Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that pass from one person to another through sexual contact. They are also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or venereal diseases (VD).
Some STDs can spread through the use of unsterilized drug needles, from mother to infant during childbirth or breast-feeding, and blood transfusions.
The genital areas are generally moist and warm environments, ideal for the growth of yeasts, viruses, and bacteria.
Individuals may spread microorganisms that occupy the skin or mucous membranes of the genitals. Infectious organisms can also move between individuals in semen, vaginal secretions, or blood during sexual intercourse.
Individuals pass on STDs more easily when they are not using contraceptive devices, such as condoms, dams, and sanitizing sex toys.
Some infections can transmit through sexual contact but are not classed as STDs. Of example, meningitis can be passed on during sexual contact, but people can develop a meningitis infection for other reasons. It is therefore not classed as an STD.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that more than 1 million new STDs are acquired worldwide each day.
The following paragraphs describe the most popular STD’s.
Chlamydia is an STD caused by trachomatia chlamydia (C. trachomatis). This bacterium infects only humans. Chlamydia is the most common cause of infectious genital and eye diseases worldwide. The most popular bacterial STD is also this.
In 2015, almost 3 per cent of girls aged 15 to 19 had chlamydia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
People with chlamydia usually experience no symptoms. Typically, most symptoms are unspecific, and may include:
- bladder infection
- a change in vaginal discharge
- mild lower abdominal pain
If a person is not treated for chlamydia, the symptoms may be as follows:
- pelvic pain
- painful sexual intercourse, either intermittently or every time
- bleeding between periods
Chancroid is also known as chancre soft and molle ulcus. It is a bacterial infection caused by the so called Haemophilus ducreyi streptobacillus. The infection triggers painful genital sores, and is transmitted only through sexual contact.
In developing nations, this infection is more common especially among commercial sex workers and some lower socioeconomic groups. This is due to the lack of access to health care, the stigma attached to seeking help, a lack of adequate sexual health awareness and other factors.
In the United States only 11 cases of chancroid were reported in 2015. Chancroid increases the risk of contracting HIV, and the risk of contracting chancroid decreases with HIV.
The patient develops a bump within 1 day to 2 weeks of acquiring the infection which transforms into an ulcer within one day. The ulcer will stretch anywhere 1/8 of an inch and 2 inches wide. It will be very painful and may have well-defined boundaries broken, and at its base a yellowish-gray content.
If the ulcer’s base is grazed it normally bleeds. The lymph nodes enlarge in some cases, and become painful.
Females often have at least four ulcers while men usually only have one. Males tend to experience fewer and fewer serious symptoms. The ulcers typically appear in uncircumcised males or, in females, on the labia minora or fourchette at the groove at the back of the glans penis.
Chancroid is treated with a single oral dose of azithromycin, a 7 day course of erythromycin, or a single dose of ceftriaxone.
Crabs, or pubic lice
Pubic manifestations of the lice are transmitted mainly by sexual contact. Pets play no part in human lice transmission.
The lice sticks to the pubic hair, and can sometimes be found in the knives, moustache, beard, eyelashes, and eyebrows. They’re fed on human blood.
The common word “crabs” originates from the lice’s crab-like appearance
The herpes simplex virus (HSV), causes this STD. The virus affects the body’s skin, cervix, genitals, and certain other parts. There are two versions of these:
- HSV-1, also known as herpes type 1
- HSV-2, also known as herpes type 2
Herpes describes a chronic condition. A significant number of herpes sufferers never show symptoms and do not know their herpes status.
HSV is easily transmissible by direct contact between humans and humans. Type 2 HSV transmission most commonly occurs via vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Type 1 is transmitted more commonly through shared straws, utensils, and surfaces.
After entering the human body, the virus mostly remains dormant and shows no symptoms.
The symptoms associated with genital herpes may include: blisters and cervical ulceration.
- vaginal discharge
- pain on urinating
- generally feeling unwell
- cold sores around the mouth in type 1 HSV
Red blisters can also occur on outside genital area, rectum, knees, and buttocks. These can be painful, especially when they burst out and cause ulcers.
The hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes this STD.
