What is Herpes Zoster?

This is not true Herpes because the virus which is responsible for the infection is not a stain of HSV. The virus responsible is called Varicella zoster virus or VZV which causes Chickenpox. It’s popularly referred to as Shingles or Zona.

Herpes Zoster rash

The acute stage of infection by this virus is called chickenpox, but it has a chronic stage too. After the pox stage subsides, the virus goes into hibernation to erupt later at suitable time. The virus seeks refuse in the nerve cell bodies till the secondary eruptions take place. These eruptions are quite different than the pox stage and the symptoms are very different.

Why Shingles is named Herpes Zoster?

  • Both HSV and VZV share a common origin, subfamily Alphaherpesvirinae.
  • Both these viruses have similar eruptions, watery blisters in crops.
  • The eruption occurs on single side on skin supplied by one spinal nerve. When the blisters subside the area may experience nerve pains.
  • After the first infection, they stay latent and erupt again when the individual’s vitals go weak.
  • They both predominantly affect the nerves and travel through the nerves.

One can’t get infected with zoster by someone who has it. However, there’s a chance that a person with a shingles can give the virus to another who hasn’t had Chickenpox vaccine or Chickenpox.

Herpes Zoster symptoms

Symptoms of shingles come in stages. First symptoms to appear may be acute photophobia with mild headache. There may be flu like symptoms without marked fever.

After this stage one may feel itching, tingling, or pain in localized spots. Then rash may occur a few days later in a band or strip like area. Then the rash turns into crops of blisters. The blisters fill with watery fluid and a few days later they crust over. The blisters take 2 to 4 weeks to heal. It may leave scars. Some get only a mild rash, and some do not get any rash at all.

These symptoms accompany dizziness. It affects clarity of mind and it takes effort to focus one’s mind on mental works. This may come with blurry vision with heaviness of head. If you have any of these problems from Shingles, you must immediately consult your doctor.

Treatment for Shingles

Herpes Zoster has a vaccine which is considered the most effective way to handle this infection. This minimizes the chances of infection and post-herpetic neuralgia.  If you can prevent this infection it’s the best thing you can do to yourself.

The second best alternative is antiviral drug treatment, but the treatment needs at least a week to ten days to handle the rash and post-herpetic neuralgia if taken within 72 hours of appearance of the rash.

To heal the rashes and minimize pain you need to have good home care in addition to medication. You must keep the sores clean at all times and take care that the crust does not break too often. Take medicines regularly as directed by the doctor and take plenty of rest. If pain increases considerably, you can start a course of pain killers.

You can keep the following points in mind to minimize your chances of getting Shingles.

  • If you had chicken pox in the past you are prone to it.
  • People above 50 years of age may contact Shingles easily, so stay vaccinated.
  • If you have a weak immune system you are more chances of getting infected, so get the vaccine.
  • If you already contacted Shingles getting vaccinated reduces pain and further chances of infection in future.

This sickness is not as prevalent as other stains of herpes. The number of cases reported every year ranges from 1.2 to 3.4 cases per thousand. However, in people older than 65 years, the reported cases show an increasing trend, from 3.9 to 11.8 per thousand individuals per year.

 

 

Many people do not mind to put a lot of effort and time to get a “FREE Home STD Test Kit.” It takes a lot of time to find out the source online, to register a personal account, to book a kit, to receive the kit by post, collect the test sample, to post it back to the test lab, and to get the test result. At the end, most of them find the experience frustrating.

Is the experience same for all?

Certainly not! If the test result is negative, then well yes, you sure save some money. On the other hand, if the test is positive for any STD one has to get counseling and treatment from the same test lab. In this case the treatment is not free; it’s all a paid service. It is also very unlikely that the test lab, where you send your sample  is near to your home, so, when you need treatment for any of the STDs you have to either drive a very long distance or to seek treatment elsewhere. If you are to get treated in a different clinic for any of the STDs, then in most probability you have to undergo another STD test with them. In this case, you save no money but you lose time.

Where do you get free Home STD testing kits free?

Before we go any further, I want to give the details of the sites that provide a free kit. I urge you to go through the following details very carefully because these test kits are neither free for all nor do they have testing facility for all types of STD. In all sense they have very limited service open only to a very limited age group in the first site and to limited people, inhabitants of specific states, in the other site.

