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Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Infections

These are diseases and infections that are passed from one person to another during sexual contact.  They are MUCH more common than you may think.  Close to 20 million Americans get an STD every year (10 million are to young adults 15 – 24)!  Many teens don’t believe they are at risk but actually have a higher percentage of them than adults.  Most people don’t even know they have one unless they are tested or an infection is advanced and there are symptoms.  

PLEASE understand!!!  You can get an STD even if you don’t have sex.  Intercourse is not the only factor in how they are spread.  Some STDs can be spread by simply touched infected areas of the skin (HPV, syphilis, Herpes).  Teenage girls can get some STDs like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and HIV easier than older women.  Know the FACTS about STDs and be aware of the danger of them.  Sexual contact is any close contact with the genital area, including oral, anal, and vaginal sex.  Any of these activities can transmit an STD.

It is important to be aware so you have the best choice for a healthy body and future.  Many can be diagnosed by special tests but you can’t just look at someone and know if they are infected or not.  Abstinence from sexual activity is the only guarantee to prevent STD transmission!

In the 60’s 1 in 32 had an STI, in the 80’s it was 1 in 18 and in 2008 the CDC announced that it was 1 in 4 teen girls were dealing with an STI.  These numbers are indicating an unhealthy trend and we need to be aware of what is going on.

We have gone from 5 STIs in the 60’s to close to 30 today.  

Names of STDs/STIs

Bacterial vaginosis      
Gonorrhea *         
lymphotropic virus      
Lymphogranuloma venereum       
Mycoplasmas, genital         
pubic lice              
candidiasis, vulvovaginal       
Epstein Barr virus          
Hepatitis A              
Hepatitis B        
Hepatitis C        
Hepatitis D            
human papillomavirus
human T-cell cytomegalovirus
molluscum cantagiosum

Three STIs (Human Papillomavirus, Trichomoniasis and Chlamydia) accounted for 88% of all new cases of STIs among 15- to 24-year-olds.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): (Street name:  Genital Warts)

The HPV virus is currently infecting 20 million Americans and 6 million people become newly infected each year.  (CDC, HPV fact Sheet, August 9, 2012)

What does it do?

HPV can cause normal cells on infected skin to turn abnormal. Most of the time, you cannot see or feel these cell changes. In most cases, the body fights off HPV naturally and the infected cells then go back to normal. But in cases when the body does not fight off HPV, HPV can cause visible changes in the form of genital warts or cancer. Warts can appear within weeks or months after getting HPV. Approximately 1% of sexually active adults in the U.S. have genital warts at any one time. (CDC, HPV fact Sheet, August 9, 2012)  HPV is also a leading cause of cervical cancer and other cancers.

Cancer Types:

Cancer often takes years to develop after getting HPV. (CDC, HPV fact Sheet, August 9, *Each year, about 12,000 women get cervical cancer in the U.S.  Almost all of these cancers are HPV-associated. (CDC, HPV fact Sheet, August 9, 2012)  Head and neck cancers, which involve the mouth, lips, tongue, throat, and voice box, have about a 50% mortality rate.  Oropharynx cancer which pertains to cancers in the back part of the mouth, the tonsils, and skin down to the middle part of the throat, is fatal for about 8000 people a year.  In contrast, cervical cancer, virtually all of which is caused by HPV, kills about 4300 women per year. (“HPV carried in mouth linked to virulent cancers”, Wetzstein, C. , the Washington Times, January 26, 2012, bases on study by JAMA)

Other HPV-related cancers might not have signs or symptoms until they are advanced and hard to treat. These include cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and oropharynx (back of throat including base of tongue and tonsils). (CDC, HPV fact Sheet, August 9, 2012)
 Each year in the U.S., there are about:
•    1,500 women who get HPV-associated vulvar cancer
•    500 women who get HPV-associated vaginal cancer
•    400 men who get HPV-associated penile cancer
•    2,700 women and 1,500 men who get HPV-associated anal cancer
•    1,500 women and 5,600 men who get HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the back of throat including base of tongue and tonsils) [Note: Many of these cancers may also be related to tobacco and alcohol use.] (Oral sex may contribute.)  (CDC, HPV fact Sheet, August 9, 2012)

Oral Cancers:
The more oral sex someone has had — and the more partners they've had — the greater their risk of getting these cancers, which grow in the middle part of the throat. "An individual who has six or more lifetime partners — on whom they've performed oral sex – has an eightfold increase in risk compared to someone who has never performed oral sex," she said. (Girsham, Peggy. Virus Passed During Oral Sex Tops Tobacco as Throat Cancer Cause. NPRs Health Blog, Feb. 22, 2011.)

