Table: Sexual Health STI Chart

These infections either affect the genital area or can be passed on through sexual contact.

Disease How you get it Symptoms Treatment Partners
Diseases that are transmitted sexually
Chlamydia
Infection of mucous membranes lining the genitals can lead to inflammatory disease (PID) in women and infertility in men and women.
 
By having vaginal or anal sex without a condom with someone who has the infection; from mother-to-baby (eye and chest infection) Women often have no symptoms or may have pain with sexual intercourse, lower abdominal pain, changes in bleeding pattern. Men may have no symptoms or may have watery or thick discharge from penis, pain or urinating. Antibiotics. Recent sexual partners need treatment. Don't have sex until 7 days after starting treatment and until sexual contacts have been treated.
Gonorrhoea
Bacterial infection of genitals, throat or anus, can lead to infertility particularly  in women.
 
By having vaginal, anal or oral sex without a condom with someone who has the infection; from mother-to-baby (eye infections). Women usually have no symptoms, but may have pain with sex, vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain. Men may have no symptoms or discharge from penis, discharge from anus, pain in testicles, pain on urinating. Antibiotics. Sexual partners must be tested and treated if positive. Avoid sex until 7 days after treatment is completed. Condoms provide some protection, but not total.
Syphilis
Bacterial infection entering the body through breaks in skin or linings of the genital area; over time, goes on to damage internal organs (heart, brain, spinal cord)
 
By having vaginal, anal or oral sex without a condom with someone who has the infection; from mother-to-baby across placenta during pregnancy (congenital syphilis). Painless ulcer (chancre) usually on genitals;  later swollen glands, rash, hair loss. Antibiotics with follow-up blood tests. Sexual partners must be tested and treated if positive. Current health regulations advise no sex until you are cleared.
Genital warts
Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes fleshy or flat lumps – may be present even if not visible
 
HPV transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact, usually during sex; from mother-to-baby. Sometimes no identifiable source of transmission. Fleshy or flat lumps on or around genitals, anus, groin or thigh.  Visible warts can be treated, but the infection cannot be cured. Discuss vaccination with your health professional. Condoms provide some protection, but not total.
Genital herpes
Herpes simplex virus causes skin infection usually on mouth and lips (cold sores) or on genitals.
 
Close skin contact with someone with the virus; from mother-to-baby. Painful, red blisters, little sores or ulcers, flu-like symptoms, and sometimes a discharge. Anti-herpes drugs and pain relief can be given to treat symptoms, but the infection cannot be cured. Some may need medication to prevent further outbreaks. Partners may or may not catch herpes. Do not have sex when open sores are present. Condoms provide some, but not complete, protection.
Non-specific urethritis (NSU)
Infections that cause inflammation of the urethra.
 
Can be caused by chlamydia or by bacteria, viruses or other organisms. Women usually have no symptoms. Men have discharge from the penis, pain on urinating, but sometimes there are no symptoms. Antibiotics. Partners need to be examined and treated.
Trichomoniasis
Trichomonas vaginalis, a small parasitic organism, causes irritation in the vagina in women and can cause an irritation inside the penis in men.
 
During sexual intercourse with an infected person. Women may have no symptoms, but there may be a yellowy-green frothy vaginal discharge. Men usually have no symptoms. Antibiotic tablets and/or vaginal pessaries. Treat with antibiotics to avoid re-infection.  Don't have sex until 7 days after starting treatment and until sexual contacts have been treated.
Diseases that can be transmitted sexually or may be transmitted in other ways
Hepatitis A
Viral infection which affects the liver.
 
Mainly through contaminated food or water or not hand-washing after toilet, before food etc. Can be through anal sex and oral-to-anal contact (rimming).   Often no symptoms, or may have mild flu-like illness, or vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Immunisation for prevention. Good hygiene and hand-washing. Avoid alcohol and drugs. Eat a well-balanced low-fat diet. Immunisation for prevention and avoid anal sexual practices until recovered.
Hepatitis B
Viral infection which affects the liver.
 
