Detecting STD

Sometimes a STD will produce warning symptoms such as discharge from the vagina, penis or anus, or there may be irritation or soreness in these areas. A sore lump or rash may develop on the genitals, around the anus or in the mouth. But some men and most women with a STD have no symptoms at all.

If you hear that a sex partner has recently had one of these diseases, or if you have had sexual intercourse with someone you know to be promiscuous, or with more than one partner within a short time, it is vital to consult a doctor or go direct to the STD clinic at vour local hospital so that the necessary examination and tests can be carried out. If you do have one of these infections, it can then be treated and cured before it can do any damage.

The address of your local STD clinic can be found by looking in the telephone directory under’venereal disease’ or’VD’, by asking at the casualty department of any hospital, or by ringing the Citizen’s Advice Bureau in your area.

In Britain today, most STD are treated in hospital clinics which are staffed by doctors and nurses with special training and experience in the subject. The necessary examinations and laboratory tests are done as quickly as possible, and any treatment required is given immediately.

Nongonococcal (or non-specific) urethritis

This is referred to as’nongonococcal’ to distinguish it from gonorrhoea. It is also known as ‘non-specific urethritis’, and is the most common STD in Britain and many other countries. It is caused by several different bacteria, including responsible for nearly half of all NGU infections, and believed to cause all the serious complications arising from them.

When diey occur, NGU symptoms in men are similar to those of gonorrhoea -discomfort in passing urine and a discharge from the penis – but they are usually less severe. They appear, if at all, one to two weeks after contact with the infection. Some men with NGU are un- aware that anything is wrong, and women with a NGU infection rarely have symptoms.

Doctors diagnose nongonococcal urethritis in men in much the same way as they diagnose gonorrhoea – by examining a specimen of any discharge from the urethra under a microscope. Other laboratory tests are also used to confirm the diagnosis. The lack of symptoms makes it difficult for a woman to realize when she is infected with NGU, but it can be diagnosed by special tests.

NGU needs thorough treatment with a ‘-’one- to two-week course of or some similar antibiotic. Penicillin and the other single-dose antibiotics prescribed for gonorrhoea won’t cure NGU. Both men with NGU and women who have had intercourse with them are treated with the same antibiotic to stop toand-fro infection, and to prevent complications.

Follow-up tests to determine whether the disease has been cured are very important, and every effort should be made to find and treat any sexual contacts of patients with NGU. It is sensible for patients to avoid sexual activity of any kind until they are completely cured of the illness. It is also important to avoid alcohol for two weeks after the start of treatment as taking alcohol can cause the infection to recur.

Complications resulting from NGU

As with gonorrhoea, epididymitis in men and salpingitis in women are the most serious complications that can occur as a result of NGU. Babies born to women infected with often develop an eye infection called and they may also get chest infections.

Some men get NGU many times, some-times even without a change of sex partner. The reasons for this are not clearly under-stood, but fortunately complicauons seem to be unusual in men with recurrent NGU. However, they may infect or reinfect a partner, who should have a proper examination and treatment without delay to prevent complicauons developing.