About 37,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with oral cancer in 2010, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. People with HPV-related throat cancer are more likely to survive their cancer than those who were heavy smokers or drinkers, the other big risk factors. (Girsham, Peggy. Virus Passed During Oral Sex Tops Tobacco as Throat Cancer Cause. NPRs Health Blog, Feb. 22, 2011.)

This message is critical for teens since oral sex is much more common than vaginal sex and “teens don’t consider oral sex to be sex and isn’t a big deal.”
(Girsham, Peggy. Virus Passed During Oral Sex Tops Tobacco as Throat Cancer Cause. NPRs Health Blog, Feb. 22, 2011.)

Testing and Treatment

There is no general test for men or women to check one’s overall “HPV status,” nor is there an approved HPV test to find HPV on the genitals or in the mouth or throat. (CDC, HPV fact Sheet, August 9, 2012)
Condoms if used correctly and 100% of the time, will still leave a 30% or more chance of getting HVP.  While condom use has been associated with a lower risk of cervical cancer, the use of condoms should not be a substitute for routine screening with Pap smears to detect and prevent cervical cancer.   For this reason, it is important for women to get regular screening for cervical cancer. Screening tests can find early signs of disease so that problems can be treated early, before they ever turn into cancer.  (; August 25, 2011).

Cervical cancer can also be prevented with routine cervical cancer screening and follow-up of abnormal results. An HPV DNA test, which can find HPV on a woman's cervix, may also be used with a Pap test in certain cases. (CDC, HPV fact Sheet, August 9, 2012)

What Is the Vaccine:  

Gardasil and Cervarix are available for young men and women 9 – 26 who have  not been sexually active.  The costs are covered by some insurance companies and can be free if qualifications are met.

Gardasil protects against HPV types 6 and 11 the types that cause most genital warts in females and males. (CDC, September 15, 2011).  It has also been licensed for use in males.  (CDC, September 15, 2011).  Gardasil has been tested and shown to protect against cancers of the vulva, vagina, and anus. (CDC, September 15, 2011).

HPV vaccines do not treat or cure health problems (like cancer or warts) caused by an HPV infection that occurred before vaccination. (CDC, September 15, 2011).

Rates of oral and throat cancer, particularly among men, tested positive for HPV increased from 16% in the 1980s to more than 70% diagnosed in the 2000s. HPV-negative cancer results that come from alcohol and tobacco use and HPV-postive cancers that come certain types of HPV. HPV- positive cancers rose 225% from 1988-2004, while PHV-negative cancers dropped by 50%. (“Throat cancer up by 225 percent due to HPV”, Oct.4, 2011, Columbus Ohio,
Dental groups are testing for oral cancer and identifying HPV.



In the United States, an estimated 3.7 million people have the infection, but only about 30% develop any symptoms of trichomoniasis. (CDC Fact Sheet, August 3, 2012)   
There are some estimates that this number could be as high as 12 million! There is question that it could be the #1 STI overall. (Pullman at WSU News, “Top Sexually Transmitted Disease Nearly Unknown”, July 28, 2010.)

Symptoms of Trichomaniasis:

In women, the most commonly infected part of the body is the lower genital tract (vulva, vagina, or urethra), and in men, the most commonly infected body part is the inside of the penis (urethra). (CDC Fact Sheet, August 3, 2012)
 Most men with trichomoniasis do not have signs or symptoms; however, some men may temporarily have an irritation inside the penis, mild discharge, or slight burning after urination or ejaculation. Some women have signs or symptoms of infection which include a frothy, yellow-green vaginal discharge with a strong odor. The infection also may cause discomfort during intercourse and urination, as well as irritation and itching of the female genital area. In rare cases, lower abdominal pain can occur. Symptoms usually appear in women within 5 to 28 days of exposure. (, December 17, 2007). (WebMD, 2010). *Having trichomoniasis once does not protect a person from getting it again. Following successful treatment, people can still be susceptible to re-infection. To avoid getting reinfected, make sure that all of your sex partners get treated too, and wait to have sex again until all of your symptoms go away (about a week). Get checked again if your symptoms come back. (CDC Fact Sheet, August 3, 2012)