A site called freetest.me

This site is sponsored by National Health Service. As chlamydia is the most common STD, they provide testing only for chlamydia. If you’re between 16 and 24 years of age and testing is free in your area, then it can get a free test. At present this is a very limited service available only to a few. If you want to get tested for only chlamydia, then you can try out this site for a free chlamydia test. To stay safe, you are supposed to get annual chlamydia tests or whenever you change sexual partners. It’s not clear if they provide free regular tests or it’s a one-time test only.

The next site which provides free testing is IWTK which stands for I Want The Kit.

These kits are sponsored by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and there’re certain restrictions on who can get these tests for free. What type of kit do they provide? They provided testing only for 3 sexually transmitted infections i.e. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and Trichomoniasis. These 3 are considered to be the most common form of STD, so the restriction. Another reason for the limited service is that even if we get the kit for free, somebody has to pay for it. As their funding is limited at present, they are not able to provide testing for all types of STD as on date.

free home std testing kit

 They supply two types of kits. A STD test kit for men and another for women. These kits have only one difference. The first one comes with a sterilized cotton swab for collecting penile specimen and the second for collecting a vaginal sample. If you opt for a rectal swab you have to do it specifically in both the cases.

Is the kit free for all?

No.

They provide free tests to residents of Maryland, Washington DC, and Alaska only. If you do not stay in any of the states you better forget the free test. You can only order a kit for yourself. You can’t order a test kit for your sex partner(s). They have to create their own account to get their own test kit. If you aren’t aware of STD testing, then you should know that you need periodic testing, one year in case of Chlamydia or six months in case of HIV. I’m not sure if they provide as many test kits. You have to check that with them.

Is the treatment free?

No.

If you test positive it is your responsibility to contact the clinic. If you selected a clinic in Washington DC during registering with them you have to contact them for further treatment. You have to pay a fee to receive antibiotics for your treatment. Is your identity safe with them? May be, may be not. They need a yellow colored contact form with the kit. You must send the form duly filled with your swabs otherwise your samples are not going to be attended. This form needs your personal details, so you don’t know what happens to your data after you provide it to them. Most probably, they have to explain the expenses to the agency that provides them for the free kits, so they have to disclose the personal details of people who used the kits. You have to do your own research for this.

Is it a hoax?

NO.

It’s genuine. If you stay in any of the 3 states, you get a free kit. There are people who need it to get the initial motivation to start the STD testing process. These kits are sponsored by Johns Hopkins University, so never doubt them. There’re constraints, but they are doing a good job.

What you gain or lose by opting for the free Home STD test kit?

Gains:

  • You certainly get a genuine kit, and a free testing at a fine lab without moving an inch from your home.

Loss:

  • You lose some time in this process.
  • If you test positive you can only a consultation at the same clinic / lab where your samples were sent. It may be far off from your place, so it’s impractical to attend to your treatment or post- testing counseling. In such a case you have to get a paid testing, but you again lose precious time in the process.
  • You can’t get tested for all types of STD.

If you aren’t authorized for a free home STD test kit, then what should you do?

Get private STD testing with a nominal cost. If you prefer to go for a STD lab test  near your locality, click the link to register.

If you think an at home STD test kit is right for you check our instant STD test kit  page or over the counter HIV test kits. Lastly, STD counseling before and after a STD test makes the whole process a lot easier, so check the relevant details before you decide on anything.

 

 

The thought of getting tested for STD is scary especially when one needs to undergo some form of HIV test. Some of  the preconceived notions about STD, particularly HIV or AIDS is dead wrong, but people believe hear-say a lot. The  HIV condition is treatable if one seeks treatment in time.

STI STD Counseling session

So, it’s very important that you seek STI counseling before and STD counseling after undergoing a test. This is available at the hospital, labs or clinic where you will be tested. To get counseling from us click here.

Better counseling is going to give you a lot of confidence and insight into how and where to get a proper STD test and what are the financial implications of such a thing. In case you test positive, counseling can help your doctor  to determine how fast the disease is progressing. This information is required by any doctor to set a time frame to commence treatment. In case you test negative, you still need counseling. This can give you rare insight into how you and your spouse can reduce the risk of getting infected in the future.

