What are STDs? What is herpes? What is chlamydia? What is HPV? Dr. Mona defines these sexually transmitted illnesses and more.
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What is an STD or an STI? Mona Khanna: We used to call Sexually Transmitted Illnesses, STDs for Sexually Transmitted Disease. Now they are more commonly referred to in the medical profession as STIs, Sexually Transmitted Illnesses. And they are basically illnesses, infectious illnesses that are transmitted by some form of sexual act. What is Chlamydia? Mona Khanna: Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted illnesses and because it doesn't have signs and symptoms in most women, it does in men, but most women can carry it around asymptomatically. It's an infection by an organism but it can be easily treated with medication, with prescription medication. So, often times, we find that when we see patients who are having signs and symptoms of another sexually transmitted illness, chances are they may be carrying Chlamydia as well, especially women who are generally asymptomatic. So we will do that test and we will often treat them for Chlamydia if that test is positive because we want to make sure that we were able to eradicate it since it is spread from person to person. What is Herpes? Mona Khanna: One of the most common sexually transmitted illnesses that we really don't talk about anymore because it's become ironically enough so accepted is Herpes, our latest statistics tell us that one out of four or one out of five men and women actually are affected with Herpes and what makes Herpes so different from a condition like Gonorrhea is that once you contract genital herpes, you will always have genital herpes. Whether or not that actually translates to having clinical symptoms like pain, and itching, and burning, is a different question. The reason that, that is so is because the Herpes virus actually lives in your nerve cells, and because it is a virus, we can't get rid of it. So the best treatment for Herpes outbreaks is actually preventing it by taking a medicine every single day to prevent an outbreak from occurring. And outbreaks usually occur in times of stress, because when your body is stressed, the immune system doesn't seem to work as well and you tend to exhibit anything that you might be predisposed to. So, for patients who have Herpes, in many cases we recommend that they take medication every single day so that they don't have an outbreak. What is HPV? Mona Khanna: Another common sexually transmitted illness is actually HPV and that stands for the Human Papillomavirus and while there are dozens and dozens of different types of this virus very similar to the HIV virus, there are four types of the Human Papillomavirus that are directly linked to Cervical cancer, and Cervical cancer, of course, is only found in women. So, you have heard a lot about the advertising and marketing of the new Cervical cancer vaccine, well what that vaccine does is it actually prevents your body from becoming infected with the HPV virus, the Human Papillomavirus because that is the virus that then has the potential to lead to Cervical cancer. About 80% of Cervical cancer cases are directly linked to that virus. What is Gonorrhea? Mona Khanna: Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection, it is highly treatable by an antibiotic, it used to be known as the Clap and it is very, very easily controlled and actually prevented by the use of a Condom and safe sex practices. But the nice thing about Gonorrhea is that most people who contract it do have symptoms so they end up going to the health clinic at the health department or their doctor to get the symptoms checked out and then they are treated appropriately for that particular infection. Again, very easy to treat, a dangerous trend that we have been noticing though off late is the Gonorrhea type is changing and we do have some strains that are becoming more resistant to the antibiotic that we used to use to treat it so we had to use the next generation of antibiotics but luckily so far we don't have any complete resistance of Gonorrhea to the antibiotics in our arsenal. What is syphilis?