When talking about STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases, many people tend to think about Herpes and other infections that cause sores or rashes on the body. While these STDs are still prevalent among the population, it is important to note that there are some STDs with no symptoms. When contracting a disease through sexual activity that shows no symptoms, it does not mean the condition does not have an effect on the human body – in fact, some of these conditions can lead to potentially fatal complications.

There has been an increase of up to 154% in the prevalence of certain STDs in the last five years, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The major issue that comes to play now is the fact that many do not consider the possibility of being infected if they do not show any visible signs. We explore STDs with no symptoms and provide more details on why it is so important that you get tested, especially when participating in unprotected sexual activities.

Trichomoniasis

We start with an STD that is much less discussed than others, yet the prevalence is still alarmingly high among the general population. It is estimated that about 3.7 million Americans have this infection, but only one in every three infected individuals will show signs of the STD.

Trichomoniasis is caused by a protozoan parasite. The parasite is known as Trichomonas vaginalis. Various areas of the body can become infected with the parasite. In the female body, common areas that are infected with the Trichomonas vaginalis parasite include the urethra, cervix, vagina, and vulva. Among men, the urethra is most often infected. In the majority of cases, these will be the only areas in the body that is affected by the STD. Trichomoniasis spreads through sexual intercourse.

The major complication of trichomoniasis an inflammation in the genital area. This can increase the risk of being infected with other sexually transmitted diseases. A person with trichomoniasis and a condition like HIV are also more likely to transmit the other STDs to their sexual partner. Pregnant women with trichomoniasis are at risk of preterm delivery of the baby. Low birth weight is also common among infected women who are pregnant.

Trichomoniasis can be effectively treated with the use of tinidazole or metronidazole. The drug is available in the form of a pill that is taken orally. A person who takes these drugs to treat the STD should wait between seven to 10 days before participating in sexual intercourse, as there may still be a risk of transmitting the infection.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is actually rated as one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. The majority of new infections with this disease is observed among those aged between 15 and 49 years. About 78 million infections occur each year around the world. The spread of gonorrhea does seem to be more prevalent among men. Chlamydia is found to co-infect up to 40% of those diagnosed with gonorrhea.

This disease is caused by the transmission of a bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Gonorrhea is transmitted through various forms of sexual activity. This includes oral, anal, and vaginal sex. Additionally, it is possible for a woman to transmit the infection to a child while giving birth.

A serious problem with Gonorrhea is the fact that it often does not cause symptoms – especially among women. In turn, this leads to a risk of complications when a treatment plan is not initiated. The most important concern regarding the complications associated with the gonorrhea infection is with pregnancy.

A baby born to a mother who has contracted gonorrhea may develop a condition known as neonatal conjunctivitis. This is essentially an infection of the eye that may cause scarring. Neonatal conjunctivitis has also been associated with blindness.

Antibiotics are used to treat gonorrhea, as the infection is caused by a bacterium that is transmitted during sex. Unfortunately, the health system is facing a problem with Gonorrhea at the moment, as the incidence of antibiotic-resistant in the bacterium that causes gonorrhea is being reported often throughout the world.

Human Papillomavirus

The human papillomavirus, more commonly known as HPV, infects millions of people, and most who have the disease will only realize it when they get tested, or in the presence of complications caused by the STD.

Recent statistics show that at least 79 million young adults in the United States are currently affected by HPV. When it comes to looking at the human papillomavirus, it is important to understand that different strains of viruses exist and can cause the condition. While some strains are known to cause the patient to experience symptoms, such as warts, there are strains that will not cause any signs of the infection.

In most cases, HPV will spread during vaginal sex, but the disease can also be spread from one person to another when participating in anal sex.

There is no current treatment for the human papillomavirus, which is why the general population is advised to undergo an HPV vaccine. The vaccine was designed to help reduce a person’s risk of being infected with these viruses.

Even when no symptoms exist, it is crucial to understand that some strains of viruses that cause HPV have been linked to cancer. The human papillomavirus has been found to increase the risk of cancer affecting the vagina, anus, vulva, and the penis. Additionally, there also seems to be a higher likeliness of oropharyngeal cancer among people who are infected with the HPV virus.

Herpes

Herpes would be one of the more commonly discussed sexually transmitted infections. Different forms of the Herpes infection exist, with the most common ones being type 1 and type 2. These are also called herpes simplex virus type 1, or HSV-1, and herpes simplex virus type 2, or HSV-2. An estimated 47.8% of the American population has HSV-1, while an additional 11.9% are expected to be infected with HSV-2.

Herpes is often associated with sores on the genital area and lips, but what a lot of people do not realize is that the infection does not always cause these symptoms. There are many cases where a person is infected with either type 1 or type 2 herpes simplex Virus, yet they do not know of the condition.

Various regions of the body can cause transmission of the herpes virus, including the mucosal surface, the genital area, and even through oral secretions.

It is important to note that herpes is currently considered a lifelong disease, as there is no way to cure the STD at the moment completely. There are, however, certain antiviral drugs that could help to reduce the risk of the virus becoming more serious by multiplying in a person’s body.

Conclusion

Participating in unprotected sex puts you at risk of being infected with sexually transmitted diseases. While often associated with unpleasant views, such as sores in the genital area, not all STDs cause symptoms. While initial symptoms may not develop, some of these STDs can lead to harmful complications. Take note of the STDs with no symptoms we shared and be sure to get tested frequently. This can help to ensure you obtain early treatment and possibly prevent issues in the future.

References

https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats17/default.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/stdfact-trichomoniasis.htm

https://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14872:sti-gonorrhea&Itemid=3670&lang=en

https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/rtis/gonorrhoea-treatment-guidelines/en/

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db304.htm