Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are on the rise in Miami and around the world. With an estimated one million new infections worldwide, the Pan America Health Organization (PAHO) was prompted to acknowledge the profound impact on sexual and reproductive health. Despite a quality healthcare system, the US sees approximately 20 million new infections each year. Although there are more than 25 known STDs, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Chlamydia, Trichomoniasis, and Gonorrhea are the most prevalent in the United States. Unless greater emphasis is placed on education and prevention, those totals are likely to skyrocket even further.
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STI Vs STD: Know the Difference
The terms sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have been used synonymously over the years though they could be classified separately. The distinction between the two is rather simple. An STI is an infection that is transmitted through sexual contact, whereas an STD is a disease that resulted from the infection. The infection is often the first phase of a disease. STIs are caused by bacteria, viruses, or even parasites that enter the body and start multiplying disrupting normal body structures and functions.
How Are STIs Transmitted?
Sexually transmitted infections are spread through contact with infected body fluids such as blood, vaginal fluids, and semen. Exposure to infected fluids most often happens during sexual intercourse but can also occur through oral and anal sex. Although most STIs can only be spread through this type of direct sexual contact, pubic lice and other forms of parasitic infections can also be passed during close personal contact with an infected person or with infected clothes, sheets, or towels.
Symptoms of STIs in Men
Unfortunately, many sexually transmitted infections have no signs until it is in an advanced stage. If STI symptoms are present, they may mimic other illnesses such as the flu or a yeast infection. Symptoms that can alert men to a possible STI include the following:
- Bumps, blisters, rashes, or lesions on the genitals
- Discharge, discomfort, or itching of the penis or testicles
- Pain while urinating or ejaculating
- Male Unusual discharge from the penis (thick or thin)
- A sore throat
- Pain or swelling of the testicles
- Rectal pain, discharge, or bleeding (especially after anal sex)
It may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks after exposure for symptoms to appear in man. Just because you are not having any symptoms, it doesn’t mean there isn’t an infection. The only way to know if you are infected is to seek routine medical screening by a qualified practitioner.
STD Testing in Miami for Men
Male Miami residents, who are sexually active should see their medical doctor annually. During your routine exam, a series of questions will determine the need for additional testing. You may be asked if you always use protection during sexual encounters, how many partners you have, or if you have ever had sex with someone who has tested positive for an STI. Depending on your answers, blood, semen, and urine samples may be taken. Individuals who participate in oral or anal sex need to discuss additional testing methods to ensure a complete picture of their sexual health is available.
Almost all the tests for sexually transmitted infections take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks before the results are available except for two. There are rapid result tests available for syphilis and HIV. Additional rapid tests are currently under development but are not available at this time. Until all tests are completed, you will be asked not to engage in unprotected sex.
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What Happens if Your STD Test Results Are Positive?
Unfortunately, STIs are extremely common, and chances are most sexually active men will be diagnosed with some type in their lifetime. Strong antibiotics are used to treat most infections and are generally effective. Regrettably, antibiotic and antimicrobial-resistant STIs have increased in recent years hampering treatment options. Early detection and aggressive treatment are crucial in preventing further medical issues.
In addition to the discovery of treatment-resistant infections, there are two STIs that have no known cures. HIV and herpes can be managed by several pharmaceutical “cocktails” designed to control the symptoms. These complicated ailments can severely impact an infected individual’s health and make the treatment process difficult.
Although either bacterial or viral infections can cause STIs in men, viral infections often impact the entire body and are generally more severe than bacterial ones. If left untreated, all STIs can have severe consequences including those in the list below:
- Worsening infection
- Increased risk for some types of cancer
- Brain damage
- Heart disease
STD Prevention in Miami, Fl.
Although advancements in treatment have been made, most healthcare professionals agree that the best way to prevent the spread of these deadly diseases in men is STD prevention. However, safe and effective vaccines have only been developed for hepatitis B and HPV thus far. The hepatitis B vaccine is estimated to have prevented over one million deaths from chronic liver disease and cancer since it was added to infant immunizations. Even though the HPV vaccine is still relatively new, it is also considered highly effective.
Ongoing research to develop vaccines for other types of sexually transmitted infections and diseases has made some promising headway. With time, these life-threatening conditions can be eradicated, but until then there are other methods to limit exposure following these suggestions can help to protect you:
- Knowing both you and your partners STI/STD status
- Limiting sexual partners
- Correct use of condoms during the entirety of any sexual encounter
- Use of dental dams during oral sex
- Refraining from sexual activity if sores, lesions, blisters, discharges, rashes, or bleeding is present
It is important to note that with or without symptoms, sexually transmitted infections can be spread to other individuals making routine testing a necessity despite many precautions. For more information regarding preventative measures, seek the advice of a qualified medical professional.
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The dedicated staff at Mango Clinic is experienced in a number of routine and specialty services including sexual health. The professional medical teams can provide STD testing, treatment, and recovery support if needed. Although appointments are encouraged, walk-ins are welcome. Our offices are located at 434 SW 12th Ave Suite 205 Miami. For an appointment call (305) 776-2898.