Reasons for getting STI counseling

  • Mental preparation makes it easy on the first timers. There’s so much at stake in STD testing if you test positive, so it’s only natural for people to get anxious. A doctor at the counseling center and put you at ease with insightful guidance.
  • The testing procedure is complex. If you know about the procedure well in advance it makes easy on your part. You know exactly what to expect and what’s the purpose behind each test.
  • There are financial implications when you’ve to undergo such elaborate STD tests. With each test you undergo, you have to cough up hard earned dollars. A STD counselor is an expert in the field. He can guide you not to undergo some tests as there may be duplicate results. If you approach the issue all by yourself, in all probability, you will spend more money and time without gaining anything worthy in return.
  • You have to agree that STDs have social issues. An experienced counselor deals with such cases every day, so he can share cumulative experience of all such cases with you. In an instant you are opened to not only the range of problems but also the most likely solutions.

Well, now you have finished the testing phase. Say, if you test positive you need the all the guidance available, so you must seek the assistance of a good counselor. But, it you test negative for any STD or HIV in particular, then, you may think, perhaps you don’t need further counseling!

WRONG!!

Reasons for getting STD counseling

  • If you get good guidance about how to protect you and your family from HIV, then you can prevent this STI all together. You must learn how to reduce the risk of getting infected. This is applicable, of course, if you test negative.
  • If your result is positive, you must learn how to prevent spreading HIV to others. The people who are most likely to get infected immediately from you are your near and dear ones. In all probability you must protect them.
  • After you know that you have an infection there are going to be issues. There would be personal and professional issues as much as social and emotional issues. Additionally you have to address professional issues at work place.
  • Getting treatment is not going to be easy on your purse. A better guidance on how to handle financial issues is going to keep you afloat for a longer period.
  • That’s not all. All the medication and stress is going to tax your body more than the disease. You must know how to stay healthy in such a condition. If you lose health you will lose out quickly.

Testing positive for any STD is not a boon, but it’s not a curse either. When “one individual in every four infected with some sort of STD” nobody can stay safe for long. So, if you’re infected it may not be your fault altogether. Don’t blame yourself, because it’s not going to help. On the other hand prepare yourself. Get STD counseling. Don’t hold back anything from your doctor / counselor. Discuss your worst fears. He’s there to help.

Remember the last line; as long as you stay healthy you can defeat the infection. Never allow the HIV condition to progress towards AIDS.

 

People who don’t want to worry over doctors or needles often prefer a over the counter HIV test kit.

Is there an over the counter AIDS test?

Yes. You buy  a test kit from market  and conduct the HIV test at home. Some people call it Oraquick HIV testing.

over-the-counter-HIV-test-kit-from-Oraquick

This kit has gained credibility after a recent approval by the Food and Drug Administration as accurate and trustworthy. If you don’t like to wait for a week or two to know the answer then you should opt for this HIV kit.

People who merely suspect that they may have HIV use this kit. It’s better to get tested and have peace than keep worrying.

I know that people who develop sore or painful throat conditions, swelling lymphatic nodes, burning and smarting during urination grow suspicious. If this immediately follows a sexual contact, then they have all the reasons to think so. This is the time to use a kit.

Over the counter HIV test cost

It’s a bit pricey at present with $39.90 price tag at amazon.com, but it’s worth the price in many respects. The packaging is discreet and the instructions are easy. In a nutshell it includes everything you will ever need to conduct the test. At the time of disposal use the black pouch to seal off the waste.

You don’t need a blood sample for you HIV testing with this kit. All you need is an oral swab. Easy?  You can swipe your gums with the test swab which comes with the kit. Then insert it into the test tube with the test agent and wait for 20 minutes. The clock may seem to tick slowly, but you have no other go but wait. 🙂

This is not a fault with the product. The technology of testing we have as on date needs one to wait for these 20 minutes. You can try to finish up pending jobs in the mean time is stead of looking at the test tube. The consolation is one can get a very accurate result without visiting anywhere, say labs or clinics. A stress free HIV test from your own home without any drive or phone calls!