Testing and Treatment

To diagnose trichomoniasis, a doctor must perform a physical exam and lab test. Lab tests are performed on a sample of vaginal fluid or urethral fluid to look for the disease-causing parasite. The parasite is harder to detect in men than in women. (WebMD, Mikio A. Nihira, MD on August 19, 2012)

*(Flagyl) is given to treat trichomoniasis. It is important to take all of your antibiotics, even if you feel better. (WebMD, Mikio A. Nihira, MD on August 19, 2012)



Chlamydia is the most common bacterial disease.  In 2010, 1,307,893 Chlamydia infections were reported to CDC from 50 states and the District of Columbia. Under-reporting is substantial because most people with Chlamydia are not aware of their infections and do not seek testing. Also, testing is not often done if patients are treated for their symptoms. An estimated 2.8 million infections occur annually in the U.S. Women are frequently re-infected if their sex partners are not treated. (CDC Chlamydia fact sheet, Feb.8, 2012)

The cervix (opening to the uterus) of teenage girls and young women is not fully matured and is probably more susceptible to infection, they are at particularly high risk for infection if sexually active. Since Chlamydia can be transmitted by oral or anal sex, men who have sex with men are also at risk for Chlamydia infection. (CDC Chlamydia fact sheet, Feb.8, 2012)

Symptoms of Chlamydia:

In women, the bacteria initially infect the cervix and the urethra (urine canal). Women who have symptoms might have an abnormal vaginal discharge or a burning sensation when urinating. If the infection spreads from the cervix to the fallopian tubes (tubes that carry fertilized eggs from the ovaries to the uterus), some women still have no signs or symptoms; others have lower abdominal pain, low back pain, nausea, fever, pain during intercourse, or bleeding between menstrual periods. Chlamydial infection of the cervix can spread to the rectum.  Men with signs or symptoms might have a discharge from their penis or a burning sensation when urinating. Men might also have burning and itching around the opening of the penis. Pain and swelling in the testicles are uncommon. Complications among men are rare. Infection sometimes spreads to the epididymis (the tube that carries sperm from the testis), causing pain, fever, and, rarely, sterility. (; August 17, 2011). Chlamydia can also be found in the throats of women and men having oral sex with an infected partner. (; August 17, 2011).
If they occur, symptoms in men and women vary depending on what part of the body is infected: Gonorrhea can affect the anus, eyes, mouth, genitals, or throat. (CDC fact sheet Aug 1, 2012)
Symptoms of rectal infection in both men and women may include discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding, or painful bowel movements. Rectal infections may also cause no symptoms. Infections in the throat may cause a sore throat, but usually cause no symptoms. (CDC fact sheet Aug 1, 2012)
Girls symptoms can appear 2-5 days after infection, men symptoms can take up to a month (PubMed Health, May 22, 2011)

Testing and Treatment

Chlamydia can be easily treated and cured with antibiotics. A single dose of azithromycin, or a week of doxycycline (twice daily), are the most commonly used treatments.   Persons with Chlamydia should abstain from sexual intercourse for 7 days after single dose antibiotics or until completion of a 7-day course of antibiotics, to prevent spreading the infection to partners. (; August 17, 2011).   To help prevent the serious consequences of Chlamydia, annual screening for Chlamydia is recommended for all sexually active women age 25 years and younger. An annual screening test also is recommended for older women with risk factors for Chlamydia (a new sex partner or multiple sex partners). All pregnant women should have a screening test for Chlamydia. (CDC Chlamydia fact sheet, Feb.8, 2012)
Women whose sex partners have not been appropriately treated are at high risk for re-infection. Having multiple infections increases a woman's risk of serious reproductive health complications, including infertility. Women and men with Chlamydia should be retested about three months after treatment of an initial infection, regardless of whether they believe that their sex partners were treated. (CDC Chlamydia fact sheet, feb.8, 2012)



