What precisely is a venereal disease (VD)?

Venereal disease is a sexually transmitted bacterial, parasitic, yeast and viral infection, more commonly known as sexually transmitted disease (STD) or sexually transmitted infection (STI). Prevalence of venereal diseases continually increases despite efforts from Governments, nonprofit NGOs, health advocates and health professionals of every nation across the globe to stem the spread of infection.  Common types of venereal diseases are gonorrhea, Chlamydia, yeast infections, and HIV/AIDS. The incidence of sexually transmitted diseases is slowly becoming a threat to modern society in the most recent years.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), reported as many as 20million people in the US alone are infected with venereal diseases each year. CADCP is also observing with trepidation the disturbing trend that most people with venereal diseases are the young adults. An in-depth study revealed about 60% are below the age of 25.

How are venereal diseases transmitted?

Venereal disease is currently spreading at a distressing rate. The unremitting rate with which the disease is spreading can be very much attributed to half-truths disseminated about the disease’s true nature. What most people, especially the young adults, know and believe is that venereal disease can only be transmitted by sexual contact, which is not exactly true. Venereal diseases are only named sexually transmitted diseases or infections because the common transmission is by sexual intercourse. However, sexual intercourse doesn't only refer to contact with sexual organs. Sexual intercourse cover all types of sexual contacts like anal, oral and vaginal sex.

Meaning, sexual practices other than actual intercourse with an infected person can also spread the infection. Venereal diseases can affect both women and men irrespective of their background and age. Certain factors are present however that increase risk for a person to acquire or transmit VD. Risk factors like; sexual activity at a young age, unprotected sex, and multiple sexual partners.

One factor which makes venereal disease highly unsafe is that people don’t know they have the infection. This increases the number of people unaware they have STDs or STIs who could spread the disease. Venereal diseases are asymptomatic, detection and treatment are difficult.  Venereal disease can affect both genders, but the degree of infection varies. Long-term complications are more damaging to women than men. Women have high risks of developing debilitating conditions like difficult pregnancy, infertility even death. Moreover, venereal diseases, unfortunately, can be passed from mother to baby. Responsibility when it comes to sexual relationships should be stepped up with all the threats various sexually transmitted diseases could inflict.

Common causes of sexually transmitted infections that cause VD

  • Bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis causes Chlamydia which is considered the most common VD in the United States. This is the most asymptomatic sexually transmitted infection earning its nickname “silent infection or disease”. Usually, only after only a week to three weeks, Chlamydia infection produces any symptoms. Symptoms in women include frequent urination, increased vaginal discharge, and irregular menstrual bleeding. Men will experience pain during urination accompanied by an abnormal penile discharge. Chlamydia can be treated with a short course of antibiotics.
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes gonorrhea, this bacterium grows faster in areas that are moist. Level of risk for women is higher because of the tendency of this infection to spread to other genital organs. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID0) or salpingitis; debilitating conditions caused by long-term gonorrhea, which can then lead to infertility. Gonorrhea can be passed from an infected mother to her baby. Gonorrhea symptoms are generally the same for both genders. Unusual vaginal or penile discharges; greenish or yellowish for women and whitish for men, painful urination, and itching from the anus are the usual signs of gonorrhea. Gonorrhea treatment is more or the same short course of antibiotics treatment for Chlamydia.
  • Treponema palladium causes Syphilis, which is a spirochaete bacterium, also called the great imitator. Symptoms resemble those of other venereal diseases or STIs. Syphilis is transmitted through direct contact with genital sores also known as syphilis rash which usually appears on the rectum, surroundings of the genital area or around the mouth. Life-threatening conditions can develop from the slow progressing numerous stages of syphilis.  Symptoms are the same for both genders
    1. Primary stage syphilis is when a single or more pain-free ulcers come out around the genital areas, anus or mouth. These ulcers or chancres, are typically round, small and painless, and appears at the exact spot of the body where syphilis was transmitted. These chancres often heal even when not treated. When this early stage infection is not adequately managed, the disease progresses to the second stage.
    2. The secondary stage is when skin rashes and lesions appear in the moist genital areas. Additional symptoms include; fatigue, weight loss, recurrent fever and protracted sore throat. If again the second stage infection is not properly treated, the disease progresses to the third and late stages.
    3. Syphilis can also become latent. It can go on for years without showing subsequent symptoms. High risks conditions can result from latent syphilis. Multiple internal organ failures, paralysis, and even death are just a few of these conditions. Syphilis in its early stage is easy to treat by a course of penicillin injection or other antibiotics. CDCP reiterates the urgency to treat syphilis, the moment a syphilis infection is suspected.