Over the counter HIV test accuracy

Oraquick HIV testing is very accurate. You can expect 99.99%. Even lab tests can be 100% accurate, so these kits can compete with them for accuracy. These kits use the same testing methods doctors use regularly and for years. If you use an Oraquick kit you’re safe.

Over the counter HIV test kits are legal and dependable and you can buy them from anywhere without a prescription. If you buy your stuff from Amazon store online, then perhaps that’s the best place to buy. Here is a link to the page:-

 

Buy Over the counter HIV test kit

 

 

When the Human Immunodeficiency Virus enters a fresh victim it immediately starts the process of incubation. This process takes 2 days to 2 weeks; in some cases as long as 3 months. This actually is a fast replication process for the virus.

Concept of HIV Testing

The virus uses the host cells as resources to multiply as fast as possible. The replication process is faster in healthier and younger people because they have a faster metabolism. When the viruses increase in number, they are detected by the immune system of  the body.

The host body then starts the process to fight out the virus. The immune system develops antibodies to counter the antigens produced by the virus. In case of HIV the antigen is a protein called p24. This is the time when the first symptoms of HIV become apparent.

During this time the host body plasma, serum, saliva, discharges from different orifices or urine contains the antigen, antibodies,  and the RNA of the virus. If any of the three is found we can be sure that the individual is infected with HIV.

All HIV testing methods are aimed at detecting any one of the following three agents.

  • HIV antigens
  • HIV antibodies
  • HIV RNA

To detect the agents in the test sample, it’s very important that they are present in sufficient quantity.

 

Types of HIV testing

  • HIV Antibody Test (ELISA)
  • HIV Antigen Test (p24 test)
  • PCR Test (Polymerase Chain Reaction Test)
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing (NAAT)

 

HIV Test Window Period

The window period for each of these tests are different. The window period is the minimum time gap between infection time and testing time when a test can detect the presence of  HIV accurately. While conducting a test, the window period has to be taken into consideration to avoid false negatives. If we don’t allow sufficient time to elapse after the infection, then no test can detect the presence of the RNA, antigens or the antibodies even if HIV is present in the system.

Window time for the NAAT is 12 days. Within these 12 days HIV can sufficiently multiply in number so as to show its presence in the test. As the test uses the detection of the Nucleic Acid from the virus RNA, HIV must be present in sufficient numbers to show up in the test result. This is the fastest means of finding out an infection by HIV.

The window period for a PCR test is same as the NAAT as it uses the genetic material detection of HIV. Babies born to HIV positive mothers retain their mother’s antibodies for several months after birth. An antibody test always test HIV positive, hence inaccurate.  So, they are usually tested using a PCR test.

Window time for Antigen Test (p24 test) is approximately 16 days. By this time HIV produces sufficient antigens (p24 proteins) to show up conclusively in a test.

Window period for an Antibody Test (ELISA) is 25 days. By this time the host body can produce the HIV antibodies in sufficient quantity to reflect in an antibody test.

WARNING: The window period doesn’t indicate the capacity to infect others. Anybody with HIV present inside the body is quite capable of infecting others in case of intimate contact or needle sharing.

An early detection is the only hope to prevent a HIV infection from turning into AIDS.  As per HIV statistics, 1 individual in every 5 infected with HIV is unaware of the infection. These 20% not only pose a risk of infecting others but also they are in a great risk as far as their own well being is concerned.

To find out about different types of HIV/STD testing packages click here.

Approximately 10 to 60% of people who are infected with HIV don’t show any symptoms. Absence of these symptoms doesn’t rule out a HIV infection. So don’t assume that you’re HIV negative just because you don’t have any of the following symptoms.

HIV symptoms don’t confirm an infection by the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus. The main reason for this is that most of the primary HIV symptoms are very similar to common complaints of flu or any other common microbe attack. If symptoms similar to that of an HIV infection develop just after a unprotected sexual encounter, most probably you have contacted HIV, but there’s no positive assurance that it’s so.

The only way you can help yourself by ensuring your safety against STDs or HIV is to go for STD testing as quickly as possible. That’s your best “STD Guard.”

Then why read this page of HIV symptoms?

