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52.Sexually Transmitted Infection 1 | gaysexguide


52.Sexually Transmitted Infection 1
Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI's) - Introduction If you've ever thought that you were the first or only person to have had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) - think again; they have been around for thousands of years. Gonorrhoea was first mentioned in the Bible and the name of the disease was given by the second century Greek physician Galen. The origin of syphilis is less clear but by the 16th Century it was making its way across Europe. More recently , HIV has affected the lives of gay and bisexual men everywhere and has changed the way we think about sexual health. Not only do we have a better understanding of our health needs but many genito-urinary medicine (GUM) and sexual health services have responded to the need for improvement. None of us really want to dwell on STIs, but being aware on what's going on leaves you free to concentrate on having a good time. Anybody can get a STI from someone who already has one. The trouble is that STIs are usually passed on by someone who doesn't know that they have an infection and so just asking your partner won't protect you.

The majority of STIs enter the body through tiny abrasions, sores or cuts in the body, many of which can be invisible to the eye. A few STIs only itch, some are painful, some are permanent and many can be serious if left untreated. Effective prevention, protection and treatment will significantly reduce the likelihood of getting STIs or if you do get them, will reduce or eliminate the harm they can cause.

Reducing the risks of infection

Being sexually healthy is not only about dealing with sexual problems as they arise, it's also about avoiding problems in the first place. Most sexual activity carries some kind of risk of getting an STI and, while never pleasant, many gay men see them as an occupational hazard. You can significantly reduce the risk of getting or passing on STIs by:


Vaccination against hepatitis A and B.
Using condoms when fucking
Routine clinic check-ups every four to six months.
A prompt visit to a sexual health clinic if you think you have an STI.

Causes and common symptoms

Sexually transmitted infections are caused by:


Bacteria which generally live and multiply in the warm and moist parts of your body like your throat, inside your penis and in your anus and rectum.
Viruses which generally need to get into the blood stream before they can do harm.
Parasites which live on your body in areas like your groin and armpits.

While some STIs have no symptoms, most do and can include:


Itching in or around the penis, testicles or anus.
Burning or itching when you urinate or shit.
Needing to urinate or shit and then not being able to go, or only going a little.
Spots, scabs or rashes on the penis, testicles, or anus.
Pus from the end of the penis or from the anus.
Unusual lumps or bumps.

If you have any of these symptoms, even if you have not had sex recently, you should be checked by a doctor. STIs don't clear up on their own and can be serious if left untreated. It is worth examining yourself about once a month to make sure you haven't picked anything up - apart from the man you always wanted. However, some STIs don't have symptoms. You are recommended to go for a check-up at least twice a year at a sexual health clinic, some of which have specific services for gay men.

HIV and STIs

Having HIV already and getting an STI can put extra strain on the immune system and increase your viral load (the amount of virus present in the blood). This, in turn, can make you more infectious (in terms of HIV) to others. If you get infected with another strain of HIV, this could do more harm than the one you already have and increase the likelihood of disease progression. If you get infected with a drug-resistant strain of HIV, drug treatment will be less effective.

It's therefore essential that you have regular sexual health check-ups to make sure that you haven't picked anything up, particularly STIs which show few or no symptoms. Since most men find out that they have HIV at a clinic, you may already have a doctor who manages your sexual health. If you have any concerns or problems - don't hesitate to pick up the phone or visit.


Sexually Transmitted Infection - Chlamydia, Lice and Gonorrhoea
Sorting out symptoms and what they may mean

If you think you have an STI, you might wonder what kind of STI it is. The symptom chart opposite matches a range of symptoms commonly associated with sexually transmitted infections. By relating your symptoms with the chart, you should get an indication which STI you could have. Some symptoms can indicate other illnesses or medical problems. All the more reason to see someone as soon as possible. The chart is for guidance only and you should not attempt to diagnose or treat yourself. Always consult a doctor. Almost all STIs require a test at a sexual health clinic to determine whether or not you have a STI.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection which you get from unprotected fucking, fingering, rimming, deep kissing and oral sex. Symptoms show themselves one to three weeks after infection. It affects the penis, anus and the throat but can also spread to the bladder and the prostate gland. The body develops an allergic reaction to untreated chalamydia causing an acute form of athrirtis in the joints where it cause permanent damage. It is easily treated with antibiotics although you should go back to the clinic to check that it has cleared up.

