Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. Long term undetected infection with Chlamydia can eventually damage reproductive organs. Chlamydia is usually spread through vaginal, oral, or anal contact with someone who is already infected.
A person might not have symptoms of infection. Men can sometimes have a white or clear water discharge from the penis. Women might notice more discharge or odors coming from the vagina. It may also burn or hurt to urinate. Both men and women might have complaints of lower abdominal pain. You will want a Chlamydia test 1-3 weeks after a perceived exposure.
Chlamydia infects the cervical cells in women and can cause spasms and cramping, low back pain, fever, nausea or pain during intercourse. Men will sometimes notice burning or itching around the tip of their meatus. Untreated Chlamydia can lead to sterility in both sexes and can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in women, which can create irreversible damage to the uterus and surrounding tissue. You are at a higher risk of acquiring HIV if infected with ChlamydiaÑthe irritated and damaged tissue allows an easy passageway for HIV to be transmitted.
Chlamydia screening is recommended once a year in healthy adults and FITÕs recommendation is screening every 3 months for sexually active individuals. We collect a urine sample to check for Chlamydia (oral and rectal testing is currently only available to males).
If you are given medicine to take for the Chlamydia infection, abstain from sex for one week after completion of taking the medications. We recommend that you notify all partners of your infection and we can treat them at FIT Health Care as well.
To help prevent transmission and infection of Chlamydia, we recommend using latex condoms (or polyurethane condoms if you have a latex allergy). Again, abstain from sex for at least a week after completing the round of medications to help prevent the spread of the bacteria.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. This bacterium rapidly reproduces in warm, moist environments, such as the urethral tract and reproductive organs. Other common sites for infections include the throat, eyes, and anus.
Symptoms typically include a green or yellowish discharge from the penis, vagina, or anus. Pain with urination is common and cramping, colicky spasms can be frequently noticed. In women, gonorrhea infections can be mistaken for vaginal or bladder infections and often misdiagnosed. You will notice these symptoms as early as 2-3 days after infection, to as late as 2-4 weeks after exposure and sometimes longer. You will want a gonorrhea test 3-10 days after a perceived exposure.
Throat infections with gonorrhea are often overlooked as well and mistaken for strep throat or simple pharyngitis. Rectal infections with gonorrhea are becoming more common, as people engage in sexual activities. A simple culture of the areas with a swab can often pick up the bacterial infection and medications can cure the infection completely. Untreated infections with gonorrhea can cause sterility in both sexes, damage to heart tissue, and irritation and damage to reproductive organs and tissue.
Gonorrhea screening is recommended once a year in healthy adults and FIT’s recommendation is screening every 3 months for sexually active individuals. We collect a urine sample to check for Gonorrhea, or swab for throat or rectal testing.(throat and rectal testing is currently only available to males).
If you are given medicine to take for the Gonorrhea infection, FIT recommends that you abstain from sex and alcohol 7 to 10 days after completion of taking the medications. We recommend that you notify all partners of your infection and we can treat them at FIT Health Care as well. Only have sex with sex with prior partners who you know to have been tested and treated to avoid reinfection.
To help prevent transmission and infection of Gonorrhea, we recommend using latex condoms (or polyurethane condoms if you have a latex allergy). Again, abstain from sex for at least 7 to 10 days after completing the round of medications to help prevent the spread of the bacterial infection also known as an STI .
Viral hepatitis, including hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, are distinct diseases that affect the liver. Each type of hepatitis has different hepatitis symptoms and causes. Treatments for hepatitis also depend on the type.
Hepatitis A (hep A) is a viral infection of the liver that can make you feel like you have the flu. It does not lead to chonic (long-term) infection. Once you have had hepatitus A you cannot get it again. Adults will have signs and symptoms more often than children. About 15% of people infected with HAV will have prolonged or relapsing symptoms over a 6-9 month period.
Symptoms can include: jaundice, fatique, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, light stool, nausea, diarrhea, fever and dark urine. The incubation period is 2–7 weeks, and averages 4 weeks.
