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STD Prevention: People Often Don't Know They are Infected

On June 10, 2014, at the STD Prevention Conference in Atlanta, The U.S. National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention presented evidence that many people with sexually transmitted diseases do not know that they are infected and therefore do not seek treatment.

Their statistics show that almost two million North Americans are infected with chlamydia, and more than 400,000 do not know that they have it. Women are at high risk for being infected and having no symptoms at all. Chlamydia infection rates are highest among sexually active girls aged 14 to 19 (6.4 percent). The rate among sexually active boys aged 14 to 19 is 2.4 percent. These findings suggest that all sexually active teenagers should be tested for chlamydia. Failure to get rid of chlamydia can cause permanent infertility.

Chlamydia, mycoplasma and ureaplasma are among the smallest organisms. They are unlike other bacteria because they have no cell walls and therefore must live inside cells. They are unlike viruses because they can live in cultures outside of cells and can be killed by certain antibiotics. However, they cannot be killed by most antibiotics, as most antibiotics work by damaging a bacteria’s cell wall. They can be killed by antibiotics such as the tetracyclines or erythromycins that do not act on a cell wall.

If you feel sick and your doctor is unable to make a diagnosis because all laboratory tests and cultures fail to reveal a cause, you could be infected with any of these bacteria. The only way that you will be cured is for your doctor to suspect an infection with these germs and for you to take long-acting erythromycin or tetracyclines for several weeks, months or years. They are the most common cause of venereal diseases and are a common cause of muscle and joint pains, burning in the stomach, a chronic cough, and chronic fatigue. They can cause transverse myelitis (paralysis of the spine); gall stones; a chronic sore throat; red itchy eyes, pain on looking at light and blindness; arthritis; brain and nerve damage with symptoms of lack of coordination, headaches and passing out; spotting between periods or uterine infections; kidney stones; testicular pain; asthma; heart attacks; strokes; cerebral palsy; premature birth; high blood pressure; nasal polyps; stuffy nose in newborns; chronic fatigue; belly pain; muscle pain; confusion; coughing, bloody diarrhea, and anal itching and bleeding. More on chlamydia diagnosis and treatment

June 15th, 2014
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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