What is VD?
The term VD is an abbreviation which stands for Venereal Diseases, a group of diseases transmitted through sexual activity (Oral sex, vaginal sex and anal sex). The term venereal is derived from the Latin word venereus which relates to sexual intercourse or desire, linked with the Roman goddess Venus. Venereal Diseases are also known as sexually transmitted diseases or STDs.
Is Trichomoniasis a VD?
Annually, over one and half billion people contract venereal infections globally, of this figure, about 500 million individuals were either infected with syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia or trichomoniasis. In addition, around 600 million people contract genital herpes yearly while an estimated 290 million women are infected with the human papillomavirus.
Most individuals with venereal disease are initially asymptomatic (show no signs of the disease), this significantly increases the risk of transmitting the disease to others during sexual activity.
According to a report from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, the United States has the highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among developed nations of the world. Similarly, a report by the Netherlands National Health Service (RIVM) shows that the incidence of sexually transmitted disease in the country has risen significantly.
According to the release, the incidence of gonorrhea and syphilis among gay men has risen significantly while chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis remains the most common and problematic venereal diseases among women and heterosexual men. In developing countries, Nigeria and India account for a significant percentage of venereal diseases distribution owing to their population size and cultural practices.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Venereal disease (VD)
- Vaginal discharge or penile discharge (may be thick, cloudy or bloody)
- Painful bowel movements.
- Ulcers on or around the genitals
- Painful, swollen testicles.
- Pelvic pain mostly in women.
- Pain or burning sensation when urinating.
- .Unusually heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods.
- Anal itching.
What are the Common Types of venereal Diseases or VD?
VD symptoms vary with the disease, the common symptoms based on disease are listed below:
Syphilis is a very contagious venereal disease caused by Treponema pallidum. The disease spreads as a result of direct contact with syphilis sore during oral sex, anal sex or vaginal sex. The progression of the disease occurs in four stages namely; primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary stages. Each stage of the disease comes with its own distinct symptoms. Syphilis was once regarded as a major public health challenge because of its tendency to cause major health complications if left untreated. There are several risk factors that expose an individual to the development of this venereal disease. Individuals that are sexually active or individuals whose sexual partner has tested positive for syphilis or HIV are at a very high risk of contracting the disease. In addition, having multiple sexual partners significantly increases the risk of contracting syphilis.
Gonorrhea is another venereal disease that is of significant public health importance. This venereal disease is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae also known as gonococcus. Transmission is as a result of direct contact of genitals with penile or vaginal discharge containing the microorganism during intercourse or other sexual activities.
Globally, Gonorrhea affects about 0.6% of men and 0.8% of women and can result in serious medical complications if not properly treated or if left untreated.
Major Complications of Untreated Gonorrhea in Men
A poorly treated or an untreated gonorrhea infection in men can result in several complications which include;
- Disseminated Gonococcal infection
- Prostatis ( inflammation of the prostate)
- Epididymitis ( inflammation and infection of the epididymis)
Note: A disseminated gonococcal infection due to Neisseria gonorrhoeae can result in endocarditis, Sepsis, cellulitis, and meningitis.
Major Complications of Untreated Gonorrhea In women
A poorly treated or an untreated gonorrhea infection in women can result in several complications which include;
- Reproductive system related complications such as infertility and ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.
- Chronic pelvic pain and
- Inflammation of the bartholin glands
- Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome is a rare complication
Major Complications During pregnancy
A poorly treated or an untreated gonorrhea infection before or during pregnancy can result in several complications which include;
- Endometritis or infection of the lining of the uterus
- Increased risk of miscarriage
- Increase risk of preterm labor; The woman may be given medicines to prevent premature birth, which could require a stay in the hospital
- Premature rupture of the membranes (PROM).
Major Complications in Newborns
A poorly treated or untreated gonorrhea infection during pregnancy can result in several health challenges for the newborn these include;
- Neonatal meningitis
- Conjunctivitis (Ophthalmia Neonatorum)
Symptoms of Gonorrhea
- Painful urination and burning sensation
- Yellow-white, or green-white discharge from the opening of penis
- Pain in the scrotum or Itchy genitals
Genital herpes is a venereal disease (VD) caused by two types of viruses (herpes simplex type 1 and herpes simplex type 2). The disease is contracted during sexual activity with an infected individual (vaginal, anal, or oral sex).An individual become infected as a result of coming in contact with body fluids containing the virus from an infected person. The asymptomatic (no symptoms) nature of this disease is one of the major factors responsible for the proliferation of this venereal disease.
