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Sexually active individuals should get themselves tested for the presence of any sexually transmitted diseases. Most people approach doctors when the complications of the infections have already set in. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are often mistaken for urinary or vaginal infection but has disastrous effects on your health if left untreated. The same with untreated high-risk HPV infection which can even lead to cancer.
While a Pap smear is important to detect and prevent cervical cancer, there are other medical conditions that it cannot detect. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, and syphilis are common STDs that a Pap smear cannot screen for. And since they don't show any symptoms, most people often fail to diagnose them. Other serious conditions that a Pap smear can't detect are PCOS and ovarian cancer.
STDs can be caused by viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and ectoparasites. The most common symptom of STDs is itching. Genital warts and herpes (oral and genital) are caused by viruses. Gonorrhea and syphilis are caused by bacteria. Trichomoniasis, caused by protozoa, is more common in women than men. Scabies and pubic lice are caused by parasites.
Chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, HPV, syphilis, and HIV/AIDS are the most common STDs n women. It is estimated that 1 in 20 sexually active women have chlamydia. Similiar to gonorrhea, it has no symptoms. In some cases where women experience symptoms, it could be felt like a urinary tract infection. It is estimated that 90% of women with genital herpes aren’t aware of it.
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If left untreated during your teenage years, STDs can linger undetected and can affect fertility years later. Chlamydia is mostly symptomless and can increase risk of infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and ectopic pregnancy in women. Gonorrhea can trigger sterility in men and PID in women. STDs like syphilis and herpes simplex virus type 2 heighten your risk of contracting HIV.