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Example research essay topic: Sexually Transmitted Diseases Mucous Membranes - 1,169 words

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S. T. D. , what does it mean? It stands for Sexually Transmitted Disease.

STDs used to be called venereal diseases. Sexually transmitted diseases have been around for a long time. There were references to gonorrhea in the Old Testament and descriptions of syphilis at the time of Columbus. Sexually transmitted diseases cross all boundaries.

They are not restricted to people of one sexual orientation, race, cultural group or socioeconomic class. When most people think about infectious diseases, they think about their last cold or flu that had been going around at school or work. Reports come from health departments all over the country. Government workers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention count all the cases of each disease. When you look at the most frequently reported infectious diseases in the United States, 87 percent are sexually transmitted diseases.

There are 12 million new cases each year. STDs are clearly a big problem in todays society. Most sexually transmitted diseases are treatable; however many become resistant to antibiotics. Some STDs are not curable. The more familiar STD's are gonorrhea, syphilis, genital herpes, Chlamydial trachomatis infections, and HIV/AIDs. One of the most frequently encountered communicable diseases in the U.

S. is called the "clap", "drip", "dose", "strain", "gleet", "jack", or gonorrhea. It is caused by the bacterium Neisseria Gonorrhoeae, which is common all over the world today and can only thrive in human beings. There is no way to acquire immunity to this disease. This disease is transmitted by the way of direct contact with the secretions of mucous membranes such as those of the urethra, cervix, vagina, anus, eyes and throat. The contact involved in transmitting gonorrhea is almost always sexual in nature.

It is possible that contaminated fingers can transfer infection from one region of the body to another; however this is highly unlikely because the bacteria dies rapidly when exposed to the warmth and moisture of mucous membranes. Symptoms of infection usually appear within two to ten days after exposure but can take up to thirty days. In males, gonorrhea usually strikes first at the urethra. A burning sensation during urination may be experienced due to the irritation of the urethra's mucosal lining.

Many males may also notice abnormal discharge from the penis. The penis itself may be red or swollen at the tip. Urination may become more frequent or difficult; however occasionally no symptoms are evident immediately. In females gonorrhea seems to strike selectively at the cervix. Eighty percent of females with gonorrhea have no immediate signs or symptoms.

One symptom in women is a foul smelling vaginal discharge. Since vaginal discharges are not uncommon, women should be alert to any change in the color, odor, or other appearance of discharges. If gonorrhea has affected the urethra, women may experience a burning sensation upon urination. Gonorrhea can also infect the anal region, oral cavity, and eyes. The period of communicability for gonorrhea is uncertain but can last as long as discharge continues anywhere from three to six months. Precise diagnosis of gonorrhea requires cultures of discharge specimens.

Under most circumstances gonorrhea is easily treated. It is now clear that larger and larger doses of penicillin may be necessary to kill some resistant strains. Untreated gonorrhea may result in irreversible complications. Infertility and sterility can develop in males and females. Gonococcal arthritis in major joints is a generalized infection that irreversibly damages the brain, heart, liver and other key organs and can be present in either sex. The most reliable form of protection is the use of condoms during sexual episodes.

The sexually active individual should also be selective about sexual partners and stay alert to obvious signs and symptoms of disease. Syphilis, also called "bad blood", is perhaps the best known STD of all. Once confined to certain parts of the world, syphilis now occurs universally. Treponema Pallidum is the causative agent. It belongs to a group of organisms that resemble bacteria. Humans provide the only known host for T.

Pallidum. There is no vaccine or other acquired immunity for syphilis. Only about thirty percent of the people exposed result in infections. Syphilis is transmitted by direct contact with infected sores called chancres, syphilitic skin rashes, or mucous patches on the tongue and mouth during kissing, necking, petting, or sexual intercourse. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to a fetus after the fourth month of pregnancy. The incubation period for syphilis is from ten to ninety days with twenty one days being the average.

The diagnostic blood test for this STD is likely to be negative during the incubation period. Syphilis goes through several stages. In its primary stage, it is characterized by the appearance of a chancre at the first site of infection. A chancre resembles a blister, pimple, or raised open sore. It is infectious and contains a large number of spiral bacteria.

Chancres are often painless and may be hidden in the mouth, throat, vagina, cervix, or anus, making detection difficult. Chancres tend to heal themselves in two to six weeks, but leave behind thousands of infectious spirochetes. Primary syphilis may be accompanied by swollen glands near the site of primary infection. Once the chancre disappears the secondary stage begins. Secondary symptoms can occur from six weeks to six months after the primary infection disappears. New symptoms usually include the presence of a rash or raised lesions anywhere on the skin.

The rash is not painful or itchy, but is infectious. Patches of white in the mouth, nose, or rectum may appear. These mucous patches can also transmit disease. Additional symptoms at this stage may include patchy hair loss, mild fever and body aches, swollen glands and flu like symptoms.

Secondary symptoms disappear in two to six weeks but may reoccur for up to two years. When left untreated, syphilis enters what is called the latent stage. At this point symptoms are absent. The length of the latent stage is variable, but can last at least five years and perhaps as many as twenty years or more. Some cases of syphilis remain dormant for an indefinite length of time. Others evolve into the final stage of symptoms.

Tertiary or late-stage syphilis usually occurs between five and twenty years following initial infection. This condition leads to permanent disabilities and even death. Neurosyphilis in which the brain and the spinal cord become affected, produce paralysis, insanity and blindness. Cardiovascular syphilis includes major damage to the heart and the aorta, possibly resulting in death. Late begin syphilis is characterized by the appearance of large destructive lesions virtually at any internal or external site. The period of contagiousness for syphilis is variable.

It is clearly infectious in its primary and secondary stages. Active bacteria are wiped out in twenty four to forty eight hours by adequate treatment with penicillin. Infected individuals must be followed closely after treatment and repeated blood test must be performed to assure the complete absence of the disease. People hoping to avoid syphilis must avoid contact with sophia...


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