Most individuals carrying the virus are oblivious of its presence until major signs and symptoms start manifesting. Once the virus secure entry into the human body mostly via the skin, it migrates along nerve paths. In the nerve paths, it could either remain inactive (dormant) or become active from time to time leading to the manifestation of clinical symptoms in the infected individual.
Symptoms of Herpes
- Inflammation of the cervix and vaginal discharge in women.
- Burning or tingling sensations in the skin.
- Painful blisters and/or ulcers in the genitals, rectum or mouth. CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE INFORMATION ON GENITAL HERPES
Venereal disease and Cancer
Venereal diseases (VD) have been linked to various forms of cancer. A recent study published in the Cancer Journal for Clinicians has linked the development of cervical cancer to the previous infection with genital herpes. A further review of the data confirms the association between herpes viruses and cervical cancer. In men, genital herpes has also been linked to the development of cancer of the prostate. Studies have revealed that prostate cancer cells contain Herpes virus particles indicating a very strong link between prostate cancer and herpes infection in men.
Developing venereal diseases due to the presence of Human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cancers of the throat, anus, and mouth. The infection also significantly increase the risk of cervical cancer in women and the development of penile cancers in men.
What are the Types of Venereal diseases and their Causative Agents
Venereal disease caused by Bacteria
Causative agent: Treponema pallidum
Causative agent: Haemophilus ducreyi
Causative agent: Neisseria gonorrhoeae
Causative agent: Chlamydia trachomatis
5. Granuloma inguinale
Causative agent: Klebsiella granulomatis
6. Mycoplasma Genitalium
Causative agent: Mycoplasma genitalium
7. Ureaplasma infection
Causative agent: Ureaplasma urealyticum
8. Mycoplasma hominis
NB: Mycoplama Genitalium is a new venereal disease recently discovered and reclassified by British researchers following a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
Venereal disease caused by Fungus
Candidiasis or yeast infection
Venereal disease caused by Viruses
1. Genital Herpes
Causative agent: Herpes simplex virus 1, 2
2. Viral Hepatitis
Causative agent: Hepatitis B, C, D, E
3. HIV/ AIDS
Causative agent: Human Immunodeficiency Virus
4. Genital warts
Causative agent: Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Venereal disease caused by Parasites
1. Crab louse
Causative agent: Pthirus pubis
Causative agent: Sarcoptes scabies
Venereal disease caused by Protozoans
Causative agent: Trichomonas vaginalis
Treatment of Venereal Diseases
Most venereal disease (VD) can be treated and cured while others mainly viral cannot be completely cured but their symptoms can be managed. Treatment of most venereal diseases involve the administration of antibiotics or antiviral drugs after a proper diagnosis of the condition by a qualified clinician. Self-treatment for venereal disease is not recommended as the practice have been shown to complicate treatment resulting in further complications and the development of resistant strains.
Types of Sexual Activity and Venereal Diseases That Can Be Contracted Through Them
The following diseases can be contracted by engaging in oral sex with an infected person
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Throat chlamydia
- Throat gonorrhea
The following diseases can be contracted by engaging in vaginal sex with an infected person
- Hepatitis B
- Gental Warts (Human papillomavirus HPV)
- Mycoplasma hominis infection
Anal Sex and Anilingus
The following diseases can be contracted by engaging in Anal Sex and Anilingus relationship with an infected person
- Hepatitis B
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Mycoplasma hominis infection
- Hepatitis A
Prevention of Venereal Diseases
For most venereal diseases (VD) the safest and most effective method of prevention is abstinence from sex and faithfulness to a faithful sexual partner. This has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of contracting diseases related to sexual activity. Not all sexually transmitted diseases can be prevented with condoms. The use of condom in the prevention of some venereal diseases such as genital herpes has been shown to be largely ineffective in preventing the infection. This is because condoms only provide protective coverage for the penis leaving other parts of the body exposed to body fluids of an infected partner during sexual activity. In addition, the increased incidence of malfunctioning or broken condoms remains a huge concern.
Some available vaccines can reduce the risk of contracting certain venereal diseases such as some types of human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B. Individuals with multiple sexual can also reduce their risk of exposure to venereal disease causing microorganism by practicing safe sex.
An effective mechanism that has been proven to help in the prevention of venereal disease is the Partner Notification Drive (PND). It involves encouraging individuals who have tested positive for an STI, to inform their sex partners including partners he/ she has had sexual relationships with over the last three months to one year. This system, (confidential partner notification scheme) has been effective in preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) especially HIV /AIDS in most developing countries where the disease remains a serious public health challenge.