Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) 101


Sexually transmitted diseases are a generic name for a series of transmissible infections through unprotected intercourse. Currently, the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remains high despite the advances made by modern medicine in diagnosing, treating and curing most of these diseases.

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What are the Risk Factors?

  • sexual contact with multiple partners
  • unprotected sexual contact (vaginal, oral, anal) – without the use of a condom
  • blood transfusions
  • using needles in common
  • manicure, pedicure, tattoos (tools that can cut or pierce the skin)

What are the Types of Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

By type of causal agent, sexually transmitted diseases can be classified as follows:

  • Caused by bacteria: gonorrhea (N. gonorrhea), syphilis (Treponema pallidum), Chlamydia trachomatis, Gardnerella vaginalis, etc.
  • caused by protozoa: Trichomonas vaginalis
  • caused by external parasites: Sarcoptes scabies (scabies), Pthirius pubis (broad lice)
  • of the viral type: Herpes simplex, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), HIV, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus

What are the Symptoms of STDs?

According to this website, the most common manifestations of BTS are:

  • unusual vaginal discharge/urethra as appearance, color or smell
  • persistent itching (itching) in the vaginal or perianal area
  • injuries, irritations, papules (swelling) or vesicles in the genital, perianal or other parts of the body
  • pain or fatigue during urination (dysuria)
  • pain during sex (dyspareunia)
  • discomfort in the genital area
  • pain in the lower abdomen

Symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease vary depending on the type of infection and may occur after a long time since infecting or may be completely absent.

Which Laboratory Tests Should be Performed?

  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is an infectious disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). In case of suspicion of infection, p24 antigen is detectable two weeks after unprotected sex, and antibody detection can be done after 3-4 weeks; a possible infection is excluded after three months.

The HIV 1 / HIV 2 screening (antibodies + p24 antigen) simultaneously detects HIV p24 antigen and type 1 and type 2 HIV antibodies. If the result of this test is positive, a confirmatory test is performed free of charge to determine if there is an HIV infection, thus eliminating possible false-positive reactions due to cross-reactions. Check out this URL.

How is HIV Infection Diagnosed?

The screening test simultaneously detects HIV p24 antigen and type 1 HIV (including “O”) and type 2 HIV antibodies.

Sifilis (Lues)

The causative agent is Treponema pallidum. Symptomatic pictures are small lesions in the skin and mucous membranes. Transmission occurs almost exclusively through sexual intercourse. The incubation time is 3 to 6 weeks, the detection of the infectious agent being possible 2-3 weeks after the infection. After the formation of small, painless ulcerations, in the genital, anal or oral area, syphilis “disappears” returning under different forms and degrees of severity.

Recommended Medical Blood Tests

  • Specific: TPHA
  • Non-specific: VDRL / RPR

Chlamydia Trachomatis

In women, the infection is located in the cervix and is often asymptomatic. Untreated can affect the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Newborns with infected mothers may develop conjunctivitis, nasopharyngeal infections, and C. trachomatis pneumonia. In men, untreated infection (frequently asymptomatic) causes epididymitis (major complication).


Infection in adults occurs exclusively as a result of unprotected sex, the causative agent being Neisseria gonorrhoeae. In men, after a relatively short incubation period (2 to 10 days), inflammation of the urethra associated with painful (dysuria) urination and a purulent leak occurs. In women, the symptoms are much less pronounced; they can be mistaken for bladder infections (cystitis).

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In women, the detection of Neisseria gonorrhoeae RNA is done in the urine (first-morning urine) or from endocervical secretion Candidiasis (Candida albicans) About 90% of Candidiasis is caused by C. albicans, and infections can be acute (superficial) or subacute (invasive). Severe infections cause lesions in the mouth, genital, tegument and nail cavity epithelium. Subacute infections can affect the respiratory epithelium (bronchi, lungs), heart or meninges. In immunosuppressed patients (AIDS), C. albicans can cause severe necrosis in infected tissues and death in the case of pneumonia.

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