Well, HIV infections just don’t happen. If you were critically exposed to conditions where you might have contacted the virus just before you develop these symptoms, then you know what exactly is causing them. Rush to a test lab.

Early symptoms of HIV

The incubation period is a few days to a couple of weeks. It’s the time period between the time of infection and the time of manifestation of first symptoms of HIV. In some cases it takes about 3 months, but such cases are very rare.

Two to four weeks from the date of infection, most of the cases which develop Symptoms of HIV have flu like acute illness. Forty to ninety percent of cases develop very similar conditions in their early HIV symptoms.

It’s a very marked state because this state is perhaps the worst flu ever in the life of the individual. This condition may have the following associate symptoms. These symptoms may appear independently or in combination.

early symptoms of HIV
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Swollen Lymph nodes with soreness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Prolonged diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Sores in mouth
  • Sores in genital
  • Fatigue
  • Malaise
  • Anxiety
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Night sweats
  • Abnormal weight loss

These symptoms may last a week or two but seldom more than 2 weeks.

What is the significance of the primary HIV symptoms?

People who get infected with HIV are most infectious during the period of incubation and primary manifestation. During this period the viral presence is intense in the blood plasma, semen and vaginal fluid/secretion. So they are most likely to infect the sexual partners or with those who share needles with them.

This is a critical stage where the infected person propagates the virus innocently to those whom he loves.

To do your part in preventing the spread of HIV you must do the following.

If you’re experiencing symptoms which you believe to be the early HIV symptoms, then check the history of your sexual partners. If you shared needles with somebody, it’s time to see a doctor. If you used injection drugs recently, may be it came from there. If you had protected/unprotected sex in the recent past, even once, even oral, even if with somebody who is HIV negative, it’s time to see a doctor.

When with the doctor never hesitate to disclose the risk factors you are exposed to. Let the doctor decide that for you.

Save your life

The only way to save yourself from the onslaught of AIDS is to seek prompt medical help when you experience early HIV symptoms. This is your only chance to prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS.

Save the life of your loved ones

You can prevent the spread of HIV to any other sexual partner(s) if you take action when the first symptoms of HIV show up. If tested positive, immediately notify your spouse or sexual partners. This is the only way to take steps to reduce the risk of spreading HIV to your loved ones.

Save others

It’s our collective responsibility to prevent/stop the spread of HIV. If you’re sexually very active or share needles, you should not wait for the primary symptoms to appear. Get tested immediately and there-after regularly to prevent the spread of HIV without your knowledge.

 

 

What is HIV?

HIV is an acronym which stands for “Human Immunodeficiency Virus.”

The seat of attack of this virus is the human immune system. The white blood corpuscles which are the main agents of protection for humans against diseases are the first target. The weakening of the immune system is abrupt, it’s gradual. It takes much time before the complete immune system breaks down.

There is a general misconception about HIV and AIDS. In most of the cases people use these terms interchangeably, but they are different from each other. HIV leads to AIDS.

AIDS is an acronym which stands for “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.” If an HIV infection is left untreated for long, most likely it lead to a state of lack of immunity against infectious diseases. The result is gradual weakening of general health, suffering and death. The emerging trend is that it’s believed now that HIV may be a very strong reason of CANCER.

The main cause for HIV leading to AIDS is lack of proper ascertaining system. Sometimes the victim is not aware of an infection till the serious symptoms set in. In other cases, it’s the false negatives in the test results. So, it’s of utmost importance that the HIV testing is done properly, with reliable agencies.

I don’t mean to say that free STD testing is bad, but they don’t come at par with “Private STD testing.”  Everybody’s business is nobody’s business.

So, when it comes to matters of serious health concerns, it’s your turn to be decisive. Don’t take risks with your health and life.  Money is less important than health, suffering, and life. Test for STDs immediately and do all the testing at once when you go for the first time STD testing.

Facts about HIV Virus

A small and non-technical description of HIV virus.

HIV Virus diagram

It comes from the family of “Retroviridae” and  genus of “Lentivirus.” The significance of lentiviruses is that they are responsible for most of the chronic diseases. The incubation period for these viruses is very long and they cause very long duration diseases.

