We may know more about sexually transmitted diseases these days, but that doesn’t mean they’ve gone away. In fact, they are on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From 2002 to 2006, chlamydia rates increased by 17.2 percent among African Americans, and gonorrhea is 18 times more prevalent in blacks than in whites. Here are the most common STDs in women and how they are treated.
Chlamydia: The most frequently reported and fastest growing sexually transmitted disease, Chlamydia usually carries no symptoms. When they do occur, symptoms include abnormal vaginal discharge, burning when urinating and spotting between periods. Chlamydia is cured with antibiotics. If left untreated, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.
Gonorrhea: The second most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States, Gonorrhea is often mistaken for a bladder infection. Symptoms include pain or burning upon urination, yellowish or bloody vaginal discharge, abdominal pain, heavier menstrual flow and spotting between periods. Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics, but left untreated it can cause chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy and infertility.
Genital Herpes: The virus can lay dormant for years. When an outbreak does occur, look for painful blisters, itching, burning, fever, headaches and muscle aches. There is no cure for genital herpes, but current treatments can shorten outbreaks. Left untreated, genital herpes can be passed onto an infant. This STD is the leading cause of blindness in newborns.
Trichomoniasis: Caused by a parasite, symptoms include a pungent yellow, green or gray vaginal discharge and painful urination and intercourse. Trichomoniasis is usually treated with flagyl. Left untreated, this STD will increase your chances of getting HIV.
HIV/AIDS: Blacks account for almost half of all new HIV cases. CDC studies show that 66 percent of black women with AIDS contracted it through heterosexual contact. The virus can lay dormant for 10 years before exhibiting symptoms, including extreme tiredness; rapid weight loss; fevers and night sweats; long-lasting infections; diarrhea; swollen glands; coughing; oral and vaginal yeast infections; pelvic inflammatory disease (PID); discolored blotches. There is no cure, but treatments can slow the disease. If left untreated, it is fatal.