Hint: Diseases or infections that are transmitted through sexual intercourse are collectively referred to as sexually transmitted diseases or venereal diseases or reproductive tract infections. Early symptoms of most of these are minor and infected individuals may be asymptomatic. Sexually transmitted diseases are a major threat to a healthy society. Therefore prevention or early detection and early cure of these diseases are of primary concern.
A very common sexually transmitted disease is called AIDS or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is characterised by the deficiency of the immune system, acquired during the lifetime of an individual indicating that it is not a congenital disease.
AIDS is a viral disease, caused by the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, a member of a group of viruses called a retrovirus, which has an envelope enclosing the RNA genome. The T- helper cells are severely decreased during AIDS.
This virus can transmit through sexual contact with infected people, by transfusion of contaminated blood and blood products, by sharing infected needles as in the case of intravenous drug abusers or it can also transmit from infected mother to her child through the placenta.
Another example of sexually transmitted disease is Hepatitis - B. It is a viral disease and unlike AIDS, hepatitis B is completely curable if early detected. It attacks the liver and causes severe liver damage and ultimately jaundice.
The virus causing hepatitis B is named as Hepatitis B virus or HBV. This virus transmits through the parenteral route and sexual route. It can also cross the placenta. A most severe type of hepatitis among all is hepatitis B.
Note: Though all the persons are vulnerable to these sexually transmitted infections, their incidences are reported to be very high among persons of young age group. These diseases can be prevented if a person avoids sex with an unknown partner or multiple partners and if a person always uses condoms during coitus. In case of any doubt, one should go to a qualified doctor for early detection and get complete treatment if diagnosed with the disease.