Sexual Transmitted Diseases

Viral Sexually Transmitted Infections and Diseases

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) differs from the STDs we’ve discussed thus far, as it is a viral infection. HSV is transmitted through sexual contact and is more commonly observed in men than in women. This virus has various types, with HSV Type 2 being the most prevalent. Once an individual contracts HSV, the virus remains with them for life.

Symptoms of HSV include the formation of small vesicles and shallow ulcers on the cervix, urethra, and perineum. Those who have never been previously infected with HSV often experience more severe symptoms.

In cases where the HSV virus comes into contact with an individual’s eyes, it can lead to blindness. Additionally, individuals with HSV have a heightened risk of developing cervical cancer. Pregnant women with HSV must exercise caution, as exposure of the fetus to HSV during birth can result in blindness or brain damage for the baby.

While it is possible to manage HSV to reduce the frequency and duration of outbreaks, it is not completely curable.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

HPV, a DNA virus belonging to the Papillomaviridae family, encompasses over 200 distinct types. Approximately 40 of these variants are recognized for their ability to infect the genital region, giving rise to a variety of clinical conditions. The majority of HPV infections manifest without symptoms. However, certain HPV strains can instigate the formation of genital, anal, or surrounding warts, characterized by their raised, flat, or cauliflower-like appearance. Notably, high-risk HPV types have the potential to induce abnormal cell changes in the cervix, and in some instances, these changes may progress to cervical cancer. The administration of the HPV vaccine, such as Gardasil, can effectively thwart infection by some of the most dangeroud HPV types, subsequently reducing the risk of cervical cancer.

Much like other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HPV is primarily transmitted through sexual contact and bodily secretions. Additionally, this virus can be passed from an infected mother to her newborn during the process of childbirth. Infants exposed to HPV during delivery may be susceptible to recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, a condition marked by the growth of warts in the airway, leading to respiratory difficulties.

While there is no cure for the HPV virus itself, HPV warts can be effectively managed through a range of treatment options. These include topical treatments in the form of creams, cryotherapy (which involves freezing the warts with liquid nitrogen), electrocautery (a method of burning off warts using an electrical current), and surgical removal by cutting out the affected warts. Regular monitoring and treatment are essential, often facilitated through pap smears conducted to detect abnormalities.


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Human Reproduction: A Clinical Approach Copyright © 2023 by Dr. Hala Bastawros, M.D is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.