Crabs Pubic lice

Pubic lice are small insects no more than 3mm across and under the microscope look very much like crabs, hence the nickname. They can be seen with the naked eye particularly when they've eaten your blood and are bloated. Crabs have a long sharp hollow nose which they use to pierce the skin and draw up a tasty meal . They live in hair anywhere on the body but you will usually find them first in the groin and chest areas. They move around like Tarzan, holding tightly onto a hair with their claws and swinging to the next. They can easily be passed on though close physical contact including shared bedding, towels and clothing. You don't only get crabs through sex, so be careful before you point that finger! They are sometimes passed on through day-to-day social contact with friends, flatmates or anyone with whom you share your home. Crabs are easily treated with a special lotion, available from any chemist, or free, from a clinic. Even after effective treatment you can still feel itchy for a few days and - believing the crabs still there - some people re-treat themselves which can cause skin irritation. All bedding and clothes that have come into contact with you should be washed at no less than a 600 c wash.

Gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea is a highly infectious bacterial infection which you get from unprotected fucking, fingering, rimming, deep kissing, and oral sex. Left untreated the infection can spread to the prostate gland, bladder, the balls and joints and cause permanent damage. Blindness has be known and in some cases, death. A course of antibiotics is usually prescribed.



Sexually Transmitted Infection - Hepatitis
Hepatitis is caused by a family of viruses - such as A, B and C - that affect the liver and reduce its ability to function. One of the largest and most important body organs, the liver makes and regulates many of the body's chemicals and helps break down and eliminate drugs, toxins and others poisonous substances from the blood. When it's infected, it becomes swollen, painful and doesn't work properly which means that poisons - which would otherwise be processed by the liver - build up in the bloodstream. Recovery can take many months and the consequences of hepatitis can be serious, cause long-term damage and in some cases liver failure. (Hepatitis can also be caused by the side-effects of some medical drugs, overdosing on some drugs eg paracetamol, and long-term alcohol abuse - which put the liver under great strain).

Vaccination

Unlike the majority of STIs, Hepatitis A and B are preventable through vaccination. So with few exceptions you can virtually eliminate getting it in the first place, and it's difficult to understand why so many gay men who know about it don't bother. If you're gay and sexually active, it's essential!
How you get it and symptoms
Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is most commonly associated with poor toilet hygiene and contaminated food and water although you get it from rimming, scat, and kissing. While some people don't get any symptoms at all, they usually occur two to eight weeks after infection and include diarrhoea, loss of appetite, aches and pains, pale slimy shits, dark coloured piss and a yellowing or jaundice of the skin and eyes. Although very unpleasant, hepatitis A is rarely serious and the body usually fights off the infection within a few weeks, though some symptoms may persist for up to six months.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is much more serious than hepatitis A and can cause long-term liver damage. In a minority of cases, this can cause chronic liver damage leading to death. You can get hepatitis B from unprotected fucking and shared dildos, oral sex, watersports (if the piss gets into the eyes and mouth) and rimming. In fact, it's a bit of an all rounder which is why vaccination is essential! Most people experience no symptoms but have a period of illness up to six months after infection. These include tiredness, jaundice, dark coloured piss, pale slimy shits, stomach pains and itching. The majority of people recover fully although a small percentage remain carriers of the virus and can pass it on to others and run the risk of problems later on.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is on the increase. Identified just over a decade ago, it is more serious than either A or B and like hepatitis B can cause liver disease and death in the longer term. Hepatitis C is much harder to transmit than A, B, or HIV and most infected people are injecting drug users, recipients of blood transfusions, or have fucked, sucked or rimmed without protection. However, unlike HIV, hepatitis C has a tough outer coating and can remain active for several weeks on shared personal items like toothbrushes and razors.

Treatment and recovery

There is no treatment for hepatitis A and B and so the key to recovery is resting sufficiently to allow the body to overcome the virus and get the liver working properly again. This can take several weeks, in some cases months. Your recovery plan should include:


Plenty of rest.
No alcohol.
No fatty, rich or spicy foods.
No recreational drugs including dope and tobacco.

This may seem strict but if you don't stick to it the liver won't get the rest it needs to recover and you are likely to get sick again. Treatment for hepatitis C is more complicated and in addition to the above, a drug called interferon alfa is sometimes given which can reduce the amount of the virus and halt or slow down damage to the liver.


Sexually Transmitted Infection - Herpes
Herpes viruses cause small fluid-filled blisters on the skin. There are different types of the herpes virus. Type I causes cold sores around the nose and mouth while Type II affects the cock, balls and arsehole. Herpes can also affect the eyes and the passage between the mouth and the stomach (oesophagus), particularly in those with weakened immune systems. Herpes ...
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