It is transmitted with infected semen, blood, and other body fluids. The HBV is transmitted in the following manner:
- unprotected sex
- using an unsterilized syringe
- being accidentally pricked by a sharp object
- drinking infected breast milk
- being bitten by a person with hepatitis B
The liver swells, and as a result of HBV, an person may suffer serious liver damage. This can eventually lead to cancer and sometimes the disease can become chronic. Blood donation centers also check to ensure donors do not have hepatitis B.
Trichomoniasis is a common STD capable of affecting both sexes. But women are more likely to have signs. A single-celled protozoan worm, Trichomonas vaginalis, is responsible for the infection.
The vagina is the most common source of infection for women, while it is the urethra for men. Transmission can occur either through sexual intercourse or through contact with the vulva.
While women can get the infection from male or female sexual partners, men almost always get infected by having sex with women.
Trichomoniasis symptoms include:
- vaginal odor
- vaginal discharge
- pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
- pain when urinating
A woman with trichomoniasis has a greater chance of acquiring HIV if exposed to the virus. A woman with trichomoniasis and HIV also has a greater chance of transmitting HIV virus to other sexual partners.
HIV and AIDS
The HIV virus destroys the immune system, leaving the host much more susceptible to infections and diseases. If the virus is left untreated, then the resistance to infection can deteriorate.
HIV can be found in semen, blood, breast milk, rectal and vaginal fluids. HIV can be spread by blood-to-blood contact, sexual contact, breastfeeding, childbirth, sharing of injection drug supplies, such as needles and syringes, and, in rare cases, blood transfusion.
The amount of the infection present inside the body can be reduced to an undetectable level with treatment. This means the amount of HIV virus within the blood is so small this blood tests can not detect it. It also means HIV can not be passed on to others. A person with undetectable HIV must continue to treat them as usual because the virus is being treated and not cured.
If HIV progresses untreated and reaches stage 3, known as AIDS, it can be fatal. Modern medicine, however, means that HIV does not need to reduce the life expectancy.
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Human papillomavirus is a name for a group of viruses affecting the skin and mucous membranes, such as the throat, cervix, anus and mouth.
There are more than 100 types of HPV, around 40 of which can affect the genital areas. These types can transmit to the mouth and throat, too.
This can lead to HPV infection:
- abnormal cell growth and alteration within the cervix, significantly increasing the risk of cervical cancer
- genital warts
Most HPV-patients have no symptoms and are not aware of them. HPV is so common in the United States that nearly every sexually active male and female transmits the virus throughout their lifetime.
HPV is transmitted most commonly through vaginal or anal sex, oral sex and genital to genital contact. Individuals with HPV but no signs and symptoms can still infect others.
A pregnant woman with HPV may be able to transmit the virus to her baby during childbirth, although that is very rare.
Vaccination is the most effective way of preventing HPV.
Molluscum contagiosum is a contagious, viral skin infection.
There are four types:
- MCV-1, the most common type
- MCV-2, the most commonly sexually transmitted type
When the virus infects young children, it is not considered an STD.
Symptoms involve tiny, circular bumps on the skin, and indents. The bumps usually go away if left untreated but this can take up to 2 years. A doctor will dissolve or freeze the bumps with chemicals, or electric current. There are certain prescription medicines that will eventually get rid of growths.
Scabies is a infectious skin condition caused by a tiny mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. They burrow in and lay their eggs in the fur.
A person who has scabies develops a skin rash and has extreme itchiness. Persons with scabies are often unaware of their disease for several weeks after initial infection, suggesting rapid spread of scabies infestations.
The origin of scabies is unclear, although some suggest the condition is related to poor living conditions and a lack of personal hygiene. There is no scientific evidence of that, though.
Scabies is most commonly transmitted through direct contact with the body, such as prolonged holding of hands or sexual intercourse. Hugging or just shaking hands with someone who has scabies is unlikely to result in transmission.
The mite scabies are not allowed to jump or move. However after leaving the human body, it can live for 1 to 2 days. That means sharing clothes or bedding with an person who has scabies increases the risk of infection.
However the most common route of transmission is prolonged physical contact, as is likely to occur during sexual intercourse.
Scabies symptoms may not appear for several weeks following initial transmission, and may include:
- A skin rash: The scabies mite leaves small red spots, known as burrow marks. They look like tiny insect bites, and some people may think it is eczema. Burrow marks typically appear as a small line of at least four tiny spots and appear around the area of the elbows, wrists, and in between the toes and fingers. Women experience this rash around the nipples and men near the genitals.
