5 common sexually transmitted diseases in Kenya

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are infections passed from one person to another through sexual contact. Sexually transmitted diseases can be caused by bacteria, yeast, viruses or parasites when you have unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the STD.

Common symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases   

It is possible to contract a sexually transmitted disease without developing symptoms. However, there are obvious symptoms that may vary in men and women.

In women

  • pain or discomfort during sex or urination
  • sores, bumps, or rashes on or around the vagina, anus, buttocks, thighs, or mouth
  • unusual discharge or bleeding from the vagina
  • itchiness in or around the vagina

In men

  • pain or discomfort during sex or urination
  • sores, bumps, or rashes on or around the penis, testicles, anus, buttocks, thighs, or mouth
  • unusual discharge or bleeding from the penis
  • painful or swollen testicles

Common sexually transmitted diseases

1. Gonorrhea

It is a serious bacterial infection of the genital tract in both men and women. Many people with gonorrhea develop no symptoms.

If untreated, it may lead to infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, infections of the urethra, prostate gland, or testicles.

It is also possible for a mother to pass gonorrhea onto a newborn during childbirth. This can lead to serious health complications for the baby.

2. Syphilis

It is a bacterial infection that when identified early enough, is easily treated with antibiotics. The first symptom to appear is a small round sore, known as a chancre. It can develop on your genitals, anus, or mouth. It’s painless but very infectious. If left untreated, it can lead to complications like mental illness, loss of sight, memory or hearing, infection in the brain or spinal cord or even death.

Syphilis can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth. The infection to a newborn can be fatal.

3. HPV (human papillomavirus)

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that can be passed from one person to another through intimate skin-to-skin or sexual contact. There are many different strains of the virus. Some of these strains can lead to oral, cervical, vulvar, penile and rectal cancer.

4. Chlamydia

This is a bacterial infection that may not cause any symptoms. However, if you are infected you can still infect others through sexual contact. Women can get chlamydia in the cervix, rectum, or throat while men can get it in the urethra (inside the penis), rectum, or throat.

If untreated, the complications are more serious in women than men. They include pelvic inflammatory disease which can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system. This can lead to long-term pelvic pain, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy.

5. Pubic lice

Pubic lice — also known as crabs — are small parasites that attach to the skin and hair near your genitals. Since transmission occurs during intimate contact, actual sexual intercourse is not necessary for the spread of pubic lice.

Sometimes pubic lice are spread by using an infected person’s clothes, towels, or bed.

Pubic lice are parasites, and they need to feed on human blood to survive. They are one of the three types of lice that live on humans. The other two types are head lice and body lice. Each type of lice is different, and getting one type does not mean that you will get another type.


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