Chlamydia is a bacterial infection. It can be transmitted through penetrative sex, as well as through direct mucosal contact. Most Chlamydia infections occur without obvious symptoms. Even without symptoms, Chlamydia can be transmitted through unprotected sex. Treatment usually consists of a single course of antibiotics. The sexual partner(s) should be treated simultaneously. If left untreated, Chlamydia can cause complications such as reduced fertility, ectopic pregnancy, or inflammation of the epididymis.
Symptoms for women: if there are any symptoms, they usually include an increase in vaginal discharge or a burning sensation when passing urine. Sometimes there is some vaginal bleeding between periods, discharge containing blood after sex, or lower abdominal pain.
Symptoms for men: sometimes passing urine may be painful or there may be some discharge from the penis. If the infection was caused by anal sex, there may be some itching, pain or slimy discharge from the anus.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the gonococcus bacteria. This bacterium is transmitted through unprotected sexual contact and it can result in a gonorrhea infection of the vagina, urethra, or throat. If untreated, gonorrhea may cause complications such as reduced fertility, ectopic pregnancy, or infection of the child during delivery. Among men, inflammation of the epididymis or prostate may occur.
Symptoms for women: women often have no obvious signs of gonorrhea. If there are any symptoms, the most common one is an increase in vaginal discharge. The discharge may smell unpleasant and have a different colour (pus-like). Sometimes there is some vaginal bleeding between periods. Passing urine could be painful if the urethra is inflamed.
Symptoms for men: men do usually suffer from gonorrhea symptoms. These can include a pus-like discharge from the urethra (urine tube). If the urethra is inflamed, there will also be a burning or unpleasant sensation when passing urine.
Gonorrhea is easy to treat with antibiotics. The treatment usually consists of a single injection of antibiotics. It is also important that the sexual partner or partners are treated.
Syphilis is a serious STI that is caused by a bacterium. The bacterium that causes syphilis lodges in the vagina, the penis or the rectum and sometimes in the mouth. The bacteria can later spread throughout the body via the blood. Treatment of syphilis requires several penicillin injections..
Symptoms: syphilis is a disease that has several stages. During the first stage, sufferers may have one or more (small) ulcers on or around the penis, vagina, rectum or sometimes in the mouth. This happens two to twelve weeks after they have contracted the illness. Even if untreated, the ulcer disappears by itself within two or three weeks. The second stages sets in a few weeks to several months later. At this point the bacteria have spread throughout the body via the bloodstream. Sufferers may be affected by skin rashes or flu-like symptoms. Once again, these symptoms disappear without treatment. If sufferers do not receive any treatment during the first two stages of syphilis, the disease enters the third stage. The syphilis is still in the body and it can cause serious damage to various internal organs.
Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus. This virus can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Acute hepatitis B infections clear up spontaneously. Chronic hepatitis B should be treated. Possible complications include liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. The infection is preventable by vaccination and men who have sex with men should consider getting vaccinated.
Symptoms: a hepatitis B infection usually occurs without symptoms and remains undiagnosed. Only one in three people with hepatitis B exhibit any symptoms. Possible symptoms include fatigue, listless or a fever.
Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus. Infection occurs through contact with infected blood, for example amongst drug users who share syringes. In recent years, sexual transmission of hepatitis C has been reported among a specific group of gay men living with HIV. Without treatment, the infection turns into a chronic state of hepatitis C. This may eventually lead to complications such as liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Symptoms: a hepatitis C infection usually occurs without symptoms. Sometimes patients suffer from fatigue and jaundice.