- Intense itching: This gets worse at night or after taking a hot shower.
- Sores: After scratching the rash, the area can become inflamed, and crusty sores may develop.
The rash may appear less commonly on the buttocks, ankles, armpits, genitals, groin, scalp, neck, face, head, shoulders, waist, feet soles, lower legs, and knees.
The syphilis is a product of a bacterium called Treponema pallidum. It is spread by sexual contact, and there will be a syphilitic lesion in the person who passes the infection. A woman who is pregnant and who also has syphilis can pass this STD on to her infant, which can lead to death or severe congenital deformities.
There is an incubation period of between 9 and 90 days after initial infection, with an average incubation period of 21 days before the symptoms of the disease arise. Each syphilis stage has signs and symptoms which are characteristic. Some individuals with syphilis have no symptoms while others may have milder presentations.
For some people with the condition, the bacterium is still in the body even if the symptoms disappear, and can cause serious health problems later.
This bacterial infection which is sexually transmitted normally targets the mucous membranes. Sometimes known as the Drip or the Clap.
The highly contagious bacterium resides in the cooler and more moister cavities of the body.
Most people with gonorrhea show no symptoms or signs. The females can develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) if left untreated. Males can develop prostate gland, urethra, or epidididymal inflammation.
Neisseria gonorrhoeae is responsible for the disease. The bacteria in the vagina, penis, mouth, rectum or eye may live. They may be transmitted during intercourse.
We risk spreading the bacteria to other parts of the body, as soon as a person contracts gonorrhea. An person can rub his or her eye accidentally and spread the infection. This prolongs the period of treatment. During childbirth, a pregnant woman may pass the infection on to the infant.
The disease is blamed for Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The bacteria can live in the vagina, penis, mouth, rectum, or eye. They may be transmitted during intercourse.
As soon as a person contracts gonorrhea we risk spreading the bacteria to other parts of the body. An person may accidentally rub his or her eye, and spread the infection. That is prolonging the care time. A pregnant woman may pass the infection on to her baby during childbirth.
Males may experience the following symptoms:
- burning during urination
- testicular pain or swelling
- a green, white, or yellow discharge from the penis
Females are less likely to show symptoms, but if they do, these may include:
- spotting after sexual intercourse
- swelling of the vulva, or vulvitis
- irregular bleeding between periods
- pink eye, or conjunctivitis
- pain in the pelvic area
- burning or pain during urination
A person with gonorrhea can experience anal itching, painful bowel movements, and sometimes discharge if the rectum is infected. When transmission is caused by oral sex, a burning sensation can occur in the throat and swollen glands.
The most natural way to prevent the spread of STDs is to use sex with a condom. Condoms are known as barrier contraceptives, as they provide microbes with a physical barrier.
Use a new latex preservative for each oral, vaginal, or anal sex act. The condoms are available for online purchase.
When using a latex condom avoid using an oil-based lubricant, such as petroleum jelly. Forms of contraception which are non-barrier, such as oral contraceptives or intrauterine devices, do nothing to protect people from sexually transmitted infections.
Here are more steps you can take to reduce an STD risk:
- Abstinence: Abstaining from any sexual act is the most effective way to avoid an STD.
- Monogamy to one uninfected partner: A long-term, monogamous relationship with one person who is not infected can reduce the risk of contracting an STD.
- Vaccinations: There are vaccinations that can protect an individual from eventually developing some types of cancer that are caused by HPV and hepatitis B.
- Check for infections: Before sexual intercourse with a new partner, check that the partner and yourself have no STDs.
- Drink alcohol in moderation: People who have consumed too much alcohol are more likely to engage in risky behavior. Avoid using recreational drugs, which may also affect judgment.
- Explain you want safe sex: Before engaging in any sexual act with a new partner, communicate that you would only consider safe sex.
- Education: Parents, schools, and society need to teach children about the importance of safe sex, and explain how to prevent becoming infected with an STD, including information relevant to the LGBTQ community.
Take a cautious approach to getting involved with someone else, and it could shield you from a range of health concerns that go further down the line.
Bacterial vaginosis: What to know
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is caused by an imbalance in the amount of good and bad bacteria in the vaginal area. It can cause irritation in the vaginal area, peculiar discharge, and a distinct odor, among other things.
