Types of STD common in Africa – Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Africa
1. HIV-Human Immunodeficiency Virus
The HIV-Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a disease that leads in AIDS- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. With no cure the HIV has affected many Africans leaving many orphans. The disease attacks the body immunity leaving it exposed to infections and attack by other diseases. In Africa it is estimated that 24.7 million people are living with HIV and every year it is estimated there are 1.5 million new infections every year. Africa is the mostly affected as it accounts for around 71% of people living with HIV. Massive camping on protection against HIV has reduced the rate of new infections. The signs and symptoms of HIV vary but some include coughing, weight loss, diarrhea, swollen lymph, skin rashes etc. Although researcher are working tirelessly to find cure for the disease, the infected people have no option than to eat healthy, exercise, have one sexual partner and take medication.
2. HPV- Human Papillomavirus
The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the silent STD that affect majority of the African people. The reason why this disease is common is because it can affect any person who is sexually active regardless of the number of partners. Even after sleeping with someone infected, it can take some years before some people see the symptoms. HPV can spread through all the types of sexual activities be it oral, vaginal or anal. Research has shown that all sexually active persons will at one time get some type of HPV. Prolonged untreated HPV may results in cancer especially cervical cancer. Some of signs of HPV include genital warts, bleeding especially during intercourse, prolonged itching and swollen genitals
In Africa gonorrhea is not so much prevalent like HIV. Gonorrhea is a bacterial disease that thrives well in mucus membranes in the body. That is why most parts to be affected by gonorrhea include, uterus, mouth, cervix, urethra, fallopian tubes, throat, anus etc. Some of the signs include thick cloudy discharge, bloody discharge, itchiness around the genitals, painful urination, movement of bowels and many others
4. Hepatitis A, B or C
Among the types of STD common in Africa is Hepatitis virus. In Africa the prevalence of Hepatitis C is approximated to be around 0-14 percent. Since the treatment of the hepatitis C is expensive people suffering from these chronic disease may die of the infection. Hepatitis B and A are common with people having the HIV. The hepatitis virus is usually dormant in the body. However after around six months after infection some signs may develop which should prompt one to go for checkup. Some of the signs of hepatitis include fever, nausea, unpracticed fatigue, itchiness etc. Chronic hepatitis may cause liver inflammation hence infected people should seek treatment to avoid such effects.
In Africa there some reported cases of syphilis. This STD has three stages including primary stage, secondary stage and tertiary stage syphilis. For some having primary stage syphilis they will have symptoms such as sores around the genitals or the mouth. These will appear after around three weeks of exposure or infection. Secondary syphilis may portray symptoms after six weeks to six months after exposure. Some of the signs in these stages include rashes in any part of the body especially the hands and feet. The dangers of tertiary syphilis are more detrimental if untreated. It may lead to massive damage of the brain, heart and can even lead to paralysis, blindness and even death. Compared to developed world where new infection have been reduced, in Africa there at least 400,000 children who developed or dies because of congenital syphilis. In this region the disease is highly correlated to HIV.
Approximately 80% of Africans infected by chlamydia are unaware of it. This is because the symptoms are normally overlooked hence leading to delayed treatment which make it hard to be cured. Some of the signs and symptoms of this STD include genital discharge, pain in the lower abdomen, Burning sensation/painful urination etc. Untreated chlamydia may lead to infection of the prostate, cervix, urethra, uterus etc. These infections may later results in infertility, ectopic pregnancies or inability to carry a pregnancy to full term.
7. Genital Herpes
The infection rate of genital herpes is high in Africa than in developed world. This is because genital herpes patients are more susceptible to HIV/AIDS infection and vice versa. Even with the use of condom the virus can actually be transferred as the virus may be present on the areas that remain unprotected. Symptoms may appear after days, weeks, months or even years after infection. Genital herpes symptoms include blisters around the mouth & genital, flu-like symptoms such fever & fatigue, bleeding between the periods for ladies, burning sensation when urinating etc. Genital herpes has no cure; individuals who have early outbreak symptoms may anticipate having 4-5 outbreaks within one year. With time the body immunity becomes strong hence the outbreaks reduces or it ceases.
8. Bacterial varginosis
Bacterial varginosis is common among the African women. Majority of women will have this infection several times per year. This infection is usually mild and it disappears. For women with many sexual partners and those who douche the infection rate is higher and if untreated it may lead to some health problems such as pelvic infection, miscarriage for pregnant mothers and increased chances of getting other STD’s such as HIV.
Among the STD common in Africa includes Trichomoniasis is caused by a bacterium recognized as Trichomonas vaginalis. The disease mostly affect women because men rarely experience any symptoms, they only get to know of its presence when their female partner have the signs. The symptoms in women include pain during urination, itchiness, green-yellowish discharge, pain/discomfort during intercourse etc. The disease can be treated by antibiotics.
Although the Africa governments are trying to reduce the HIV prevalence rate, much effort is still needed to lower new infections for the above types of STD common in Africa. The people need education on how to prevent further infection.