SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES
This edition of the alt.sex FAQs was written in the early part
of 1994 by the last Alt.sex FAQ Committee. They reflect the
best wisdom and knowledge of all the participants on
the committee at that time.
If you think you have an STD go to your
doctor and get a diagnosis as early as possible. Most common sexually
transmitted diseases can be cured. This FAQ is not meant to
displace sound medical advice from a licensed physician.
- Full name:
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Acquired Immunodeficiency
Syndrome. It is important to distinguish between the two.
HIV is the virus that ultimately causes AIDS. AIDS is a
syndrome, a collection of symptoms associated with HIV
- People infected with HIV may have no symptoms for up to
fifteen years. During this time, they are capable of
infecting anyone they have sex with or donate blood to.
Initial symptoms of HIV infection include inexplicable
weight loss, persistent fever, swollen lymph nodes, and
reddish spots on the skin (Karposi's Sarcoma).
HIV causes the destruction of the immune system. It's most
pronounced symptoms, therefore, are opportunistic infections
of pneumocystis carinii, fungal infections, tuberculosis,
and various herpes forms.
- In a person infected with HIV, the virus can be present in
the body's semen, blood, and breast milk. It can also be
present, in much smaller quantities, in vaginal secretion,
saliva, and tears.
- The AIDS virus can be transmitted via any of these fluids,
but only the first two -- semen and blood -- are likely to
be involved. Anal sex is the most commonly perceived method
of transfer, but vaginal sex has been repeatedly shown to
transmit HIV. Men are less likely than women to be infected
through vaginal sex, but there are recorded cases of men
having been infected this way. Cunnilingus and fellatio have
also been established as capable of transmitting the virus.
Sexual activities, not sexual orientation, transmit the
- HIV cannot be passed on through casual contact, hugging,
hand-shaking, touching the sweat of an infected person, or
- The HIV test shows the presence of antibodies to HIV. It
does not show the presence of the virus: the body first has
to develop antibodies, which normally takes about six weeks.
Hence, a positive result means that someone has antibodies
and could possibly develop AIDS in the future. A negative
result means that someone does not have antibodies at the
moment. If there is a reason to think that exposure was
more recent than six weeks, then a test taken immediately
can only serve as a baseline to compare against a test taken
later. Within six months of HIV infection, 99% of the
population will test positive. No one should be tested for
HIV without first obtaining counselling and ensuring
beforehand support from his or her family or
- The following numbers may be of use:
- AIDS Hotline (800) 342-2437
- AIDS Information Clearing House (800) 458-5231 9-7 EST
- CDC AIDS Ethnicity, Age recording (404) 330-3020
- CDC AIDS Transmission mode recording (404) 330-3021
- CDC AIDS Top 10, Projections recording (404) 330-3022
- There is no cure for HIV / AIDS. Right now most scientists
agree that if you are infected with HIV, you will eventually
die of AIDS. Treatment may fend off infections, however the
typical course is for one overwhelming infection to follow
another until the victim succumbs. Various drugs may slow
the virus, but right now there is no cure.
- Male Symptoms:
- Yellowish discharge from the penis. Painful, frequent
urination. Symptoms develop from two to thirty days after
infection. Roughly 20% of infected men have no symptoms.
Later stages of the infection may move into the prostate,
seminal vesicles, and epididymis, causing severe pain and
fever. Rare cases can lead to septic arthritis. Untreated,
gonorrhea can lead to sterility.
- Female Symptoms:
- Under half of women with gonorrhea show no symptoms, or
symptoms so mild they are commonly ignored. Early symptoms
include increased vaginal discharge, irritation of the
external genitals, pain or burning on urination and abnormal
menstrual bleeding. Women who are untreated may develop
severe complications. The infection will usually spread to
the uterus, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries, causing Pelvic
Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID, though not only caused by
gonorrhea, is the most common cause of female infertility.
Early symptoms of PID are lower abdominal pain, fever,
nausea, vomiting, and pain during intercourse.
- The bacteria that causes gonorrhea can be passed through
sexual contact, such as intercourse, fellatio, anal sex,
cunnilingus and even kissing, although the last is rare.
- Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection, and is therefore treated
with standard antibiotics, usually a member of the
penicillin family. Tetracycline drugs frequently do not
cure gonorrhea, especially in cases of anal infection. One
variety of gonorrhea, penicilliase-producing N. gonorrhea,
is immune to penicillin, and drugs of the cyclosporin family
may be necessary.
- Primary Stage:
- A chancre sore develops at the site of infection from two to
four weeks after infection has occurred. The chancre is
painless 75% of the time. The chancre starts as a dull red
spot, turns into a pimple, which ulcerates, forming a round
or oval sore with a red rim. The sore heals in 4-6 weeks -
however, the infection is still present. The chancre is
usually found on the genitals or anus, but can appear on any
part of the skin.
- Secondary Stage:
- One week to six months after the chancre heals. Pale red or
pinkish rash appears (often on palms or soles) fever, sore
throat, headaches, joint pains, poor appetite, weight loss,
hair loss. Moist sores may appear around the genitals or
anus and are highly infectious. Symptoms usually last three
to six months, but can come and go.
- Latent Stage:
- No apparent symptoms, and the carrier is no longer
contagious. However, the organism is insinuating itself into
the host's tissues. 50 to 70 percent of carriers pass the
rest of their lives without the disease leaving this stage.
The reminder pass into Last Stage syphilis.
- Last Stage:
- Serious heart problems, eye problems, brain and spinal cord
damage, with a high probability of paralysis, insanity,
blindness or death.
- Nominally sexual contact, but can be transmitted by blood
transfusion or from an infected pregnant woman to her
- Penicillin by injection, or a two-week regimen of
tetracycline, is the standard treatment for syphilis. Two
follow-up blood tests two weeks apart after ending treatment
are necessary to ensure the treatment is complete. The
first three stages of syphilis are completely curable, and
even in the last stage syphilis can be stopped. With the
present medical technology to diagnose and treat syphilis,
no one should ever suffer the effects of last-stage
- Full name:
- Human Papilloma Virus
- Half of the people infected with HPV do not show any
symptoms. When symptoms are present, they are small,
visible warts (papillomas) appearing at the tip of the penis or at the
opening of vagina. In women, HPV also causes cervical
lesions. Warts can occur anywhere on the shaft of penis or
the scrotum in men, and anywhere around the labial area or
inside the vagina in women. In women, an abnormal Pap smear
may indicate cervical lesions, but a coloscopy is necessary
to confirm this.
- The virus is transmitted through sexual contact. Warts are
considered very contagious even in people who show no
- Warts are pinpoint infections, and can be treated as such.
Podophyllin solution, trichlorocetic acid, and fluorouracil
cream are three chemical solutions used to burn warts from
the skin. Liquid nitrogen or lasers are sometimes used, as
well as electrodessication. A six-month check-up is
necessary to confirm that all the warts were destroyed, and
even then a small percentage of people may experience a
recurrence of warts within 18 months.
- Full Name:
- Herpes Simplex Virus I and Herpes Simplex Virus II. HSV-I
is most often associated with cold sores or fever blisters
about the mouth and lips, while HSV-II is associated with
sores around the genital area. There is some crossover,
however, and each virus will survive quite comfortably in
- Herpes is marked by clusters of small, painful blisters on
the genitals. After a few days, the blisters burst, leaving
small ulcers. In men, the blisters usually appear on the
penis, but can appear in the urethra or rectum. In women,
they usually appear on the labia, but can appear on the
cervix and anal area. First outbreaks are accompanied by
fever, headache, and muscle soreness for two or more
consecutive days in 39% of men and 68% of women. Other
relatively common symptoms include painful urination
discharge from the urethra or vagina, and tender, swollen
lymph nodes in the groin. These symptoms tend to disappear
within two weeks. Aseptic meningitis occurs in 8 percent of
cases, eye infections in 1% of cases, and infection of the
cervix in 88% of infected women. Skin lesions last on
average 16.5 days in men, 19.7 in women. Secondary symptoms
are most prominent in the first four days and then gradually
- None in 10% of cases. Frequency for the remaining
population is from once a month to once every few years. The
majority of sufferers do not have repeat attacks after a few
years. Most repeat attacks are less severe than the initial
- Generally by sexual contact. Direct contact with infected
genitals can cause transmission via intercourse, rubbing
genitals together, oral genital contact, anal sex, or
oral/anal contact. In addition, normally protected areas of
skin can become infected if there is a cut, rash, sore.