Although the body may be able to remove BV on its own, the condition might increase the risk of additional health problems if left untreated. Because of this, and because the symptoms can be unpleasant, anyone experiencing BV symptoms should seek medical help.
This article discusses the symptoms of BV, as well as the causes, consequences, and home cures and therapies. It also looks at how to avoid BV and how to tell the difference between BV and a yeast infection.
The imbalance in the populations of helpful and dangerous bacteria that naturally exist in the vaginal canal causes BV.
Imbalance can occur for a variety of reasons, including:
- not using a barrier method, such as a condom, during sex
- being pregnant
- recently using antibiotics
- having sex with a new partner
- having sex with multiple partners
After sex with a new partner, BV is common. Although BV is not a STI, it can raise your chances of getting one.
The role of bacteria
Bacteria can be found in every part of the body, but only some of them are hazardous. When there are more hazardous bacteria than good bacteria in a given region, health issues can occur.
The majority of bacteria in the vaginal area are beneficial, whereas BV develops when the quantity of dangerous bacteria increases.
Lactobacilli bacteria should be present in the vaginal canal. Lactic acid is produced, making the vagina slightly acidic. This prevents the growth of potentially hazardous germs.
Lactobacilli deficiency might cause the vagina to become less acidic. Harmful bacteria can grow and thrive in the vaginal environment if it is not acidic enough.
Experts are still puzzled as to how these dangerous bacteria are linked to BV.
BV can affect everyone who has a vagina. These variables can enhance your chances of getting it:
- washing underwear with a strong detergent
- having sex with a new partner
- having multiple sex partners
- using certain feminine hygiene products, such as vaginal deodorants and douches
- using a perfumed bubble bath
- using some scented soaps
- bathing in water that contains antiseptic liquids
BV cannot be obtained from the following sources:
- swimming pools
- toilet seats
The most frequent vaginal condition in women of reproductive age is BV.
Approximately 50–75 percent of females with BV show no signs or symptoms. If this happens, it usually results in changes in vaginal discharge, such as an increase in volume. A burning or itchy sensation in the vaginal area is also possible.
Vaginal discharge in BV patients may include:
- a strong, unpleasant smell, often described as fishy
- a gray or white color
- a watery, thin consistency
A burning feeling during urination and itching around the exterior of the vagina may also occur, though this is less common.
Although BV is not hazardous in and of itself, it can increase the risk of various health problems.
Health issues in general
- sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as:
- HIV, as having BV increases a person’s susceptibility to the virus
- a postsurgical infection, for example after some types of abortion or a hysterectomy
Possible complications of BV during pregnancy include:
- early or preterm delivery
- loss of pregnancy
- the amniotic sac breaking open too early
- postpartum endometritis, which is irritation or inflammation of the lining of the uterus after delivery
- chorioamnionitis, which is inflammation of the membranes around the fetus
Chorioamnionitis increases the chances of a premature birth significantly. If the child survives, he or she is more likely to develop cerebral palsy.
BV may increase the chances of having trouble conceiving. It also raises the chance of health problems that can impact fertility.
Complications that may arise include:
- Unsuccessful in vitro fertilization (IVF): Any IVF therapies may be less likely to succeed if a person has BV.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease: This is an infection and inflammation of the upper female genital tract that can lead to serious consequences, such as infertility.
- Tubal factor infertility: Damage to the fallopian tubes, which connect the ovaries to the uterus, causes infertility.
BV can occasionally go away on its own. The symptoms, however, can be mistaken for those of other health problems including gonorrhea or trichomaniasis. Furthermore, untreated BV might cause difficulties, particularly during pregnancy.
As a result, obtaining a professional diagnosis is critical to ensuring that the treatment is effective.
In addition, BV may raise the risk of problems after a hysterectomy or some forms of abortion. Some clinicians urge that everyone who has these procedures has BV treatment, regardless of whether or not they have BV symptoms.
Male partners are rarely in need of treatment. BV, on the other hand, can be passed from a male to multiple female sexual partners.
We’ll look at several BV therapy options below.
Antibiotics are successful in up to 90% of instances with BV Trusted Source, although the condition usually returns after a few weeks.
A doctor may prescribe the antibiotics listed below to treat BV.
The most common antibiotic treatment for BV is metronidazole.
It’s available in the following formats:
- Gel: This gel is applied to the vaginal area once a day for five days.
