Types of skin rash caused by STDs

Warning signs of STDs

Sexual intercourse may have many possitive aspects, but it also means the risk of catching a sexually transmitted disease (STD). There are ways to lower this risk, using a condom being the best in most cases, but there is always a chance, however slim, to get an infection from oral, anal and/or vaginal sex. Some forms of intercourse are riskier than others - anal sex being the most likely to get you sick, and this is why men who have sex with men are the focus of many specific sexual health campaigns. However, the only surefire way to be away from most STDs is sexual abstinence. For those who have an active sex life, it is reccommendable to keep watch on their own sexual practices and possible symptoms or risk factors for sexually transmitted infections.

Each infection has its own profile of symptoms, but most of them can be confused with other diseases with similar manifestation or even have no symptoms at all. The later are the most dangerous ones because unless you get a routine check, you cannot find out that you have it. This means that you might pass it on to other people, as well as suffer from the consequences of the infection in your body.

STDs that have initial symptoms can be identified, but in most cases you have to see a doctor and get tested in order to confirm the infection. In this article we will focus on one of the main warning signs of a sexually transmitted infection, the skin rash.

Which STDs cause skin rashes?

Many sexually transmitted infections have dermatological symptoms, which are often a warning sign of STDs. It is important that you learn to identify them, especially if you are at an increased risk of catching an STD. In example, gonorrhea rarely has any symptoms but when you catch it from oral sex on a penis, mucous - inner skin - of your throat may become sore. It is easy to mistake this symptom for a regular cold or sore throat, so the infection often goes unnoticed.

Some STDs have very characteristic dermatological symptoms, like the ulcers associated with herpes, but few people know that there are sexually transmitted infections that cause rashes. These are often mistaken by allergies, and for this reason it is important to learn about this so you can get checked in time and lower your chances of getting worse. Click here for a slideshow with details of skin rashes caused by the most common STDs.

Syphillis is one of the infections that may be behind an unexplained skin rash. Syphillis rashes do not itch, which is characteristic of this infection. They can appear in any part of the body, but the usual places include soft skin like genitalia, soles or the back of hands.

A skin rash that does itch is common after two or three weeks of catching HIV. An HIV rash is reddish and has mixed features, combining macculae (stains) with bumps. HIV medication can also cause this sort of rash as a normal reaction to the retroviral drugs.

If you have a skin rash, get tested!

The only way to know for sure that a skin rash isn't caused by a sexually transmitted infection is to get tested. Sexually active people, especially those who are at an increased risk - i.e. people who exchange partners frequently, those who have a new sexual partner, or men who have sex with men - should get tested regularly. STDs are treatable and most of them are also curable, in most cases some doses of antibiotics will do the job just fine. However, these infections need to be detected first, and only a urine or blood sample, or a vaginal swab in case of women, can help you detect an infection.

Good news is that it is becoming increasingly easy to get tested. You no longer need to make an appointment and go to a genitourinary practice, dermatological facility or hospital to get tested. There are websites where you can send pictures of your rash - or any other symptom on your skin - and get almost immediate feedback with the opinion of a dermatologist. If you need medical treatment, your doctor will prescribe it as well.

You can get tested from your home and confirm your diagnosis, or at least get orientation in the sort of test you need to take, at Reclaim your Skin (reclaimyourskin.co.uk), an online dermatological clinic with great attention and the best doctors working at your service. Visit the site and follow the instructions, they are very simple. You know what they say, better safe than sorry!

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