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There are many types of STIs. The following types are common.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is common in The Netherlands. It is very contagious. It may infect your vagina, anus, throat and with men their urethra.

Complaints

Most women do not notice any symptoms. If you do get signs, the most common include:

  • bleeding during or after sex
  • pain in the lower abdomen
  • fever

Men may get signs of the disease as well. They include pain when urinating and/or discharge from the urethra.

If you are infected with Chlamydia of the  anus, your symptoms may include:

  • itching
  • irritation
  • slimy discharge

A throat infection of  Chlamydia does not normally show any symptoms.

Consequences

When vaginal Chlamydia is not treated, it may cause the uterus or uterine tubes to be infected. In the long run this may lead to infertility.

With men, when a urethra Chlamydia is not treated, the infection may contaminate the epididymis on the testicles.

Tests

Prevention of (Chlamydia) infections: take STI tests regularly. Preferably every three months.

For more information on STI tests [link]

For appointments: STI consulting times [link]

Treatment

Chlamydia is curable with antibiotics.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is also called clap. It is very contagious (it is easily spread). It may infect vagina, anus, throat and, with men, urethra (urine tube).

Symptoms/signs

Most women do not notice any symptoms of Gonorrhea. If you do have signs, the most common include:

  • vaginal discharge
  • pain while urinating

If the anus is infected, common signs include:

  • itching
  • slimy discharge
  • irritation

With men common symptoms include:

  • watery penile discharge, green or yellow in colour. The penis may drip discharge (In Dutch the disease is commonly called: drip)
  • pain while urinating

The signs of oral Gonorrhea usually go unnoticed.

Consequences

Vaginal gonorrhea which is not treated in time may cause an infected uterus and uterine tubes. This in turn may cause infertility. Male urine tube gonorrhea may infect the epididymis (on the testicles).

Tests

To prevent health problems in the long run, you should take STI (gonorrhea) tests regularly, preferably every three months.

For more information on STI tests [link]

For appointments: STI consulting times [link]

Treatment

Gonorrhea can be cured by antibiotic treatment.

Syphilis

This is an STI caused by bacteria, common among male homosexual sex partners. There are three phases, each with different signs.[uitklappen]

Symptoms/signs

First stage:

  • The disease usually starts with a painless ulcer or sore in the area of the vagina, penis, anus or mouth. This ulcer vanishes spontaneously. In this phase you are highly contagious.

Second stage:

  • A rash on upper body, arms, legs, (palms of the hands and soles of the feet included)
  • Hair loss

Sometimes also:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Insomnia (lack of sleep)
  • Eye disorders (eyesight problems and infected eyeballs)

These symptoms disappear spontaneously. The disease is highly contagious in this phase.

Phase three:

– Syphilis passes through the body. Up to ten years after the initial infection, serious problems may occur. Blood vessel problems, heart problems, mental disorders are among the signs of  the disease. You are not contagious anymore.

Consequences

Syphilis which is untreated may cause serious health problems, as described in phase three.

Tests

To prevent health problems in the long run, you should take STI (Syphilis) tests regularly, preferably every three months.

For more information on STI tests [link]

For appointments: STI consulting times [link]

Treatment

If Syphilis is diagnosed in time, it can be treated with antibiotics. The treatment will be two penicillin injections. You are not contagious anymore.

In a later phase you should have treatment during a period of time, in which you will have two penicillin injections three times over.

After treatment you will be asked to visit us a few times over the next 1 to 2 years to have your blood tested and to check if the disease has been effectively treated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is caused by a virus which infects the liver. It is highly infectious and it is quite common in The Netherlands.[uitklappen]

Symptoms/signs

There are two forms of Hepatitis B: the acute infection which can cause serious illness.

The signs or symptoms of the acute infection are:

-fatigue

– nausea

– fever

– joint pain

– dark coloured urine

– light coloured stool

– jaundice (yellowing of the skin)

Other people may not have serious signs or no signs at all. This form can be cured by rest. The virus disappears completely; you cannot pass it on.

Another form is chronic hepatitis B. Some people do not get any signs, others are seriously ill. This group of people may develop an ongoing infection of the liver.

Consequences

The disease usually disappears without treatment. The virus vanishes from the body and you have developed an immunity (you will not get the infection again).

Sometimes the virus remains in the body. You will be a carrier all your life. This is called chronic hepatitis B disease. You are contagious throughout your life. You may even die from it. That is why it is important that you should use condoms when you have sex. When you have a steady relationship, your partner can be hepatitis B vaccinated.

Tests

To prevent problems in the long run you should take a hepatitis B test regularly. Preferably once every three months. Better still: get a hepatitis B vaccination. Free at P&G292. When it is your first test with P&G292 we also test if you have already been into contact with the disease. After your vaccination you need not be Hepatitis B tested again. The vaccinations mean lifelong protection.

For more information on STI tests [link]

For appointments: STI consulting times [link]

Treatment

Chronic hepatitis B can be treated. There are medications, but they may not be successful and they may also cause serious side effects. If you are HIV positive, treatment can be even less successful. The best way to avoid the disease is prevention by means of vaccination.

HIV

HIV weakens the human immune system. The HIV virus causes aids and that is the reason that it is also called the aids virus. You can get Aids through unsafe sex or through blood contact.