- Single dose: Solosec (secnidazole) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 for the treatment of BV. This is the only oral BV therapy available in a single dose. A 2-gram (g) packet is sprinkled upon food.
- Oral tablets: For 7 days, people usually take these twice a day. Tablets are the most effective medication, according to doctors, especially if the person is breastfeeding or pregnant.
Metronidazole has a negative interaction with alcohol. This combination can make a person sick and cause nausea and vomiting.
Clindamycin is an antibiotic that can be used instead of penicillin. It might work if metronidazole doesn’t work or if the infection comes back.
Clindamycin cream is the first-line treatment that is applied to the vagina. This is done every night for seven days.
Instead, doctors may recommend clindamycin tablets, which must be taken twice a day for seven days, or clindamycin ovules, which must be inserted into the vaginal canal at bedtime for three days.
Due to the fact that clindamycin ovules and cream degrade latex, barrier contraceptive methods may be less effective during treatment.
These are some examples of these methods:
- cervical caps
- latex condoms
Xaciato, a novel clindamycin gel, was recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of BV in females aged 12 and up.
Tinidazole is an antibiotic that can be used to treat BV if metronidazole fails if the condition recurs.
A 2-g oral dose is taken once a day for two days. Alternatively, they can take a 1-g dosage once a day for five days.
To reduce the risk of gastrointestinal adverse effects, anyone taking this medication should avoid alcohol and take their doses with meals.
Treatment for recurring symptoms
Within 12 months of treatment, current treatments are linked to recurrence rates of more than 50% .
Doctors may prescribe a prolonged course of metronidazole for recurrent BV. If this doesn’t work, a metronidazole vaginal gel may be prescribed. This can be used every day for ten days or twice a week for three to six months.
While there is no universal agreement on the optimum technique, treating recurrent BV usually necessitates a longer treatment time.
Probiotics are one home cure that may aid in the treatment of BV. These are helpful bacteria that are alive. Some beneficial yeasts are also referred to as “probiotics.”
Multiple research have shown that probiotics can help cure and prevent BV, according to a 2021 review.
Certain probiotics can help restore the natural balance of bacteria in the vaginal canal by increasing the quantity of vaginal Lactobacilli.
Probiotics include the following:
- intravaginal L. fermentum RC-14
- intravaginal L. acidophilus
- intravaginal L. rhamnosus GR-1
- oral Lactobacillus acidophilus
Still, further research is needed to determine the most effective dosages, treatment durations, and administration routes.
Because untreated BV can lead to serious consequences, anyone experiencing symptoms should cause therapy from a healthcare expert. A person might also inquire about the benefits of taking a probiotic.
BV vs. yeast infection
Vaginal candidiasis is the medical term for a vaginal yeast infection.
BV is not the same as a yeast infection, which is caused by an overgrowth of the Candida fungus. BV, on the other hand, is a bacterial condition.
Both of these problems might cause comparable symptoms. A yeast infection can lead to the following symptoms:
- pain or discomfort when urinating
- pain or discomfort during sex
- vaginal itchiness or soreness
- abnormal vaginal discharge
BV causes watery, white or gray vaginal discharge with a fishy odor. A yeast infection usually causes in a thick, creamy, and odorless vaginal discharge. It might taste like cottage cheese.
Because a yeast infection is a fungal infection and BV is a bacterial infection, they need to be treated differently. As a result, getting a professional diagnosis is critical before addressing the symptoms.
From a person’s statement of symptoms and a physical examination, a healthcare expert may be able to diagnose BV.
They may obtain a small sample of vaginal discharge during the examination and send it off for analysis. The doctor may also check the vaginal pH balance to see how acidic it is.
A doctor may request diagnostic testing if a person is sexually active and suspects they have a STI. These may entail collecting sample cells from the vaginal wall using a swab or a small plastic loop.
Because the actual causes of BV are unknown, there is no surefire strategy to prevent it.
These strategies, on the other hand, can help minimize the risk of BV:
- not using scented soaps or vaginal deodorants
- washing underwear in gentle detergents
- using a barrier method of protection, such as a condom, during sex
- avoiding douching
- avoiding perfumed bubble baths
BV is a frequent condition caused by an imbalance in the amount of beneficial and dangerous bacteria in the vaginal area.
Experts aren’t sure whatcauses causing the problem. However, certain circumstances, such as the use of feminine hygiene products and having sex with a new partner or numerous partners, appear to raise the risk.
