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Chapter 4: Responsibility and Prevention Part II: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Updated on November 25, 2016

I have temporarily truncated this article because I have enrolled the ebook versions of Wage Peace Between the Sexes in KDP Select, and therefore cannot have it in another format.

To read Chapter 3, Responsibility and Prevention Part I: Avoiding Pitfalls, please visit this link:

Human Immunodeficency Virus_-_Stylized Rendering
Human Immunodeficency Virus_-_Stylized Rendering | Source

Ask Pointed Questions:

Identify which of these statements are myths, and which ones are true.

  1. Proper condom use prevents transmission of all sexually transmitted diseases.

  2. A person with no obvious herpes sores can’t transmit the virus to his or her partner.

  3. Only homosexuals have to worry about HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

  4. Guys don’t have to worry if they get HPV (genital warts), since it causes cancer only in girls.

  5. Sexually transmitted diseases nearly always have symptoms, so you know if you’ve contracted one.

    Answers: All are myths.

Though having a good sex life produces many benefits, it does

have a negative side. Over 20 diseases are spread this way, some of which are incurable, and may even result in death. The couple could also be saddled with babies they may be ill-prepared to care for. It is these reasons sex has acquired a negative reputation, since it is only within the past century that cures and prevention became known. Before these discoveries, abstinence was the only real way to avoid problems.

In this and the next chapter, I will address both concerns. It’s a good thing we live in an age when the vast majority of issues can be dealt with, and even avoided!

Sexually transmitted diseases are also referred to as STDs, STIs (infection), and the old fashioned term venereal diseases (named after Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love). They are mainly spread through penis / vagina, oral, and anal intercourse; some can also be contracted other ways. I will list here the most common diseases in order of occurrence, along with photos of what the bacteria / virus looks like (I am also adding links to several, in case you want to look at gross pictures of symptoms). I have included the chances of getting infected in the form of how many sex partners one has, but bear in mind you can only catch an illness from someone who has it; this means you could have thousands of partners and never get one, or you may become afflicted with an extremely rare condition from your very first encounter.


Disease: Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Symptoms: CMV is related to herpes. In most people, there are no symptoms. On rare occasions, one may suffer fever, sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes, appetite loss, fatigue, and achy muscles. In someone whose immune system is suppressed, the virus can attack various organs throughout the body, causing diarrhea, pneumonia, hepatitis, vision loss, even seizures and coma. Most babies born with CMV exhibit no symptoms; however, 20% may experience jaundice, low birth weight, skin rash, pneumonia, enlarged liver / spleen, and seizures.

Other Ways Contracted: Virtually anyone can contract CMV. It is spread through contact with blood, semen, vaginal secretions, breast milk, saliva, and urine. This means kissing, blood transfusions, organ transplants, and sharing needles can spread it, as well as breastfeeding. Most babies born to infected mothers don’t have the virus; out of those who do, only 1 – 2% will develop problems as a result.

Chances of Contracting: 1 – 2 partners.

Treatment / Cure Rate: There is no cure. People who suffer from resulting diseases, or are at risk, such as recent transplant patients, are placed on an antiviral regimen. Fortunately, most people with CMV need no treatment.


Disease: Herpes

Visual Links: genitalis#/media/File:SOA-Herpes-genitalis-female.jpg

Painful blisters near the mouth or in genital area. The person can spread it by touching the sores and then the eyes or other areas with mucous membrane without washing hands.

Other Ways Contracted:
Herpes is spread through sex and French kissing. Less commonly, it can be contracted through sharing eating utensils and drinking glasses. (Other forms of herpes, such as Chicken Pox and Shingles, are contracted through ways other than sex.)

Chances of Contracting:
5 partners.

Treatment / Cure Rate:
There is no cure, but medications can reduce symptoms and likelihood of passing it on. If a woman has an outbreak while giving birth, she will need to have a C-section to avoid infecting her baby.


Disease: Chlamydia

Visual Links: infections#/media/File:SOA-Chlamydia-trachomatis-female.jpg

Unusual discharge from the vagina, penis, or rectum; burning pain when urinating; rectal pain and bleeding; painful swelling of testicles. Often there are no symptoms, but the disease still causes damage, so sexually active people should get tested regularly.

Other Ways Contracted:
It is spread only through sex.

Chances of Contracting: 37 partners.

Treatment / Cure Rate: It is easily cured through antibiotics. Be careful to take them as the doctor orders, and wait 1 week after the last dose to resume sex. Untreated, it can lead to infertility and ectopic pregnancy in women, and a constricted / blocked urethra in men.


Disease: HPV (human papillomavirus, aka genital warts)

Visual Links: warts#/media/File:SOA-Condylomata-acuminata-female.jpg

Over 120 types exist; 15 are known to be carcinogenic. Symptoms are cauliflower like warts in the throat and genital area. Most of the time, there are no symptoms, and most people who have it are unaware. It can be passed with by people with no symptoms.

Other Ways Contracted:
It is spread only through sex.

Chances of Contracting:
50 partners.

Treatment / Cure Rate:
Most cases go away with no treatment; the ones that don’t may go on to cancers of the cervix, vulva, penis, anus, and throat. Vaccines exist for the most virulent strains; 6, 11, 16, and 18. They are administered in 3 doses over the course of 6 months, and should be received before people become sexually active.