Gonorrhea is a very common infectious disease. CDC estimates that, annually, more than 700,000 people in the United States get new gonorrhea infections and less than half of these infections are reported to CDC. In 2010, 309,341 cases of gonorrhea were reported to CDC. (CDC fact sheet Aug 1, 2012)

Symptoms of Gonorrhea

In women, the symptoms of gonorrhea are often mild, but most women who are infected have no symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they can be so non-specific as to be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. The initial symptoms and signs in women include a painful or burning sensation when urinating, increased vaginal discharge, or vaginal bleeding between periods. Women with gonorrhea are at risk of developing serious complications from the infection, regardless of the presence or severity of symptoms. (; April 5, 2011).
Some men have signs or symptoms that appear one to fourteen days after infection. Symptoms and signs include a burning sensation when urinating, or a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis. Sometimes men with gonorrhea get painful or swollen testicles. Symptoms of rectal infection in both men and women may include discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding, or painful bowel movements. Rectal infection also may cause no symptoms. Infections in the throat may cause a sore throat, but usually causes no symptoms. (; April 5, 2011).

Untreated Gonorrhea can lead to infertility.  

Testing and Treatment

*CDC now recommends dual therapy (i.e. using two drugs) for the treatment of gonorrhea. Persons with gonorrhea should be tested for other STDs. (; April 5, 2011).The development of antibiotic resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a growing public health concern, in particular because the United States gonorrhea control strategy relies on effective antibiotic therapy. Since antibiotics were first used for treatment of gonorrhea, N. gonorrhoeae has progressively developed resistance to the antibiotic drugs prescribed to treat it: sulfonilamides, penicillin, tetracycline, and ciprofloxacin. Currently, CDC STD treatment guidelines recommend dual therapy with a cephalosporin antibiotic (ceftriaxone is preferred) and either azithromycin or doxycycline to treat all uncomplicated gonococcal infections among adults and adolescents in the United States. Dual therapy is recommended to address the potential emergence of gonococcal cephalosporin resistance. (; Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhea (ARG) Basic Information; April 5, 2011). Overall in 2009, 23.5% of isolates collected from 29 GISP sites were resistant to penicillin, tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, or some combination of these antibiotics. (; Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhea (ARG) Basic Information; April 5, 2011).

In July of 2011 it was reported that a strain of GC that will not respond to our current treatment was identified in Japan.  Historically, it takes 10 – 20 years for resistance to emerge and make it around the world. (Reuters. Kelland, Kate. “Scientists find first superbug strain of gonorrhea”.  July 11, 2011). 

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Each year in the United States, it is estimated that more than 750,000 women experience an episode of acute PID. Up to 10-15% of these women may become infertile as a result of PID, and if a woman has multiple episodes of PID, her chances of becoming infertile increase. A large proportion of the ectopic pregnancies occurring every year are due to the consequences of PID. (; March 25, 2011).
PID often occurs as a result of untreated Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.


Women who have symptoms of PID most commonly have lower abdominal pain.  Other signs and symptoms include fever, unusual vaginal discharge that may have a foul odor, painful intercourse, painful urination, irregular menstrual bleeding, and pain in the right upper abdomen (rare). (; March 25, 2011).

Testing and Treatment:

PID can be cured with several types of antibiotics. A health care provider will determine and prescribe the best therapy. However, antibiotic treatment does not reverse any damage that has already occurred to the reproductive organs. If a woman has pelvic pain and other symptoms of PID, it is critical that she seek care immediately. Prompt antibiotic treatment can prevent severe damage to reproductive organs. The longer a woman delays treatment for PID, the more likely she is to become infertile or to have a future ectopic pregnancy because of damage to the fallopian tubes. (; March 25, 2011).



Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2). (CDC, STD Fact Sheet – Genital Herpes, September 12, 2012)  It is very common – it is estimated that 1 in 6 Americans nationwide (16.2%) between the ages of 14 and 49 are dealing with genital herpes today.  One is five women, and one out of nine men.  (CDC, STD Fact Sheet – Genital Herpes, September 12, 2012)

Symptoms of Herpes:

A first outbreak usually occurs with 2 week after virus transmitted. Blisters break and leave tender ulcers/sores, which come and go. When signs do occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum. The blisters break, leaving tender ulcers (sores) that may take two to four weeks to heal the first time they occur. Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months after the first, but it almost always is less severe and shorter than the first outbreak.  Although the infection can stay in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over a period of years. (, July 13, 2010)
Typically in the first year you will have 4-5 outbreaks. It’s different for each individual.
Genital herpes can cause recurrent painful genital sores in many adults, and herpes infection can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems. (; July 13, 2010).
Persons with herpes should abstain from sexual activity with uninfected partners when lesions or other symptoms of herpes are present. It is important to know that even if a person does not have any symptoms he or she can still infect sex partners. (; July 13, 2010).
Herpes type 1 (oral herpes, which now infects genitalia because of the increased popularity of oral sex) and herpes type 2 affect an astounding 20% of the American population. One study says the prevalence of Herpes 2 may be 30% of all men and 40% of all women in the US by 2025. (“Hooking up: What’s a Parent to do?”, Meg Meeker M.D.,

Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can also cause rare but serious complications such as blindness, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and aseptic meningitis (inflammation of the linings of the brain). (CDC, STD Fact Sheet – Genital Herpes, September 12, 2012)

Testing and Treatment

There is no cure for Herpes, but the symptoms can be treated.  There are two medications for this.
Abreva can be purchased and used cold sores or Herpes 1.
 Valtrex is a prescription medication that comes in a pill.  For preventative maintenance a 500mg dose is given.  When there is an outbreak, you need a 1000mg dose for 7 days.   These medications do not cure herpes infections but decreases pain and itching, helps sores to heal, and prevents new ones from forming.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B:

There are close to 1.4 million people in the United States with chronic hepatitis B infection. (CDC, HepVaccine fact sheet, 2/2/12)  Two billion people worldwide have been infected with the virus and about 600 000 people die every year due to the consequences of hepatitis B. (HepB, WHO, Fact Sheet, July 2012)


Most people do not experience any symptoms during the acute infection phase. However, some people have acute illness with symptoms that last several weeks, including yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Hepatitis can be carried by blood contamination so any blood spills — including dried blood, which can still be infectious — should be cleaned using 1:10 dilution of one part household bleach to 10 parts of water for disinfecting the area. Gloves should be used when cleaning up any blood spills. (; April 4, 2011).

HBV is transmitted through activities that involve percutaneous (i.e., puncture through the skin) or mucosal contact with infectious blood or body fluids (e.g., semen, saliva), including sex with an infected partner;injection drug use that involves sharing needles, syringes, or drug-preparation equipment; birth to an infected mother; contact with blood or open sores of an infected person; needle sticks or sharp instrument exposures: sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person. (; April 4, 2011).
*HBV is not spread through food or water, sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, hand holding, coughing, or sneezing. (; April 4, 2011).

Testing and Treatment:

Some people with chronic hepatitis B can be treated with drugs, including interferon and antiviral agents. Treatment can cost thousands of dollars per year and is not available to most people in developing countries. (HepB, WHO, Fact Sheet, July 2012)
A vaccine is given as either three or four separate doses, as part of existing routine immunization schedules. In areas where mother-to-infant spread of the hepatitis B virus is common, the first dose of vaccine should be given as soon as possible after birth (i.e. within 24 hours). The complete vaccine series induces protective antibody levels in more than 95% of infants, children and young adults. Protection lasts at least 20 years and is possibly lifelong. (HepB, WHO, Fact Sheet, July 2012)

The incubation period of the hepatitis B virus is 90 days on average, but can vary from 30 to 180 days. The virus may be detected 30 to 60 days after infection and persists for variable periods of time. (HepB, WHO, Fact Sheet, July 2012)



This disease is often called a great imitator and runs in stages.  It is curable in the early stages.  

During 2004–2008, rates of P&S syphilis increased the most among 15–24 year-old men and women. (; April 14, 2011). A total of 11,466 cases were reported in 2007. (Syphilis, Brian Euerle, MD,FACEP, Chief Editor,, June 7, 2011).

Many people infected with syphilis do not have any symptoms for years, yet remain at risk for late complications if they are not treated. Although transmission occurs from persons with sores who are in the primary or secondary stage, many of these sores are unrecognized. Thus, transmission may occur from persons who are unaware of their infection. (; September 16, 2010).