Untreated BV can raise the risk of STIs and cause severe difficulties, including pregnancy and fertility issues.
BV symptoms might sometimes be mistaken for those of other illnesses that require different treatments. As a result, anyone experiencing BV symptoms should seek medical advice before attempting any treatment or solution.
Scientists plot the gap between HIV patients and care
According to a new study published this week in the open-access journal PLOS Global Public Health by Diego Cuadros of the University of Cincinnati and colleagues, 7 million people living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa live more than 10 minutes away from health care services, and 1.5 million people living with HIV live more than 60 minutes away from a healthcare facility.
For decades, HIV/AIDS has been a prominent cause of morbidity and mortality in parts of Africa. Despite efforts to raise the proportion of people diagnosed with HIV who receive antiretroviral medication (ART), in 2019, between a quarter and half of all HIV patients in Africa did not receive ART, depending on the location. To improve these figures and fulfill global targets for HIV treatment rates, geographical barriers must be removed and access to health facilities must be improved.
Researchers looked at data on the number of people living with HIV in 47 African nations, population distribution within these countries, and healthcare facility locations in the new study. They were able to figure out how far HIV patients live from care, using either motorized transportation or walking alone, for every 5-kilometer square by integrating this data.
According to the map, 90.5 percent of the total geographical area assessed was more than 10 minutes away from the nearest healthcare facility, with 7 million people living with HIV (35 percent of HIV patients) in this area. 74.6 percent of the land area was more than 30 minutes away from healthcare (with 3 million people living with HIV accounting for 15.6 percent of patients), and 58.9% of the land area was more than 60 minutes away (containing 1.5 million people with HIV, 7.6 percent ). The figures varied per country, with only 1.6 percent of Swaziland’s population living within 60 minutes of healthcare, compared to more than 90 percent in Sudan and Mauritania. When walking time was used instead of motorized transportation time, the results were likewise different; 33.0 percent of HIV-positive people (or 6.6 million people) resided more than a 60-minute walk from the nearest healthcare center.
The findings and new map, according to the authors, can help establish cost-effective policies for HIV interventions in underprivileged areas. Alternatives to improved accessibility, such as varied service delivery or mobile outreach for HIV services, could be offered for places where people are far from healthcare facilities.
The authors continue: “Unequal access to healthcare facilities and structural inequality are just some of the systemic hurdles many communities face. This issue is deeper in regions suffering a generalized HIV epidemic like Africa, where more than 1.5 million people living with HIV are located in underserved rural communities”
Kim, H., et al. (2021) When distance matters: Mapping HIV health care underserved communities in sub-Saharan Africa. PLoS Global Public Health.
What happens to the tongue when you have HIV?
Infection of HIV is caused by a virus that targets the immune system, resulting in a wide range of symptoms. The virus has the potential to infect and damage every organ in the body, including the skin, as well as the neurological, respiratory, and digestive systems. It can also raise the likelihood of acquiring oral health problems in a person’s lifetime.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, those living with HIV are “at increased risk for oral health problems.” This is especially true for children. According to available evidence, around 30–80 percent of HIV-positive individuals develop oral problems as a result of their infection.
- Stage 1: Acute HIV infection
- Stage 2: Chronic HIV infection
- Stage 3: AIDS
During the acute stage, oral symptoms such as mouth ulcers are frequently experienced. As a result, they can serve as an early warning indication of HIV infection. When it comes to tracking the progression of HIV to AIDS, oral symptoms can be quite useful.
The oral symptoms of HIV can manifest themselves in a variety of ways on the tongue, each of which may necessitate a different treatment.
In this post, we will discuss the most common HIV symptoms that can manifest themselves on the tongue, as well as the many treatment choices available. We will also address methods to limit the risk of oral issues and explain why the virus cannot be communicated through kissing or other forms of physical contact.
The effects of HIV on the tongue
Because HIV affects a variety of oral health concerns, it might have an indirect effect on the tongue. These are some examples:
- hairy leukoplakia
Oral candidiasis, often known as thrush, is a fungal infection that can affect any part of the mouth, including the mouth. It manifests itself as rough patches that might be yellow, white, or red in colour and may induce a burning feeling in the affected area. People who have oral thrush may notice changes in their taste, as well as an increase in their sensitivity to spicy foods.