HAV is usually spread from person to person by putting something in the mouth (even though it may look clean) that has been contaminated with the stool (feces) from a person with hepatitus A. Another route of transmission is from eating contaminated food and water. Risk of infection is high in households with infected persons, sex partners of intected persons (especially persons with children), persons traveling to countries where hepatitus A is common, men who have sex with men, and drug users either injecting or non-injecting.
The best protection is the Hepatitus A vaccine. Short-term protection is available from immune globulin and can be given before and within 2 weeks after coming in contact with HAV. Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing and eating food.
The vaccine is recommended for persons 12 months and older: men who have sex with men, injecting and non-injecting drug users, persons with clotting-factor disorders (e.g. hemophilia), persons with chronic liver disease, and children living in areas with increased rates of hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B (HBV) is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. The virus can cause liver cell damage, leading to cirrhosis and cancer, and has an incubation period of 6–23 weeks averaging 17 weeks. The symptoms include jaundice, fatique, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and joint pain.
Transmission occurs when blood from and infected person enters the body of a person who is not infected. HBV is spread through having sex with an infected person without using a condom (the efficacy of latex condoms in preventing infection with HBV is unknown, but their proper use may reduce transmission); by sharing drugs, needles, or “works” when “shooting” drugs; through needle-sticks or sharps exposures on the job, or from and infected mother to her baby during birth. Transmission can also occur with contact with infected blood, seminal fluid, vaginal secretions, as well as through tattoo and body piercing tools.
Persons at risk for HBV infection might also be at risk for infection with hepatitis C (HCV) or HIV. Chronic infection occurs in 90% of infants infected at birth, 30% of children infected at age 1–5 years, and 6% of persons infected after age 5. Death from chronic liver disease occurs in 15–25% of chronically infected persons.
Hepatitis B vaccine is the best protection. If you are having sex, but not with one steady partner, use latex condoms correctly every time you have sex. If you are pregnant, you should get a blood test of hepatitis B, infants born to HBV-infected mothers should be given HBIG (hepatitis B immune globulin) and vaccine within 12 hours after birth. Do not share personal care items that might have blood on them (razors, toothbrushes). Consider the risks if you are thinking of getting a tattoo or body piercing.
If you have or had hepatitus B, do not donate blood, organs or tissue. If you are a healthcare or public safety worker, get vaccinated against hepatitis B, and always follow routine barrier precautions and safely handle needles and other sharps.
HBV infected persons should be evaluated by their doctors for liver disease. Adefovir dipivoxil, interferon alfa-2b, pegylated interferon alfa-2a, lamivudine, and entecavir are 5 drugs used for the treatment of persons with chronic hepatitis B. These drugs should not be used by pregnant women. Drinking alcohol can make your liver disease worse.
Hepatitis C (HCV) is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver, and can lead to cirrhosis and cancer. 80% of persons infected will have no signs or symptoms. Symptoms include: jaundice, fatique, dark urine, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and nausea. The incubation period is 2–25 weeks, average 7–9 weeks.
Transmission occurs when blood from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not infected. HCV is spread through sharing needles or “works” when “shooting” drugs, through needle-sticks and sharps exposures on the job, or from an infected mother to her baby during birth.
There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. Do not shoot drugs, if you shoot drugs, stop and get into a treatment program. If you can’t stop, never share needles, syringes, water, or “works” and get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B. Do not share personal care items that might have blood on them (razors, toothbrushes). If you are a healthcare or public safety worker, always follow routine barrier precautions and safely handle needles and sharps, and get vaccinated against hepatitis B. Consider the risks if you are considering getting a tattoo or body piercing. HCV can be spread by sex, but this is rare. If you are having sex with more than one steady sex partner, use latex condoms correctly and and every time to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. If you are HCV positive, do not donate blood, organs or tissue.
HCV positive persons should be evaluated by their doctors for liver disease. Interferon and ribavirin are 2 drugs licensed for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. Interferon can be taken alone or in combination with ribavirin. Combination therapy, using pegylated interferon and ribavirin, is currently the treatment of choice, and can get rid of the virus in up to 5 out of 10 persons for genotype 1 and in up to 8 out of 10 persons for genotype 2 and 3. Drinking alcohol can make your liver disease worse.