Symptoms of Syphilis:

Transmission of an STD, including syphilis, cannot be prevented by washing the genitals, urinating, and/or douching after sex. Any unusual discharge, sore, or rash, particularly in the groin area, should be a signal to abstain from having sex and to see a doctor immediately. (CDC, Fact Sheet, Sept. 13, 2012)

Sores occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Sores also can occur on the lips and in the mouth. Transmission of the organism occurs during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Pregnant women with the disease can pass it to the babies they are carrying. Syphilis cannot be spread through contact with toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, shared clothing, or eating utensils. (; September 16, 2010).

The central nervous system (CNS) is invaded early in the infection. During the first 5-10 years after the onset of untreated primary infection, the disease principally involves the meninges and blood vessels, resulting in meningovascular neurosyphilis. (Syphilis, Brian Euerle, MD,FACEP, Chief Editor,, June 7, 2011).

Primary Stage of syphilis is usually marked by the appearance of a single sore (called a chancre), but there may be multiple sores. The time between infection with syphilis and the start of the first symptom can range from 10 to 90 days (average 21 days). The chancre is usually firm, round, small, and painless. It appears at the spot where syphilis entered the body. The chancre lasts 3 to 6 weeks, and it heals without treatment. However, if adequate treatment is not administered, the infection progresses to the secondary stage. (; September 16, 2010).

Secondary Stage:
*Skin rash and mucous membrane lesions characterize the secondary stage. This stage typically starts with the development of a rash on one or more areas of the body. The rash usually does not cause itching. Rashes associated with secondary syphilis can appear as the chancre is healing or several weeks after the chancre has healed. The characteristic rash of secondary syphilis may appear as rough, red, or reddish brown spots both on the palms of the hands and the bottoms of the feet. However, rashes with a different appearance may occur on other parts of the body, sometimes resembling rashes caused by other diseases. Sometimes rashes associated with secondary syphilis are so faint that they are not noticed. In addition to rashes, symptoms of secondary syphilis may include fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and fatigue. The signs and symptoms of secondary syphilis will resolve with or without treatment, but without treatment, the infection will progress to the latent and possibly late stages of disease. (; September 16, 2010).

Late Stage  In the late stages of syphilis, the disease may subsequently damage the internal organs, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. Signs and symptoms of the late stage of syphilis include difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, and dementia. This damage may be serious enough to cause death. (; September 16, 2010).

Testing and Treatment:

Syphilis is easy to cure in its early stages. A single intramuscular injection of penicillin, an antibiotic, will cure a person who has had syphilis for less than a year. Additional doses are needed to treat someone who has had syphilis for longer than a year. For people who are allergic to penicillin, other antibiotics are available to treat syphilis. There are no home remedies or over-the-counter drugs that will cure syphilis. Treatment will kill the syphilis bacterium and prevent further damage, but it will not repair damage already done. (; September 16, 2010).

Pubic Lice


Pubic lice have forms: the egg (also called a nit), the nymph, and the adult.  They are usually found in the genital area on pubic hair; but they may occasionally be found on other coarse body hair, such as hair on the legs, armpits, mustache, beard, eyebrows, or eyelashes. Pubic lice on the eyebrows or eyelashes of children may be a sign of sexual exposure or abuse. Lice found on the head generally are head lice, not pubic lice. (; FAQ, November 2, 2010).
Pubic ("crab") lice most commonly are spread directly from person to person by sexual contact. Pubic lice very rarely may be spread by clothing, bedding, or a toilet seat. (; November 2, 2010). Lice cannot live long away from a warm human body and do not have feet designed to hold onto or walk on smooth surfaces such as toilet seats. (Med Line Plus, NIH, 10/4/10). Animals do not get or spread pubic lice. (; November 2, 2010).

Symptoms and Treatment:

As with other lice infestations, intense itching leads to scratching which can cause sores and secondary bacterial infection of the skin. A lice-killing lotion containing 1% permethrin or a mousse containing pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide can be used to treat pubic ("crab") lice. These products are available over-the-counter without a prescription at a local drug store or pharmacy. These medications are safe and effective when used exactly according to the instructions in the package or on the label. (; November 2, 2010).