Disease: Hepatitis

Visual Link: media/File:Jaundice_eye.jpg

This is a liver disease. Though there are several strains (from A to G), A, B, and C are the most common forms that are sexually transmitted. Symptoms are fatigue, fever, appetite loss, achy muscles and joints, nausea / vomiting, and jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes). Often there are no symptoms; most people who have it are unaware of their condition.

Other Ways Contracted:
Since Hepatitis is a virus spread mainly through blood, it can also be contracted by sharing needles, toothbrushes and razors, blood transfusions, non-hygienic body piercings / tattoos, and unsanitary health care practices. Hepatitis A can come from food and water contaminated by raw sewage, and contact with feces of an infected person. Hepatitis B can come from other bodily fluids besides blood, such as semen and vaginal fluids.

Chances of Contracting:
100 partners.

Treatment / Cure Rate:
A and B can be prevented through vaccines; Hepatitis C can’t. Treatments for Hepatitis C continue to advance; starting treatment early has led to an 80% cure rate, but the costs run tens of thousands of dollars. Ultimately, Hepatitis C can lead to liver cancer and death. Hepatitis A usually heals on its own; Hepatitis B may do so, but can also become chronic, in which case it could lead to liver cancer and / or cirrhosis of the liver.


Disease: Gonorrhea

Visual Links:

Painful burning urination; yellow, green or white discharge from the penis or vagina; bleeding between periods; swollen painful testicles; anal discharge, itching, soreness and bleeding; pain when moving bowels. Often, gonorrhea has no symptoms at all.

Other Ways Contracted:
It is spread only through sex.

Chances of Contracting:
141 partners.

Treatment / Cure Rate:
Completely curable, but it is very important to take all your medication as the doctor prescribes, since drug-resistant strains exist. Untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility in women, and blocked urethra and infertility in men. In both genders, it can spread to the joints and the bloodstream, in which case it can cause death.


Disease: HIV /AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus / acquired immune deficiency syndrome)

Visual Link: AIDS_072_lores.jpg

Often there is no initial evidence of infection. About a month after exposure, some people experience flulike symptoms. They go away and the patient enters the latency stage, in which he or she remains symptom free as long as 10 years, but the destruction of the immune system continues, during which the person can spread the virus. The disease then progresses to AIDS, in which the patient experiences strange cancers, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and a variety of neurological disorders.

Other Ways Contracted:
It is spread through sex, but any exchange of the bodily fluids blood, semen, breast milk and vaginal secretions can pass on the virus. This includes sharing needles and rinse water from injected drug use, and – rarely – from blood transfusions, tissue transplants, and pre-chewed food from an infected person. A pregnant woman may pass the virus to her unborn baby; taking antiretroviral meds, having a C-section and avoiding breastfeeding reduces this risk.

Chances of Contracting:
300 partners.

Treatment / Cure Rate: While there is currently no vaccine or cure, great advances have been made regarding treatments. People in high risk groups for exposure can take a medication called PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), which prevents the virus from taking hold in the body. Those who have already been exposed can take PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) up to 72 hours after exposure, greatly reducing the chance of HIV developing into AIDS. People who already have AIDS can maintain their immune systems by taking medications as the doctor prescribes, and practicing healthy living habits.

Wage Peace Between The Sexes (Spice Version): A Guide to Healthy and Wholesome Sensual Relationships for Youth
Wage Peace Between The Sexes (Spice Version): A Guide to Healthy and Wholesome Sensual Relationships for Youth

Wage Peace Between the Sexes (Spice Version), available in paperback. This version includes an additional chapter on sex.


The incidence of these diseases can be reduced with condoms. It is important to use them correctly, to minimize their failure rate. Also realize that some diseases, such as herpes and HPV, have viruses so small they can pass through condom pores. Ultimately the best prevention is knowing your partner well and staying monogamous.

The Real Deal:

1. A common belief is that religion and various authority figures suppress sexuality. Make a list of ways they do this, then write the reasons why they may or may not have a point with these restrictions.

2. A person diagnosed with an STD is told to inform all partners, so they can be tested and treated. Though this can be awkward and embarrassing, it is necessary. Syphilis was a common STD 40 years ago; today, it has been nearly eradicated. Discuss ways someone can explain to a partner they have an STD, especially if it’s an incurable one like herpes or HBV. Hint; they can tell their partner what they’re doing to control outbreaks, and how they plan to avoid passing it on.

© 2015 Ana Kolomeka


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    • Ana Kolomeka profile imageAUTHOR

      Ana Kolomeka 

      3 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Reynold Jay - that's why I didn't include gross pictures; those who want to view those can click on the links. This is the Sugar Version of my book. The Spice Version includes the gross pictures.

      Yes, this information is scary, but far worse is for people to contract a disease and have their lives ruined when simple knowledge of prevention / cures would have helped them avoid it.

      Mahalo for the compliments! Ana Kolomeka is my pen name; my real name is Yoleen Lucas, and I have another HubPages site called "Say Yes To Life".

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 

      3 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      I admit !!!! I did not read this. I will keep it mind for others and refer to it if ever needed. I doubt it though. I simply will drop by on occasion. I do see you are Hawaiian and I have HAO, an artist associate who is a charmer and I see her photos and art that she posts online at Fine Art America. I wish you lots of luck here at Hubs. It is apparent you are a good writer and put a lot of work into these HUBS. Well done.

    • Ana Kolomeka profile imageAUTHOR

      Ana Kolomeka 

      4 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Thanks, Larry Rankin. Ultimately, the best defense is knowledge.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very informative overview on STDs.


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