By having vaginal, anal or oral sex without a condom with someone who has the infection; form mother-to-baby. By sharing needles, syringes, toothbrushes, razors and unsterilized instruments that pierce the skin. Blood transfusion in countries that do not pre-test blood for transfusion. May have no symptoms or mild flu-like illness or vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Rest, exercise and avoid alcohol, drugs and smoking. Eat a well-balanced low-fat diet. Check any prescribed or over-the-counter medicines are safe to take. Always use a condom if partner is not immunised. Protection is offered to babies on the immunisation schedule and to children under 16 years. Free immunisation is available for household and sexual contacts.
Hepatitis C
Viral infection which affects the liver.
 
After contact with infected blood or by sharing needles or syringes or possibly through sexual contact. Blood transfusion in countries that doe no pre-test blood for transfusion. Often no symptoms or may have mild, flu-like illness or vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Rest, exercise and avoid alcohol, drugs and smoking. Eat a well-balanced low-fat diet. Sexual and needle-sharing partners can have a blood test to check for Hep C antibodies.
HIV
Human Immunodeficiency Virus attacks the white blood cells and causes damage to the immune system so that it can be difficult to fight off infections.
 
HIV is transmitted through blood, semen and vaginal fluids, sharing needles and from mother-to-baby. Blood transfusion in countries that do not pre-test blood for transfusion. Usually no obvious symptoms for many years. No immunisation or cure available although some secondary infections can be treated or prevented. Keeping well for longer is possible with good care. Women with HIV/AIDS need a cervical smear yearly. Practice safer sex to prevent transmission. Partners should ask for an HIV test.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
An infection of the womb and fallopian tubes that can cause infertility.
 
Usually by having vaginal sex without a condom with someone who has gonorrhoea or chlamydia. Pain during sex, sore abdomen or back, heavy, irregular or painful periods, spotting, high temperature, feeling sick; sometimes no symptoms. Antibiotics and rest. Need to check for STIs and be treated to avoid reinfection.  No sex until treatment is completed and until sexual contacts have been treated.
Pubic lice – crabs
Small lice that live in the pubic hair and cause irritation.
 
By close body contact, usually during sex with an infected person. Can be spread via infected bedding and clothing. Intense itching in the pubic area, small nits (eggs) on pubic hair. Special shampoo, cream or spray applied to pubic area. Wash all clothing and bed linen. Treat partners of the last 3 months in the same way at the same time.
Scabies
Small mites that burrow into the skin cause irritation.
 
By close body contact, sometimes during sex. Can be spread by sharing clothes or bedding. Itching, worse at night, and a rash on the body. Special lotion, cream or ointment. Wash all clothing and bed linen. Treat partners of the last 3 months in the same way at the same time.
Infections that are not sexually transmitted but can affect the genital area
Thrush or candidiasis
Irritation of mucous membranes from a yeast organism. It can occur in or around the vagina, and on the tip of the penis.
Yeast overgrowth may occur when antibiotics are used, during pregnancy, with diabetes, or when immunity is lowered. It can occur after sex, but also without sex. Women have vaginal or vulval itching and a thick, whitish vaginal discharge. Men have itching and may have a red rash on the head of the penis or a discharge under the foreskin. Creams and pessaries for local treatment. Anti-fungal tablets may be given in severe cases. Salt water baths for men are usually effective. Need treatment if showing symptoms.
Cystitis
Bacteria cause inflammation of the bladder lining; can spread to kidneys and cause damage to kidney function.
 
Bacteria from around the anus getting into the urethra and bladder, not emptying the bladder properly. Much more common in women than men. Burning sensation when urinating, needing to urinate urgently and more often than usual, cloudy, bloodstained or smelly urine, aching in lower abdomen or back. Antibiotics after urine test if symptoms last longer than a day, drink plenty of water, use pain relief and using alkalisers, e.g. Ural®, Citravesent®, etc  
Bacterial vaginosis
If the control of the normal bacteria in a healthy vagina fails, an overgrowth of certain bacteria can occur. The acid/alkaline balance is upset and irritation results.
 
It may be brought on by anything that changes the balance in the vagina, eg, new sexual partners, increased sexual activity. Greyish white, smelly vaginal discharge. Oral tablets and/or vaginal pessaries.  

 

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