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Parasitic Sexually Transmitted Diseases - STDS
Technically speaking all sexually transmitted diseases are caused by parasites. What is a bacteria, fungus or virus but a parasite trying to live off of the resources and materials in the human body?
Modern medicine, however, classifies bacteria, fungi, and viruses by common behaviours and species and each of those is already covered.
This page, on the other hand, covers the STDs that don't fit into neat species or treatment categories.
Parasitic STDs are often easy to treat when caught relatively early, and only syphilis is usually fatal if untreated.
Scabies and pubic lice, however, can really make your social life go straight downhill while decreasing the effectiveness of your body's defenses against other diseases.
In addition, parasitic STDs are NOT always avoidable by condom use since they transmit from person to person through direct skin contact.
If you're having sexual intercourse, you're having direct skin to skin contact somewhere.
There are numerous photos of male and female genitals that have been infected on this and other pages by various sorts of stds.
Definition: Syphilis is caused by a tiny little organism called a spirochete.
There are many kinds of spirochetes, and the one that specifically causes syphilis is called Treponema pallidum pallidum.
Above is a picture of Syphilis of the penis. It can be easily confused with the bacterial infection streptococcus, which I have included a picture of below.
How is Syphitis spread?
Syphilis is usually transmitted through sexual contact, although some instances occur during birth or, even more rarely, by other direct contact of skin or mucous membranes.
The Stages of Development and Symptoms of Syphilis
The spirochetes usually incubate for between two and ten days, then producing a small papule that develops into a painless ulcer at the site of primary infection - the primary stage of infection with Syphilis.
After that, a widespread body rash appears, often accompanied by systemic symptoms like a fever, headache, swelling of the lymph nodes and general fatigue - the secondary stage of infection with Syphilis.
During this secondary stage, the spirochetes have gone through the bloodstream to infect lymph nodes, other internal sites and even the central nervous system. Moist, broad ulcerations may appear in the perineum, which is the area between the genitalia and the anal sphincter along with ulcerated patches in the mouth. This is the point that most people realize that something is seriously amiss.
If ignored, syphilis will go dormant for a long period of time.
The person with it is not terribly contagious during this dormant period, although of course the risk still exists.
However, the most terrible part about this particular stage is that the spirochetes are working their way towards vital bodily systems.
The final stage of a Syphilis infection: A tertiary stage syphilis infection can cause tissue destruction in the cardiovascular system, the bones, the skin and the central nervous system. The effects of this tissue destruction can include cardiovascular aneurysm, meningitis, disturbances to senses and balance, blindness, insanity and death.
How is Syphilis diagnosed?
There are several syphilis tests administered by pathology labs.
Two tests are usually required in order to ensure an accurate diagnosis because spirochetes are notably difficult to test for.
Treatment usually involves a course of long-acting penicillin, with doxycycline or tetracycline as potential subsitutes if you're allergic to penicillin.
Because condom usage does not protect against syphilis infection, all sexual contact should be avoided until the full course of treatment is complete.
In addition, the person with syphilis should be careful of their bodily fluids, not let people share towels and clothing, and practice stringent hygiene in order to avoid infecting anyone in their household.
Syphilis is easily treated if caught early and treated properly. If ignored, this is one of those diseases that really will kill you.
Definition: Scabies is a contagious infection of the skin with a tiny little itch mite called Sarcoptes scabiei.
Scabies symptoms and where located
It's usually noticed by way of the intensely itchy rash made up of tiny scaly blisters, little things that look like something burrowing just under the skin and inflamed lesions.
Scabbies burow into human skin - the picture above shows a scabbies mite burrow.
This rash can be found on the webs between the fingers, around the waistline, on the trunk of the body, around the genital area and on the arms.
How is Scabies spread?
It will readily spread between anyone who has close physical contact including kid playmates, within a household and, of course, between sexual partners. It usually gets worse at night.
How to Diagnose Scabbies?
Scabies has to be diagnosed by taking a scraping of infected skin and examining it through a microscope in order to see the mite itself, its eggs, or its characteristic excretions.
Animals, humans, pets, cats and dogs, and Scabbies
It also causes mange and scab in animals, so keep a lookout on your pets.
The mites that cause problems for pets can't reproduce on humans, but they can make you miserable for a few days, anyway. These little buggies are actually a part of the arthropod phylum along with insects of all kinds.
Treatment for scabies involves permethrin cream being applied to the entire bodily surface save the eyes and the mouth. You then leave this cream on for between eight to fourteen hours. Another treatment may need to be done in two weeks if the first wasn't sufficient to knock all the mites out.
Pregnant women and babies under two months old should be treated with precipitates sulfur suspended in petroleum jelly for three days instead.
Wash every article of cloth that's come in contact with an infected person.
Definition: Pubic lice, also known as Phthirus pubis, is one of the three kinds of lice that can infect human beings.
The other two are hair lice (head or kneck areas are infested) and body lice (live on one's clothing and bedding).
Pubic lice prefer pubic hair the most, but can eventually be found almost anywhere on the body including the eyelashes - anywhere where hair grows on the body.
How is Pubic Lice Spread?
They can be picked up either through direct skin contact or through contact with the sweat of an infected person. It is possible to get it through sharing towels, clothing, beds or bedsheets with an infected person. Men can also get pubic lice traveling up from the pubic region to body hair on the trunk and back.
Pubic Lice Symptoms
Like scabies, pubic lice usually cause more intense itching at night.
The symptoms of a pubic lice infestation include, of course, itching and inflammation.
The above photo of pubic lice provided courtesy of SOA-AIDS, Amsterdam.
The above photo of pubic lice on eye lid provided courtesy of Kosta Mumcuoglu.
In addition, the excretions of pubic lice can show up in underwear as brownish-red dust and many people get a flat, blue to grey rash anywhere the lice bite and feed.
If pressed, the blue-grey rash stays the same color instead of blanching out like skin usually does.
Pubic Lice and it's Location
The most common area for itching to start is on the mons, which is the pad of fat, skin and hair right on the front of the pubic bone.
Pubic lice can be found anywhere where course hair grows as well, including the anal area, and below is a photo of a pubic infection of the anal area.
The lice do not get inside the body, so internal genital symptoms aren't caused by these particular annoying insects.
Pubic Lice Treatment
Shaving the pubic hair or combing it with a fine toothed comb is not sufficient by itself to eradicate an infestation, although it should be done to remove remaining dead lice and eggs once pharmaceutical treatment is complete.
The best way to go after these bugs is with permethrin or pyrethrin creams or rinses. You'll usually need a prescription for these.
Normally you'll apply the cream, leave it for ten minutes and then rinse it off. Doing this again after 10 days is usually recommended.
STD AND STI Parasitic References
Richard B. Jamess, MD, PhD (2002). "Syphilis- Sexually Transmitted Infections, 2006.". Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines.
Scheinfeld NS (2004). "Controlling scabies in institutional settings: a review of medications, treatment models, and implementation.". Amer J Clin Dermatol 5 (1): 31–7.
Alexander, J.O’D. 1984. Arthropods and Human Skin. Springer-Verlag, Berlin
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Good luck from: Loni (Researcher and writer ) Donald (Editor and web master).
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