Diseases are infections that affect our day-to-day wellbeing by bringing up some symptoms that make us uncomfortable. Sexually Transmitted Infections are a type of disease that spreads from one person to another via intimate contact. Similarly, every disease has its own transmission mechanism that infected one person to another. In this article, we walk you through to explain how can STDs spread and a common question on “Can STDs be spread via kissing?”.
What are STDs?
Sexually Transmitted Diseases are highly contagious infections that spread from one person to another through sexual contact – be it anal, vaginal, or even oral sex. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 1 million new cases of STDs are acquired every day across the globe.
The United States is recording an increasing amount of new STD cases every year according to the data from Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than half of the reported cases are from young people who fall between the age group of 15 to 24. Some STDs, women are more seeming prone and have reported a higher number of cases than men.
Types of STDs
STDs are of a variety of forms and each one of the STDs is different from one another. According to one study, there are more than 20 different types of STDs prevalent in the United States and around the globe. However, not all of them are highly contagious and seen everywhere. A handful of them, around 6 types of STDs are taking the major toll of new STD cases. Following are the 6 types of most commonly seen STDs –
Symptoms of STDs
Unlike other diseases, symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases do not exhibit in the very initial stage. Like an allergy or flu, where the symptoms immediately occur indicating something foreign has entered your system triggering the signs and allergic reactions. However, that is not the case with STDs. Symptoms may not occur immediately and the virus or bacteria that has entered the body can remain undercover for a long period, say multiple days, or weeks even months in some cases.
Following are the symptoms of STDs in men and women –
Symptoms in women
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Painful urination
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Lower abdominal pain
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
Symptoms in men
- Thick penile discharge
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Swollen testicles
- Anal itching
- Irritation inside the penis
- Painful bowel movements
Can you get STD from Kissing?
Since STDs are a type of infection that most people do not like to talk about it openly to anyone, even with their close people. boyfriends or girlfriends to at least cause awareness. Most of the time STDs transmit one via sexual contact and not by any other means by touching the infected person. However, some STDs have certain other modes of transmitting the diseases from one person to another, they include interchanging the sex toys, accepting blood donations from unscreened people, and sometimes even through kissing.
People who engage in oral sex, have a high probability of getting the infection orally and can see symptoms around the mouth like sores and warts. When you kiss the infected person and by touching warts or sores on their mouth, you can also contract the STD.
However, not all STDs have the ability to transmit by these modes. Following are some of the types that can spread the infection by just kissing –
- Herpes (HSV)
STDs and Kissing: Herpes
Herpes is a viral infection caused by Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) and they are categorized into two different types, based on the infection site. Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1) is associated with cold sores and mouth lesions – commonly known as Oral Herpes. On the other hand, Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV-2) infects the genital area, thus the name of HSV-2 as Genital Herpes. Both the strains are highly contagious and have no complete cure to date.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Oral Herpes has affected are more than 3.7 billion people under age 50 around the world. Oral herpes is the type that can easily spread through kissing. Sings of oral herpes are blisters in your mouth (clear, pink, red, yellow, or gray in color), sore throat, pain while eating or swallowing.
STDs and Kissing: Syphilis
Unlike Herpes, Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is treatable if addressed in its initial stage. Syphilis STD slowly but steadily causes symptoms as the bacteria progresses in three phases namely – primary stage, secondary stage, and final stage. Syphilis can also spread via kissing. During the first stage, symptoms occur as sores around the mouth, commonly known as chancres. Other symptoms of Syphilis include fever, skin rash, joint pain, hair loss, headache, and loss of appetite.
Since most of the STDs do not cause any symptoms in the initial phase, it becomes even harder to assess, detect and diagnose the infection in the early stages.
STDs and Kissing: Mononucleosis
Mononucleosis or Monospot is caused by a virus called Espin-bar-virus (EBV). This virus is most commonly known for spreading just through kissing – it is also commonly known as the “kissing disease”. If you suspect having mono disease, don’t kiss anyone or share things like drinking glasses, eating utensils, or toothbrushes where your salivary fluids can get transmitted to the other person. Read more in-depth about Mononucleosis here.
How are STDs Treated?
If you have been sexually active and suspect of being infected with an STD compared with the symptoms above mentioned, then get tested for STDs to confirm your condition. If the test comes positive, then your doctor will evaluate which STD you are infected with and what is your current stage. Assessing that, you shall be prescribed medicine to stop the bacteria from spreading further and the symptoms will being to reduce and go away after the course is ended.
Can STDs be Completely Cured?
When it comes to complete cures, there may not be answers for certain types of STDs. Some types of STDs that are caused by viruses cannot be cured completely as there is no medicine or drug that can put a full stop to the infection. On the other hand, if you are infected with bacteria causing STDs like Chlamydia, or Gonorrhea, then there are antibiotics that can completely terminate the invaded pathogen and stop the spread.