A lot of attention is focused on HIV wherever barebacking is concerned, however there are many other sexually transmitted diseases that are far easier to catch that go unmentioned for the most part in conversations regarding going bare. Below is a list of some of the most prevalent STD’s, their symptoms, and the damage they can do if left untreated. When you go in for an HIV test, you should also consider getting tested for STD’s. If you are an HIV+Positive barebacker, you may not need any more HIV tests, but you should definitely have yourself tested for STD’s every few months. And if any symptoms of STD’s appear, dont hesitate to go in immediately for tests. There are cures for many STD’s that can get you back in the sexual saddle in a very short time. The sooner you take care of an STD the less overall damage it will be able to do to your body. Left untreated, nearly all STD’s will do irreparable damage to your body, bones, and/or brain.
ABOUT: Usually associated more with women than men, Chlamydia is the most prevalent bacterial STD among both men and women. Approximately 2.8 million Americans are diagnosed with Chlamydia each year. It is transmitted through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Men who have sex with men are at high risk of becoming infected with Chlamydia.
SYMPTOMS: Only ˝ of infected men will show symptoms of Chlamydia, and any symptoms will show within 1 – 3 weeks of exposure. In men, the symptoms include a burning sensation in the urethra during urination, a discharge from the penis, or a burning/itching around the opening of the penis (pee hole). Rarely, men will also experience pain and swelling of the testicles.
Infection can spread up the urethral tube to the epididymus (the tube that carries sperm out of the testicles) causing pain, fever, and sterility, although this condition is rare. It can also (rarely) cause arthritis, skin lesions, and inflammation of the eye and urethra.
CURE: Chlamydia is diagnosed by taking a sample from inside the penis. It can be treated using antibiotics: a single treatment of azithromycin or a week long treatment of 2 hits of doxycycline should cure the infection. Treatment of Chlamydia is not permanent. The infection can recur at any time following unprotected sexual contact with an infected person.
ABOUT: Gonorrhea is caused by a bacteria that grows actively in warm, moist areas of the body, including the urethra, vagina, anus, mouth, throat, and eyes. In the US, approximately 700,000 cases of Gonorrhea are acquired each year, with the highest numbers among teens, young adults, and African Americans. The CDC estimates that only half the infections are reported to them. Gonorrhea infections have been on the upswing since 1999.
Gonorrhea is spread through direct sexual contact. Ejaculation isnt necessary to pass the disease to another. It can be passed from the top to the bottom, or from the bottom to the top.
SYMPTOMS: Gonorrhea does not always show symptoms in men. When it does, symptoms can appear as early as 5 days up to 30 days following infection. Symptoms of penile infection include a burning or itching in the urethra, thick white, yellow, or greenish discharge from the penis, and sometimes swollen, painful testicles. In a rectal infection, symptoms include burning and itching of the anus, discharge, soreness, bleeding, or painful bowel movements. An infection of the throat usually results in only a sore-throat type sensation without other symptoms.
Untreated, Gonorrhea can cause epidiymitis (painful condition affecting the testicles) which can cause infertility. It can spread to the blood system or the bodys joints where it can do all sorts of damage, some of which can be life threatening. A Gonorrhea infection can also make the body more susceptible to acquiring and transmitting HIV.
CURE: Gonorrhea can often be cured rather easily through one of several antibiotics. However, the CDC warns that there are drug resistant strains of Gonorrhea surfacing around the world making treatment more difficult. Gonorrhea is often found in tandem with Chlamydia, so oftentimes a doctor may prescribe treatment for both at the same time. Antibiotics can kill the infection, but will not repair any damage done by the disease.
ABOUT: There are several types of Hepatitis, a disease that attacks the liver. Hepatits B, also called simply HBV, is spread either through blood-to-blood contact (most commonly through needle-sharing) or sexual contact. Symptoms, when they occur, are the same in most people regardless of gender, and they are largely the result of the liver being unable to function properly.
SYMPTOMS: include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), fatigue, abdominal pain, dark urine, light feces, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and/or joint pain. Hepatitis B can cause chronic liver infection in 6% of adults who acquire Hepatitis B. 15-25% of chronically infected persons die as a result.
CURE: There is no cure for Hepatitis B other than a few months of bed rest as prescribed by your doctor. However there is a vaccine available against Hepatitis B (as well as Hepatitis A) which all sexually active people should get. Drugs are available to people with chronic Hepatitis B, but they do not cure the disease.
If you have had Hepatitis B, you should refrain from eating and drinking things that put a strain on your liver for 6 months or more following infection. This includes alcoholic beverages. Most people who recuperate from Hepatitis B will not become reinfected, although reinfection is possible in rare cases.