It’s spherical in shape measuring 120 nm in dia. The HIV virus is quite smaller than a normal “Red blood corpuscles” but larger than other viruses.

It comes with a single-stranded enveloped RNA in the genome of the virus particle. After entering into the host cell, it changes to a double stranded DNA. The process makes it easy for the virus to flawlessly integrate into the host nucleus.

HIV 1 Virus:

After integration with the host cell the HIV 1 does not go into incubation. It goes into a process of replication.

The method it uses is called “Transcription” in terms of genetics. This is a method of gene expression or gene change where a part of  of DNA is copied into RNA by an enzyme of RNA. So, in case of HIV 1, new RNA genomes, viral proteins from the cell are now become virus particles. The replication cycle starts this way.

HIV 1 is considered the most infectious and is the major killer.

HIV 2 Virus:

It is less infectious and lacks much of the killer punch of HIV 1. The reason for this is it goes into a long incubation period in the host nuclei after changing over to the double stranded DNA and integrating with the host cell. Our immune system is not capable of detecting the presence of the HIV Virus after that. It is very poor in transmission so slow to spread.

Causes of HIV transmission

  • Unprotected sex with an infected person, vaginal, anal, oral or whatever
  • Sharing needles, syringes, other surgical instruments with an infected person
  • Tattooing, body piercing with unsafe, unsterilized puncture instruments
  • Blood transfusion with infected blood
  • Infected organ or bone marrow transplant
  • Infected mother to child during conception and delivery

HIV cannot possibly be transmitted through:

  • By casual Hugging, handshakes and Kissing
  • Sneezing and Coughing as the virus does not travel by air
  • From Spit or tear of an infected person
  • Sharing crockery, Cutlery, and Bed Linen
  • By sharing Toilets or Showers
  • Mosquitos’ bites

HIV statistics

  1. These statistics are ever changing and in a worsening trend. In US, the worst affected are the gay, bisexual, and other men who have  sex with men (MSM) by cdc. gov.
  2. In 2008, there were 26,700 new cases of HIV infection among MSM, but in 2012 it has increased to 29,800. It’s a significant increase, about 12%.
  3. In US, MSM represent about 4% of the total population, but they account for a staggering 78% of new HIV infections among men.
  4. 1 in every 5 infected with HIV is not aware of the infection.
  5. Every 9.5 minutes someone is getting infected with HIV.
  6. Among all ethnic groups, African Americans are the worst hit of all HIV cases in the U.S.
  7. As per Aids.gov heterosexual and injection drug users accounted for estimated 27% of new HIV infections in 2009.

 

 

 

 

Gonorrhea is very similar to Chlamydia in its pathogenesis and symptoms. Both these STDs are caused by bacteria, so they are similar to other sexually transmitted diseases caused by bacterial infections.

Main characteristics of Chlamydia symptoms is the absence of any bothering or painful  complains during initial infection. Gonorrhea shares very similar characteristics with Chlamydia, it causes no bothering symptoms during Prodome, especially in women.

The incubation period for Neisseria gonorrhoeae,  the bacteria responsible for this STI, is not very standard. It has different time durations for different people even different in men and women. So, you would always find conflicting and confusing data on the incubation period of a gonorrhea incubation period.

There’s another reason which adds to this confusion- the absence of painful symptoms of this bacteria.

Symptoms are perceived changes in health which is mostly considered an aberration, never an advantage. The key is the perceived aspect, so it’s very subjective. Subjective things are changeable even in the same individual. That’s the reason why the incubation period of micro-organisms are always baffling.

OK, back to the incubation period of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Some project it as 2 to 5 days, some as 7 to 21 days. There are cases where the first symptoms don’t appear even before 30 days. After all who is sure of the exact date of the infection? 🙂

In some extreme cases symptoms only show up after the disease develops tertiary stage, i.e. after it spreads to other parts of the body. In other words it’s called the constitutional stage of Gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea Symptoms in Women

The primary symptoms are very general, so they can be confused with normal fungal or yeast infection. A normal bladder or vaginal infection can manifest similar symptoms, a Gonorrheal infection is not conclusive. Only a NAAT Test or Urine Gonorrhea test can confirm it. Following are the symptoms which immediately follow after the incubation period:

  • Frequent urination with burning and smarting pains in lower abdomen particularly in the region of bladder and ovary.
  • Fever or a rise in body temperature a couple of degrees above normal body temperature
  • Lassitude and general tiredness.
  • Genital itching.
  • Itching and burning in anus
  • Bleeding or discharge from anus
  • Transparent, white, and creamy vaginal discharge which is very offensive odor
  • Vaginal bleeding during or after sex, and, between periods.
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Swollen and painful Bartholin glands (at the opening of the vagina).
  • Dryness in vagina in some cases
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Sore throat and hoarseness.
  • Redness of eye just as acute conjunctivitis.

Gonorrhea Symptoms in Men

In men Gonorrhea symptoms are more marked than in women, at least they are more obvious to seek a Gonorrhea test. There are rare cases too where men don’t develop clear cut symptoms. This asymptomatic state is very contagious and most men pass the Gonorrhea infection to their sexual partners and spouses.

The following symptoms are seen in males who are infected:

  • Discharge of a milky white pus like fluid from the penis at first. Then slowly it turns yellow. Sometimes it may be creamy or blood-tinged.
  • Frequent desire to urinate with scanty urination. Burning, smarting and painful urination, urethritis, and itching in urethra.
  • Itching in the anus. There’s  bleeding, or a transparent discharge in some cases.
  • Soreness and hoarseness in throat.
  • Feverish with weakness and a desire to lie down.
  • Pain in the testes can be found in some rare cases.
  • Redness of eye just as acute conjunctivitis.

 

Complications of  Gonorrhea

If the subject isn’t able to understand that there is an infection, the symptoms grow mild after a few weeks. There may be occasional discharges- blood from the vagina in case of women and creamy white pus from the urethra in case of male. In some cases the symptoms are suppressed and the disease become constitutional. It’s called “Disseminated gonococcal infection” or DGI.

 

Constitutional Gonorrhea  symptoms

  • Stiff and painful joints even in young people which resembles arthritis.
  • Skin rash like scabies with gradual thickening of skin.
  • Gradual weakening of heart with palpitation, sometimes missing beats.
  • Blood affection are a normal process where the RBC and WBC counts drop.
  • The tendons are inflamed and they become painful and non-functional.

Constitutional Gonorrhea or disseminated gonococcal infection opens the doors for other STIs especially AIDS.

 

 

What is Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is the second most common STD in the human race only next to Chlamydia.  It’s the result of the infection by bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

The spread of this sexually transmitted disease is enormous. In US alone there are 700,000 fresh cases every year as per the official report. The actual cases are most likely to be quite more than that as many STD cases go unreported. The estimation of the cases of Gonorrhea as per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms this trend.

Gonorrhea is caused by a direct or intimate sexual contact with an infected person. That’s why it’s also called a venereal disease or VD. The word “venereal” comes from the Latin word “Veneris” which refers to the Greek God of love. Since 1990, the general term “VD” is replaced with more meaningful terms such as STD or STI to describe infections caused as a direct result of sexual contact.

The name of this disease comes from one of its most visible symptoms; a semi-transparent white discharge from urethra, mostly painless. The specific term “Gonorrhea” is a refinement of Latin word “Gonorrhoia” where “Gonos” means seed or semen, and “Rhoe” means flow or discharge.

Infections by bacteria generally cause localized infections and the bacteria reside locally in the body fluids. Bacteria are organisms with one cell. They are microscopic and hardly a few microns in size. A single bacterium consists of DNA, cytoplasm, cell membrane, cell wall and capsule. It has the structures needed for independent metabolism and reproduction (they are asexual).

 

How can you catch Gonorrhea?

When somebody is infected with Gonorrhea, the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria is available in the mucous of the sex organs. He/she transmits the bacteria to the sex partner during intimate sexual contact when the mucous or mucous membranes come in contact with one another. So, the bacteria can potentially infect during vaginal, oral, and anal sex. Unprotected sex is an invitation to such killer infections.