Depending on how severe the infection is, a doctor may give antifungal lozenges or mouthwash to treat it. If the infection is serious, they may recommend that you take antifungal medication.
Hairy leukoplakia is characterised by the development of a thick, white, hair-like area on the tongue. Despite the fact that it is not usually painful, the growth might be uncomfortable. Hairy leukoplakia patches can appear to be similar in appearance to oral thrush. However, it is not possible to shift hairy leukoplakia patches, but patches that develop as a result of oral thrush can be removed with a damp cloth.
If the symptoms of hairy leukoplakia are minimal, treatment may not be essential. If the symptoms are severe, a doctor may prescribe a prescription to help alleviate them temporarily.
Because HIV affects the immune system, those who have the virus are more prone than other people to develop oral herpes than others. Oral herpes infections are characterised by the development of red sores and blisters in and around the mouth. The sensation of tingling or burning is common with them, although they are not necessarily painful.
Oral herpes, in contrast to thrush and hairy leukoplakia, is contagious and can be spread from person to person by mouth-to-mouth contact — for example, kissing.
Although there is no cure for herpes at this time, a doctor can prescribe antiviral medicine to help lessen the frequency and severity of the disease’s oral symptoms.
Changes in hormone levels induce more pigmentation to accumulate in the tissues, resulting in the development of dark lesions in the mouth, which are known as oral hyperpigmentation. These lesions can be any colour, including blue, purple, brown, grey, and black.
The symptoms of oral hyperpigmentation are purely cosmetic, and there is little hope of a cure.
Oral warts develop as small bumps in the mouth. They can be pink, white, or grey in colour, and they can spread by kissing in some cases.
The treatment will be determined by the location where they grow. Warts on the lips can be treated with a cream, but warts on the inside of the mouth require surgery or cryosurgery, which is a freezing therapy, to be removed completely.
There are various methods that people can take to reduce their chances of developing HIV. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these are some examples:
- abstaining from sex
- using a barrier method, such as a condom, during all sexual activity
- avoiding sharing needles
- using HIV prevention medication, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), for those at increased risk
An HIV positive person can help prevent dental issues by following the recommendations of the American Dental Association. These recommendations include:
- attending regular dental appointments
- brushing the teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time
- flossing between the teeth
- taking HIV medication regularly
In addition to the oral issues listed above, a person living with HIV may suffer from chronic dry mouth as well. This can result in a variety of complications, including infection and tooth decay. A person can minimise the dryness of their mouth by doing the following:
- drinking water regularly
- avoiding salt
- avoiding alcohol
- refraining from smoking
- chewing or sucking on sugarless gum or sugarless hard candy
- using artificial saliva
Is it possible for HIV to spread through kissing?
Because HIV is not transmissible through saliva, it is exceedingly improbable that the infection will be transmitted by kissing. The possibility of transmission exists in the event that both partners have open sores in their mouths, as this may allow the blood of a person who has the infection to enter the bloodstream of the other partner.
Is it possible for HIV to be transmitted through oral sex?
Transmission of HIV through oral intercourse poses a low risk of transmission.
If the bodily fluids of a person with HIV were to reach the bloodstream of another person through an open wound in their mouth, it is possible that the other person might contract HIV. Transmission might also occur if a person with a detectable viral load ejaculated into the mouth of a sexual partner while infected with the virus.
For this reason, barrier protection such as condoms and dental dams should be used during sexual activity whenever possible.
Other issues involving the mouth
People living with HIV may develop a variety of additional illnesses that can cause mouth issues, such as:
- human papillomavirus
- canker sores
- gum disease
- Kaposi’s sarcoma
The reason for this is that HIV weakens the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight off infection when it is present.
HIV can induce a wide range of symptoms that might manifest themselves in any part of the body. The tongue might be affected by oral symptoms, which are common during the first stage of the virus’s life cycle. A person infected with HIV has a weakened immune response, making him or her particularly prone to new infections. Consequently, those living with HIV are more likely to develop other difficulties, such as illnesses such as oral herpes.
Through kissing, there is a very little chance that HIV will spread. Illness occurs when the virus is passed from one person to another by the bloodstream, breast milk, vaginal fluid, or sperm of a person who has the infection. The virus would therefore have to be present in the mouths of both partners in order for it to spread through kissing.