Symptoms/signs

Soon after you are infected, you may have flu-like symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • General malaise
  • Rash

When you have been infected for some time already, you may have symptoms such as:

–           Fatigue

–           Weight loss

–           Fever

–           Night sweats

–           Diarrhea

–           Breathlessness

–           Rash

Consequences

You may not notice any signs when you have been HIV infected. When the amount of viruses increase, however, your immune system is affected. This may take two years or as long as ten years or more. You may feel fatigue, night sweats, a fever, diarrhea, breathlessness and you may notice an unexplained and severe weight loss. The sooner you know you are infected, the better. Without treatment (taking anti-HIV drugs every day) HIV cannot be stopped from reproducing and in the end you may get aids.

Tests

Your HIV infection may have happened years ago before signs of it appear. That is why you should take STI tests regularly, preferably every three months. After the initial infection it can take six weeks to three months before it shows up in your blood. Your body will produce antibodies. So when you want to make sure you have not got HIV after unprotected sex or a condom break, take a blood test after three months.

For more information on STI tests [link]

For appointments: STI consulting times [link]

Treatment

When you are HIV infected the virus can be stopped from reproducing if you take the prescribed anti-HIV drugs. In this way you can stop Aids. HIV cannot be cured and there is no vaccine either.

HIV treatments are at the HIV treatment centre, with a doctor attending.

Genital warts

Genital warts are caused by a virus. These warts may appear in the area of the vagina, penis or anus. They are not always visible as they can be in the vagina or anus.

Symptoms/signs

– Warts in the area of the vagina or penis

– Warts in the vagina or on the mouth of the uterus (womb), invisible to yourself.

– Warts in the area of the anus (may appear even without having had anal sex)

– Warts in the anus

– Itching, pain, burning

You may have the infection without having warts. You can still be contagious.

Consequences

Genital warts can easily spread and grow. You should be treated quickly. If you wait, the warts will spread and treatment will take longer.

Tests

When you think you may have warts, contact P&G292 for an appointment.

For more information on STI tests [link]

For appointments: STI consulting times [link]

Treatment

You can treat warts yourself by applying treatment cream or other substance. Sometimes you cannot treat the warts yourself, because you cannot see them (in your vagina for instance). The doctor will then remove them by freezing them or with surgery, naturally a local anesthetic will be used.

As it is a viral STI, the virus will not leave the body, so even after treatment the warts might reappear.

Herpes genitalis

Herpes genitalis is caused by a virus. You get infected through bodily contact with a carrier of the virus. For instance by skin-to-skin contact with a person’s rash on mucosa (membrane) of mouth, penis, vagina or anus.

The danger to pass it on is at its height when a person has got blisters or ulcers (sores). Condoms do not grant 100% protection against Herpes as the blisters are in places not covered by the condom.

Cold sores are also caused by the Herpes virus, but of a different type. Blow jobs and licking can also be the cause of the virus being passed on. Always check if your client is free of cold sores.

Symptoms/signs

An attack of Herpes often starts by a fever and muscle pains. You do not feel well. After that the following signs appear:

  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Urination problems
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Swollen glands in the groin
  • Infected urethra (with men)

After 1 to 2 days blisters appear. These are in the area of the vagina, penis or anus. After about a week these blisters become small wounds drying to scabs. The sores and wounds are highly contagious.

A first infection gives the most complaints. The next ones are milder.

Consequences

Herpes may return, especially in periods when your resistance to illness is low. when you are stressed or during menstruation. As it is a viral STI the virus will not leave the body.

Tests

Herpes tests only make sense when you have blisters or wounds. If sores show up, call P&G292 without delay for an appointment [link]. If you have had sex with somebody you suspect of having Herpes, you can always contact us for consultation.

Treatment

As herpes is a virus the symptoms can be treated only. Only within 5 days after the first complaints your symptoms can be treated with anti-viral drugs.

A first infection gives the most complaints. The next ones are milder.

Other diseases

You can also have complaints that have nothing to do with STIs. With Bacterial Vaginosis there is an pH imbalance. Candida is a common yeast.

Bacterial vaginosis

With Bacterial Vaginosis there is an pH imbalance. The gardnerella vaginalis bacteria predominate. There is a greater risk of getting STI when you have Bacterial Vaginosis.

Bacterial vaginosis may be caused by:

  • Douching (washing the vagina) with soap products
  • Medication
  • Sex
  • Using tampons and sponges for longer than four hours

Complaints with a Bacterial Vaginosis may include:

  • Itching and redness of the labia
  • Abnormal discharge
  • Discharge that smells of fish or has a sour smell
  • Together with sperm the smell is even stronger
  • Pain while having sex

Candida

Candida is a common yeast. When there is an imbalance in the vagina, Candida will grow abnormally. Then it is called a fungal infection.

Causes may include:

  • Stress
  • Diseases affecting the immune system
  • Use of antibiotics
  • Just before your menstrual period, because of hormonal changes
  • Wearing clothes/underwear that is too tight. Heat and humidity helps Candida grow and spread.

Symptoms of a Candida infection include:

  • Itch
  • Redness
  • Swollen labia
  • White cheesy discharge
  • Pain during sex and urination

Tests

You can be tested on Bacterial Vaginosis and Candida only when you have complaints. Any complaints or visible signs? For appointments: P&G292 STI consulting times [link]

Treatment

Bacterial Vaginosis can be treated with antibiotics.

Candida can be treated with a vaginal cream and vaginal tablets which can be bought without prescription. Note: this medication may damage condoms and make them useless up to three days after use of this medication. So you had better stop working for a while. Your vagina needs rest to heal. In case of a persistent yeast infection, consult a doctor.