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ABOUT: Hepatitis C is a very serious, chronic form of Hepatitis that is transmitted most commonly by blood-to-blood contact, such as the sharing of needles with injected drugs. Persons who inject drugs like crystal meth (slamming) are at high risk of acquiring and transmitting Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a chronic disease and
SYMPTOMS: According to the CDC, 80% of those infected with Hepatitis C do not show symptoms, which can include jaundice of the skin and eyes, fatigue, dark urine, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and nausea.
CURE: There is no vaccine against Hepatitis C. Therefore the best prevention is to avoid slamming, or shooting up drugs and sharing needles. In some people, a combination therapy of drugs including interferon can get rid of the disease, depending on genotype. Persons infected with Hepatitis C should also avoid consuming alcoholic beverages as alcohol will strain the liver and could bring about other symptoms including death.
ABOUT: Genital Herpes is most often caused by Herpes Simplex II (HSV-2). It is a relatively common virus, affecting approximately 1 out of 5 people over 12 in the US. Research shows that men are more likely to transmit the virus than women. Herpes Simplex type I, the virus commonly known to cause cold sores or fever blisters around the mouth, can sometimes be responsible for causing Genital Herpes when a person infected with HSV-1 gives a blow job to someone or eats their ass. Following infection, the person who was infected by oral contact can pass the HSV-1 virus to another through normal sexual contact. Genital Herpes HSV-1 is less likely to recur in outbreaks as frequently as a Genital Herpes HSV-2 infection. Lesions from the disease do not have to be active to pass the disease along.
SYMPTOMS: A majority of people who become infected with HSV-2 will not exhibit any outward symptoms. When symptoms do appear, the first outbreak can be quite pronounced. The outbreak will generally occur within 14 days of the initial infection, and signs of the disease can last between 2 weeks and 1 month. The primary symptom is a crop of sores on or around the anus or the penis (in men). A second crop of sores can appear, as well as flu-like symptoms, fever, and swollen glands. Such symptoms can arise again up to 5 times in the following year, although they will become less frequent over time.
Symptoms can be much more severe in people with suppressed immune systems, such as those who are HIV+Positive. Additionally, Genital Herpes can make a person more susceptible to both acquiring and transmitting HIV. People infected with Genital Herpes should not have sex with uninfected partners during the course of an outbreak, and should inform potential sexual partners that they have Herpes prior to contact.
CURE: There is no cure for Herpes, although there are treatments and therapies that can shorten the duration of an outbreak and make transmission to another person more difficult.
HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
ABOUT: There are more than 100 variations or strains of the Human Papillomavirus. Over 30 of these strains fall under the category of sexually transmitted. Commonly referred to ass Genital Warts, HPV has recently been linked (in rare cases) to cancers of the anus or penis in men, and the cervix and vulva in women. HPV affects approximately 20 million people. Some HPV infections are relatively benign and clear up on their own, while others are precancerous.
Approximately 50 percent of sexually active men will have HPV in their lives, although only about 1% of the same men will have HPV at any one time. Penile cancer from HVP is considered extremely rare in circumcised men. Anal cancer is 17 times more prevalent in gay men than in heterosexual men, especially in HIV+Positive men.
SYMPTOMS: Some HPV infections go completely unnoticed. Genital Warts can appear on the penis, anus, scrotum, groin, or thigh. They usually appear within a few weeks or months of infection, may be flesh-colored or pinkish, small or large, raised or flat, single or multiple, and some may look cauliflower-like. There are no tests to diagnose HPV in men who exhibit no symptoms.
The variations of the virus that cause warts are not the same as the variations that cause cancer. If you exhibit genital warts, you are not necessarily at risk of getting cancer unless you also have a cancer causing variation and a suppressed immune system.
CURE: There is no cure for HPV, however there are treatments for removing genital warts caused by HPV. There is an anal PAP test available to men, and it is a good idea for men who are anally receptive (bottoms) to have this test done regularly.
ABOUT: Syphilis, one of the oldest-known STDs, is a bacteria spread through direct contact with a Syphilis sore. This means it must be transmitted sexually and not casually through contact with surfaces, objects, coughs, etc. Because Syphilis causes open sores called chancres, it has been shown that Syphilis increases the risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV by 2 to 5 times. Penetrative sex need not occur ~ all that is needed is for HIV-infected semen, blood, or other fluid to contact the chancre, and infection can occur.
SYMPTOMS: On men, Syphilis manifests on the penis, anus, rectum, lips, and mouth, and shows up as a flat, round, red sore called a chancre. It can also appear as several sores. Chancres appear on the average of 21 days following infection, though Syphilis can appear a few days to 3 months after initial infection. The chancre is generally small and painless, and it will disappear within three to six weeks. Disappearance of a chancre does not mean the Syphilis is cured.
