longevity? Apparently this disease has no fear of commitment.). These can include difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, blindness, and dementia. This disease can also damage your internal organs and can result in death.
Syphilis is considered an “early case” if you’ve been infected for a year or less. In other words, if you are still in the primary or secondary stages, you’ve got an “early case”.
How They Test For It
Blood tests are the most common.
If you think you already have a sore, though, they can take fluid from that too.
Prevention: Condoms. Use them every time you have sex. Seriously, people, it’s not rocket science.
Or… be in a monogamous relationship with someone who does not have the disease.
Or… just don’t have sex. (But who are we kidding?? Especially if you’re reading this blog.)
Yep. With antibiotics. However curing it won’t reverse any damage that has been done already.
Name: Pubic Lice
How It’s Spread:
Sex. But also sometimes via close physical contact. Also, rarely, these little “buggers” (see what I did there?) can be spread from contact with infected bedding, clothing, upholstered furniture, and toilet seats. Yeah… if you know someone who has had those recently… maybe you should take a shit BEFORE you visit, just sayin.
Also, just so you know, you CAN still get them even if you shave everything down there since they can live near the hair follicle. However the incidence of infection decreases if you remove all your pubic hair. Brazilian, anyone?
Some people don’t have symptoms for about five days after the initial infection. Others never get symptoms at all. But symptoms include: intense itching in the genitals or anus, mild fever, fatigue, irritability (I can see why!) the presence of lice egg sacs in pubic hair.
How They Test For It:
People often diagnose themselves. If you look at these with a naked eye (or a magnifying glass), they look like tiny crabs. They are pale gray but are darker when swollen with blood. And they can be found not only in the pubic area, but also in underarm hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows. Eggs are white and are found in small clumps near the hair roots.
Condoms won’t save you here. And these things are easy to spread if someone else has them. Best thing I can tell you is not to have sex with anyone who has them. Like if someone seems to be scratching a lot, you probably should just avoid having sex with them altogether (not just because of lice, but because if they’re scratching a lot, they probably have bigger issues that you don’t want to deal with anyway).
Medicine is available over the counter, but a healthcare provider can get you something stronger if needed.