When it comes to diseases, the sexually transmitted variety (STDs) are no joke. And while you may be more familiar with the most common strains such as herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis (not to mention HIV and AIDS) — it turns out there are four emerging ones to worry about. Since STDs are on the rise in America, it’s important to stay on top of those that can pose a serious threat to public health. Here’s the lowdown on everything you should know about these new pathogens.
A Lethal STD That Invades Your Brain
Like its name implies, neisseria meningitidis is capable of causing invasive meningitis, meaning, a potentially lethal infection to the brain and spinal cord’s protective membranes. It’s particularly of great risk to children and young adults worldwide. According to CNN, roughly 5 to 10 percent of adults carry N. meningitidis in the back of the nose and throat. “Studies suggest they can potentially transmit the bacteria to partners through oral sex, deep kissing or other kinds of close contact that transmit infected droplets.”
The Superbug That Makes You Sterile
Mycoplasma genitalium was first identified by scientists in the early 1980s — as of today, the pathogen has been found to infect “an estimated 1 to 2 percent of people and is especially common in adolescents and young adults.”
In men, the STD causes non-gonococcal urethritis, and triggers pelvic inflammatory disease in women, which has been associated with infertility, miscarriage, premature birth and even stillbirth. Even scarier? The superbug has become increasingly resistant to antibiotics and is more prevalent than ever.
STDs That Mess With Your Stomach
Ready for this unpleasant reality check? Shigella flexneri is passed on by direct or indirect contact with human feces. TMI? We agree, but that’s not the worst of it. The STD causes severe stomach cramps and explosive bouts of blood- and mucus-filled diarrhea, which helps perpetuate transmission of the bacteria. And you guessed it, the infection is transmitted through anal-oral sex — yet another reason to practice these safety measures.
Similarly, Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a doozy. Caused by unusual strains of Chlamydia trachomatis, LGV can initially appear with a temporary genital pimple, blister or ulcer, and then invade the body’s lymphatic system. “Rectal infection can mimic inflammatory bowel disease and lead to chronic and severe colon and rectal abnormalities such as fistulas and strictures,” reports CNN.
Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)