The secondary infection of untreated Syphilis can manifest itself as a rash on the palms, bottoms of the feet, and other parts of the body that does not itch, and mucous membrane lesions. Other secondary symptoms can include swollen glands, fever, sore throat, hair loss in patches, head and muscle aches, weight loss, and fatigue. Again, these symptoms will clear up on their own, but the disease will move into the next stage.
The final stage of a Syphilis infection is sometimes called the latent stage. There will be no outward symptoms, but the disease will eat away at various organs of the body, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood cells, liver, bones, and joints. Muscle coordination, blindness, numbness and even dementia/madness can result as the disease takes its toll, and the damage can lead to the victims death as the body deteriorates.
CURE: Syphilis can be cured by intramuscular injection of penicillin or other antibiotics. The best success rate with cure is when the patient goes in for the injection within a year of initial infection. After a year, more than one injection of antibiotics may be required, and there is no repair for damage done by the disease. After a person has been cured of Syphilis, he can become infected again.
ABOUT: The most common treatable STD in both women and men. Approximately 7.4 million cases are reported each year. Trich usually appears in the urethra of the male and vagina of the female. While women can get Trich from both men and women, men usually only get a Trich infection from women.
SYMPTOMS: Men usually do not exhibit symptoms of Trich, aside from symptoms that mirror those of Gonorrhea: irritation inside the penis, mild discharge, and/or a slight burning after ejaculation or urination. Trich is harder to diagnose in men than in women.
Women infected with Trich can exhibit symptoms including a frothy yellow-green, foul smelling vaginal discharge, irritation/itching in the pelvic area, and pain in the lower abdomen. Symptoms may appear between 5 and 28 days after exposure.
Infected women can become much more susceptible to acquiring and spreading HIV, and pregnant women can give birth to premature and underweight babies.
CURE: Trichomoniasis can be cured with the drug metronidazole by pral application. Symptoms for Trich may also disappear in men on their own within a few weeks, but the man will remain contagious until treatment. There is no permanent cure for Trich, and it may be acquired again and again.
WARTS, GENITAL (see HPV/Human Papillomavirus)
CRABS / SCABIES
ABOUT: Crabs (Pubic Lice) and Scabies are not diseases, they are tiny little parasitic bugs that live off of the human body. Crabs are related to head lice, but rarely are found above the neck. They attach to body hair and suck blood from the host. Crabs usually are found in the pubic areas of the body, but they can also take up residence in other areas where there is body hair. Crabs cause itching wherever they feed. Scratching can lead to bacterial infections.
Scabies are microscopic mites that burrow under the skin and deposit eggs and feces, causing intense itching. Scabies are usually found in the webbing of fingers and toes, as well as in the crooks of elbows and behind the knees, and on men they can also be found on the penis. Like crabs, they are generally found below the neck. But unlike crabs, they do not attach to hair.
Both crabs and scabies are transmitted during sexual contact, regardless of whether condoms are used or not. They can also be transmitted by sharing/touching infested bedding, towels, and clothing.
SYMPTOMS: Crabs and their eggs can be seen where they attach to the hair. You might need a magnifying glass to see them. They may look like freckles due to their brown color. Scabies cannot be easily seen without a microscope. Both crabs and scabies cause severe itching. Scabies itch worse in the morning after waking, and after a warm shower.
CURE: Both scabies and crabs can be killed using over the counter insecticide shampoos, although prescription insecticide crčmes are more effective. Additionally, all bedding, clothing, and towels used by the person with the infestation should be washed in HOT water. Mattresses should be sprayed with a special pesticide spray, and in the case of scabies, the insides of shoes and leather items such as belts, wallets, and other apparel should be sprayed with the same insecticide. Failure to do this can lead to reinfestation.
If you buy second hand clothing, it is a good idea to wash it in hot water before wearing, as scabies and crabs can live without a host body for a few days. Another thing you can do with clothing that cant be washed in hot water is to seal it in a plastic bag for two weeks before wearing.
SOME ADDITIONAL POINTERS:
With the exception of Hepatitis, most STD’s can be had again and again, especially when protection is not being used. Antibiotics are not vaccines. They are useful for killing an existing disease, but they do not offer long lasting protection against future infections.
If you notice signs or symptoms of any STD, do not have sex until you have it checked out. If it turns out you have picked up an STD, follow the treatment ALL THE WAY THROUGH and make sure you are cured (if the STD is curable) before engaging in sexual contact again. If you do not finish the treatment or wait until the STD is cleared up, you may not be cured and you may pass the STD on to your sex partners.
If you test positive for any STD, you should also try to notify everyone you have had sex with in the previous month and let them know that they may bave been exposed to an STD. It helps to let them know which one they may have been exposed to.
One way you can keep good records of who you have sex with is to download and use a program called i-trick. I-trick lets you catalog your internet tricks, and include contact info, photos, screen names, dick sizes, physical stats, whether he is reliable or a flake, dates you hooked up, what you did, etc. And best of all it’s FREE.