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Sexually Transmitted Diseases Essay, Research Paper

Death can come in many different shapes and forms in the life of a human being. When life is brought into the world, one thing is for certain, and that is life will eventually end. It is a fact of life that can not be ignored or overlooked. Thousands of people die each day, and each person falls into different causes of death. Some causes can not be helped or prevented, others can be. People die that does not need to die. Humans tend to have many flaws, and sometimes allow them to overpower their flesh. Why does the human mind make people do the things he or she knows will risk their lives? Is it the thrill of it, or is it plain stupidity? Unnatural death today seems to lie mostly with the youth, be it by disease or by violence. Most causes of death can be prevented. Sex in today’s world is a vital issue, since the AIDS virus and STDs have recently lead to many causes of death in the American Society. The most studied STDs in Pinellas and Hillsborough County in Florida are Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia, amongst the female gender between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four.

One of the older STDs that have been in effect since ancient history time is Syphilis. The disease can be cured by penicillin, if not too late. It spreads quickly and through open sores of the mouth, genitals, or anus. “Within half an hour of being infected, the disease has spread to the lymph nodes in the genital area. Then the disease goes into the bloodstream, which carries them into just about every part of the body” (Broadman, Thacker, and Kranz 42). This disease under goes four stages, starting with primary Syphilis. The primary stage takes place from three to eight weeks which has an infectious agent called the spirochete Treponema pallidum. Its symptoms include sores outside or inside the mouth and genital area that are non-painful, these are ulcers called Chancre. The secondary stage of Syphilis takes place six months later which include symptoms of non-painful rashes on the soles of feet, swollen joints, aching bones, and headache. “The third stage of syphilis is known as latent stage. Latent means ‘lying in wait,’ and it reflects the fact that at this stage, there are no symptoms. All the time, however, the disease is lying in wait, eating away at the heart, the brain, or other organs, and can go on for twenty years ” (Brodman, Thacker, and Kranz 44). The late stage of Syphilis is the final stage, which includes harsh symptoms of blindness, insanity, or crippling. Congenital Syphilis is when a child is born with the disease given by the mother. Syphilis is contagious enough to get it by sharing food, bathroom, or utensils.

Another highly contagious STD is Gonorrhea. This disease has been cured in the past with anti-biotic, but in recent situations the disease has been resisting medication. Gonorrhea’s infectious agent is Neisseria gonorrhoae, a bacteria. The symptoms are different in men and women, but includes “yellow or greenish mucous-like discharge.” “A female may have burning on urination or pelvic pain. A male often may have burning with urination, and may notice a stain in his underwear” (www.doh.state.fl.us). Some thirty to fifty percent of women infected with the disease have no kind of symptoms at all. If women do receive symptoms, they are less visual than men are and last a shorter time than men as well. A women would most likely to get infected in the cervix. Burning sensation of urinating is also a female symptom. Untreated females with the disease can cause it to spread to the Skene’s glands and Bartholin’s glands. If there is further spreading, it can lead to PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease), which can cause permanent sterility. “Both men and women can also get gonorrhea in the rectum, the throat, and the eye” (Brodman, Thacker, and Kranz 31). This is so because both the penis and the vagina have discharges that contains gonococci, which infect any moist, warm surface. Sterility in both men and women can occur if the disease is not treated early enough. “Transmission of the gonococcus is almost wholly by sexual intercourse and survival of the organism depends entirely on sexual promiscuity” (Brown et al. 85).

The most common and fairly new STD in America is Chlamydia. This disease is only approximately twenty-five years old, but spreads faster than any other STD. “About one-fourth of all men and one-half of all women who have it do not have any way of knowing about it unless they get tested for it” (Brodman, Thacker, and Kranz 26). Its infectious agent is called Chlamydia trachmatis, a bacteria. Symptoms may include yellow or mucous-like discharge from the vagina or penis. Men and women are infected differently as with Gonorrhea. Most women will be infected in the cervix, “…they don’t have any visible symptoms and may easily infect men through contact between the penis and the cervix” (Brodman, Thacker, and Kranz 27). Women might also get PID with chlamydia, just one bad infection increase damage to her fallopian tubes by twelve percent, which can lead to permanent sterility. A second serious infection increases her infertility by forty percent, and a third infection by eighty percent. A man will usually get infected in his urethra, causing to have abnormal discharge, and pain while urinating. More serious symptoms with men are arthritis and inflammation of the eyes. On the other hand, chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics.

