The three most commonly reported sexually transmitted infections in the United States are human papillomavirus, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. This article will provide basic information regarding who is at risk, what symptoms are possible, and what treatments are most commonly recommended.
1. The Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Both men and women are at risk of contracting HPV. According to Planned Parenthood, HPV is sometimes harmless and can resolve on its own. However, some types can result in cancers or genital warts. It’s important to be aware of your status and resolve HPV as soon as possible for this reason. In cases of high risk HPV (the type that can cause cancer) there is only one way to detect the virus. This is through a pap smear test, and therefore only applies to women. Low risk HPV can be diagnosed through the presence of genital warts. There is no treatment for high risk HPV, but according to Planned Parenthood, there are vaccinations that can prevent high risk HPV as well as the type that causes genital warts.
Chlamydia is among one of the most commonly contracted STI’s in the United States and effects both men and women. According to Planned Parenthood, most individuals who contract Chlamydia experience no symptoms. This is why routine STI screenings are so important! This being said, some individuals do experience symptoms and those include: pain or burning while urinating, pain during sex, lower belly pain, abnormal vaginal discharge, bleeding between periods, and swollen or tender testicles. Chlamydia is among one of the most simple STIs to treat, which is good news for those who may have contracted it. In most cases those with Chlamydia need only a simple doctors visit and a treatment of antibiotics to resolve the infection.
Gonorrhea is second only to Chlamydia in terms of presence in the United States. It effects both men and women and especially those between the ages of 14 and 29. This makes it especially important for college students to be aware of. Much like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea is often asymptomatic in most individuals who have contracted it. If symptoms are present they can include: pain or burning when urinating, bleeding between periods, abnormal vaginal discharge, penile discharge, and pain or swelling in testicles. Again like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea is most often simply taken care of with a treatment of antibiotics to resolve the infection.
Many STIs can cause long term or permanent health issues if they go untreated. For this reason it is so important to be aware of what you are at risk for and what symptoms to pay attention to. STI testing is offered on campus at the Wayne State University Campus Health Center as well as treatment for some STIs.