In cases of oral sex, the bacteria in the genital/saliva of the infected person can transmit to that of the non-infected person. In such cases the bacteria infects the oral cavity and causes “oral Gonorrhea” or “Gonorrhea of mouth.” It affects the mouth, soft palate, tongue, and throat. Every year there are many such cases of gonorrhea oral infections reported.

Any sexually active person can get infected. Infections are very high among teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 30. They are impulsive and indulge in frequent sex but without sufficient protection. People who had been treated for gonorrhea in the past have very little immunity against the bacteria.

Gonorrhea can infect an infant during vaginal birth if the mother is infected. It infects the eyes, mouth and the general health of a child. At times, if not treated properly this infection can be fatal. Many cases of infant mortalities can be attributed to this infection alone. If this STI is allowed to remain without treatment, it can cause bone and organ deformation, blindness, meningitis, encephalitis, and even death.

Gonorrhea symptoms can indicate the presence of the bacteria but can’t confirm it. A NAAT test is the only way to confirm a possible infection. It’s curable as any other bacteria infection, but the treatment has to be timely. In adults gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics.  It could be oral pills or through an injection. To decide the course of your treatment first gets a gonorrhea urine test done. After confirmation of an infection consult an authorized medical practitioner to get a prescription.

 

Prevention of Gonorrhea

Abstinence can be the only absolute method of preventing gonorrhea but it’s not possible. 🙂   A monogamous relationship is more prudent to reduce your risk of an infection.  Use condoms when you have sex with a partner of unknown sexual history. You and  your partner should make it a habit to get tested for the STDs if you are at increased risk.

 

 

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Test

When people go for either a Chlamydia test or a Gonorrhea test, they always go for a combined “Chlamydia and Gonorrhea test.”

The main reason for that is that both the tests are quite similar. Additionally, Chlamydia symptoms are very similar to Gonorrhea symptoms, so it’s only wise to test for both infections together to ascertain the exact type of infection.

This test is called the Nucleic Acid Amplification Test or NAAT. Both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are caused by bacteria. When somebody is infected with these bacteria, there’s supposed to be the presence of the bacteria in the urine sample.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Test Window Period is generally 3 to 7 days. It means 3 to 7 days after the infection period the detection of the individual bacteria can be done positively. In most of the cases people come for a test much after that, but if you’re not among them then it’s better that you wait for at least 7 to 10 days.

The NAAT test carries out an amplification of the DNA of the bacteria and detects it in case there’s a trace of the infection causing bacteria. In case of Chlamydia, it’s Chlamydia trachomatis and in Gonorrhea, it’s the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria.

It’s the most accurate test available as on date for both of these bacteria, so it’s called the “Gold Standard” for both of these tests. The accuracy is 99.99% in both cases. It’s widely used in both doctors’ offices and hospitals, across the country.

The NAAT test is also referred as urine Chlamydia test or urine gonorrhea test, because the test sample is primarily urine. In case of women an additional swab of the vagina is collected for additional safety. Taking a Chlamydia test or a Gonorrhea test is no longer painful or embarrassing. The collection of the sample takes hardly any time. As there’s no needle penetration, there’s no pain.

For a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test no blood sample is collected. Let’s be very clear about that. Many people avoid these tests for the sake of fear of a needle penetration.

Now, there are 2 ways you can submit a sample. You can either visit a nearby test lab or you can opt for a home STD testing kit.

In the first case, you can a visit one of the 4000+ labs which is close to your home. It may at most take 15 to 20 minutes drive to reach the lab but you can submit the sample one he same day. The tests are completely anonymous so no one knows why you are there.

In the second case, you receive a sample collection kit at your home by post. All the instructions for sample collection is enclosed inside the kit, so there are no hassles. Now, in your convenience, you can collect the samples and re-seal the kit as directed and post it at the post office. Never drop these sample boxes into the mailboxes.

 

Recommendations: Chlamydia and gonorrhea test

  • Always opt for a Chlamydia and Gonorrhea test together. They are more reliable and cheaper when carried out together.
  • Refrain from urinating an hour before submitting your sample. The first urine of the day at the morning is considered the best.
  • Prefer a lab test to a test kit; the former is fast and the best.
  • Never worry for the privacy of the tests. They’re 100% private.
  • It’s recommended once every year for all sexually active adults.

 

 

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