The female gender has recently created a high rate in sexually transmitted diseases. Women are generally at higher risk because the efficiency of male-to-female transmission of STD is greater than female-to-male. The increase of the incidence of STDs has caused a great concern. “This incidence has been associated with the use of crack cocaine and the related practice of sex in exchange for drugs” (Campbell 18). Young black women in urban areas are the most prevalent in these sex and drugs exchanges. “Crack users often have coexisting untreated STDs, particularly genital ulceration, which heighten vulnerability to HIV infection” (Campbell 14). The rate of STD infection, including syphilis and gonorrhea, among ten to nineteen year old girls is three to four time higher than the rate among ten to nineteen year old boys. However, the males that are over twenty years of age are at a higher rate than females over twenty years of age. This shows that women that are infected with STD had male partners who are older. Another practice of the female gender that increases the rate of STD transmission is prostitution. A great concern has overwhelmed Americans about female prostitution because the prostitutes could infect their customers who could infect their wives or girlfriends. “Women most often enter prostitution because of poverty” (Campbell 74). However, by virtue of their profession, they must depend on men as their economic support, which has cause great concern of sexual exploitation.

Women also carry a vital role of caregiving of their children. For instance, a woman infected with syphilis can pass it on to her unborn child, which is called congenital syphilis. “About twenty-five percent of infected fetuses die inside the mother’s body” (Brodman, Thacker, and Kranz 44). Many children that survive develop symptoms of the third stage of syphilis between seven and fifteen years of age. An infected pregnant woman with gonorrhea may infect her baby as the baby passes through the birth canal. When the baby comes in contact with the gonorrhea, the baby might go blind. On the other hand, “Women in general are more likely than men to care for their children, spouses, friends, and elderly relatives” (Campbell 144). Women play an important role as mothers and supporters, therefore it is more important for women to take care of themselves, and get treated for any kind of STD.

A closer look at the area we live can show where we stand with STDs by age and gender. In our area, Pinellas and Hillsborough County Florida, the Florida Department of Health Division of Disease Control has recorded a surveillance report of Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, and Congenital Syphilis. Throughout the year of 1999, there have been 1,802 recorded cases of Gonorrhea, 2,795 cases of Chlamydia, 16 cases of Syphilis, and only 4 cases of Congenital Syphilis in Hillsborough county. The same year also records 1,839 cases of Gonorrhea, 1,274 cases of Chlamydia, 4 cases of Syphilis, and one case of Congenital Syphilis in Pinellas county. Gonorrhea ranks as the sixth disease and Chlamydia ranks as the second disease in Hillsborough County. In Pinellas county, Gonnorhea ranks as the fifth disease while Chlamydia ranks sixth.

Females age fifteen through twenty-nine, rate the highest in Florida. Teenagers and those in their early twenties are at the highest risk for STDs and many reasons include vulnerability, drugs, and different sex partners. The age group of 15-29 years of age has proven over the past year of 1999, that they had the highest rate of reported STDs. Since the female gender plays more important roles, their statistics on STD are very important. In Florida, the highest number of cases of Syphilis in 1988-1998, are in the age group of twenty-five through twenty-nine. This total came out to be 2,225 cases of Syphilis for this age group of the female gender. Also, Gonorrhea ranks the highest STD among Florida’s ages of fifteen through nineteen, and the total cases is 35,062 for this age group of the female gender. Moreover, Chlamydia ranks the highest STD that is also among the ages of fifteen through in Florida (www.doh.state.fl.us).

The cases of Clamydia of the female gender between these ages totaled up to 45,887. All these statistics are based on a ten-year surveillance (www.doh.state.fl.us).

Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia are the most recently studied STDs in Pinellas and Hillsborough County in Florida amongst the female gender between the ages of 15-29. Since there have been so many attacks, we should educate Florida’s students on sex. The statistics shows that we must. The youth is our future, and it is important for any government to establish sex education in the school’s systems. Statistics show that the highest rates of the major STDs are amongst teenagers and older young people. By starting in school and educating our future to protect themselves and have more respect for themselves, rates of STDs of the state of Florida can be lessen. More importantly, since women play important roles in family and social lives, they too should especially be informed about STDs and other venereal diseases. Practicing safe sex is the way to go, or do not have sex at all. The best contraceptive is always, and will be, abstinence.


Brodman, Michael. Straight Talk About Sexually Transmitted Diseases. New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1993

Campbell, Carole. Women, Families & HIV/AIDS. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999

Brown, William. Syphilis and Other Venereal Diseases. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard UP, 1970

Florida Department of Health Division of Disease Control. 21 Mar. 2000 http://www.doh.state.fl.us/disease-ctrl/std/trends/florida/isenyr.htm.


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