Herpes viruses can be spread in some instances by kissing,
if one participant has the infection sited in or near the
- There is no medical cure for herpes. Treatment with
acyclovir reduces pain and viral reproduction during
outbreaks of sores, although it will not delay or prevent
- Full name:
- Phthirus pubis, the pubic louse or crab louse.
- Pubic lice are tiny insects that infest pubic
hair. They somewhat resemble tiny crabs, hence their common name.
The most common symptom is intense itching, usually
felt mostly at night. Some victims have no symptoms, others
may develop an allergic rash.
- Nominally through sexual contact, however they may be picked
up through use of sheets, towels or clothing used by an
- Various shampoos and lotions exist to kill lice; another
solution is simply to shave off the pubic hair and
shower vigorously afterwards. All bedding should also be disinfected.
- Caused by:
- Chlamydia trachomatous, T. mycoplasma, Ureaplasma
urealyticum, Mycolasma hominis. An estimated one-quarter of
cases are not caused by infectious agents, but are
allergic reactions to latex or spermicide.
- Similar to gonorrhea but usually milder. Urethral discharge
is generally thin and clear. Planned Parenthood estimates
that half of the women with one of these diseases doesn't
know it. NSU/NGU in women can lead to pelvic inflammatory
disease (PID) and sterility.
- In cases involving a pathogen, sexual intercourse, as well
as hands with semen or vaginal secretions on them infecting
- Penicillin is generally not effective against NGU/NSU-
causing organisms. Tetracycilne is generally prescribed;
sulfa drugs are effective against chlamydia but not the
- Caused by:
- Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)
- About half of those who get hepatitis B will suffer from an
inflammation of the liver, called acute hepatitis. Many
people with hepatitis B mistake the symptoms for other
illnesses, such as the flu, while others are more seriously
affected and may miss school or work for months. Other
common symptoms include skin rashes and arthritis, nausea,
vomiting, loss of appetite, malaise, abdominal pain, and
jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin).
- Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with the bodily
fluids of an infected person, and that includes sexual
contact. It is a considered a highly infectious disease and
should be taken seriously.
- There is no cure for hepatitis B. There is a vaccine,
however, that is very effective. It is also expensive.
Consult your physician. A small percentage of people who
acquire hepatitis B will carry the virus in their
bloodstreams for the rest of their lives as carriers.
- Caused by:
- Trichomonas vaginalis, a flagellated protozoan.
- Similar to gonorrhea but usually milder. Symptoms in women include
itching, burning, vaginal or vulval redness, unusual vaginal discharge,
frequent and/or painful urination, discomfort during intercourse,
and, in severe cases, abdominal pain. Symptoms in men include
unusual penile discharge, painful urination, and uncanny tingling
sensation inside the penis.
- Trichomoniasis is transmitted by penis-in-vagina intercourse
or vulva-to-vulva contact with an infected partner. Women can contract
the disease from infected men or women, but men usually get it only
from infected women. The protozoan can survive for a time on sheets and towels,
and an infection can possibly be transmitted by sharing those objects.
- The antibiotic metronidazole is generally used to treat trichomonas infection.
Elf Sternberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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THE VULVA, CLITORIS, AND VAGINA |
FIRST TIME SEX |
GREAT TIME SEX |
ORAL SEX FOR MEN (FELLATIO) |
ORAL SEX FOR WOMEN (CUNNILINGUS) |
ANAL SEX AND ANALINGUS |
SEX TOYS |
CONTRACEPTION (BIRTH CONTROL) |
SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES |
LEGALITY (SODOMY LAWS, AGE OF CONSENT) |