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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

(STDs)

Goals/Objectives

The group will be able to identify the most common STDs, summarize appropriate prevention measures and recognize high-risk behaviors.

Instructional Procedure

Focusing Event/Icebreaker

See suggestions in Ice Breaker page

 

Teaching Procedure

Assess the level of awareness concerning topic.

What do they know about HIV, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, chlamydia and genital herpes?

Facilitate discussion and participation

Encourage sharing of opinions/experiences or questions/concerns.

Lesson Content

High-Risk Behaviors

High-risk behaviors are those behaviors that increase a persons risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease:

  • Multiple sexual partners

    A history of STDs

    Practice of unprotected sex or the use of non-barrier types of protection

    IV drug use and the sharing of dirty needles

    Reckless drug or alcohol use

  • HIV - An Overview

    Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that destroys the immune system and affects the body's ability to fight infection.

    Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the deadly final phase of the HIV infection.

    Many illnesses that attack patients with AIDS do not usually cause disease in healthy persons.

    Illnesses and infections of this type are often called opportunistic infections.

    They normally do not have an opportunity to cause serious disease in persons whose immune systems are intact.

    HIV does not discriminate between individuals. Men, women and children from all races, ethnicities, communities and sexual orientations can contract HIV. Presently, there is no cure for this fatal disease. However, treatment can slow the progression of HIV.

    Signs and Symptoms of HIV

    Swollen lymph nodes

    Persistent fatigue and general feelings of poor health

    Recurring or prolonged fevers, chills, or night sweats

    Sore throat

    Increased susceptibility to colds, yeast infections, cold sores, fungal infections in the mouth, and others infections

    Loss of appetite and unintentional weight loss

    Cough or breathing problems

    Changes in bowel habits, such as frequent diarrhea or constipation

    Outbreaks of skin rashes or discolorations, especially purplish lesions

    Tenderness or pain in the muscles and joints

    Vision disturbances Memory loss, confusion, and personality changes

    Transmission

    Primarily through sexual contact and by contact with infected blood or blood products

    Through sexual activity (vaginal, anal or oral) and contact with an infected persons blood, semen and/or vaginal secretions

    Any open wound or abrasion that comes in contact with the body fluids of an infected person

    Sharing needles for the purpose of drug use or administration with an infected individual

    Pregnant women may pass the virus to their unborn children

    Prevention and Treatment

    Uninfected persons should avoid sexual contact with persons from the high risk groups or those known to be infected with the virus

    Limit number of sexual partners or practice abstinence

    Practice "safe sex" which involves the use of latex condoms to decrease risk of transmission, avoiding sexual practices such as unprotected anal intercourse and oral-genital contact

    Infected women should avoid pregnancy which could increase the risk of AIDS and often leads to the birth of an infected infant

    Presently, there is no cure for this fatal disease. However, treatment can slow the progression of HIV.

  •  
  • Syphilis - An Overview

    Syphilis is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease that can cause severe damage in almost every organ in the body.

    This disease is treatable but if left untreated it can progress through three distinct stages, each worse than the last. Once progression reaches the third and final stage, damage is irreversible and nothing can be done to cure the condition.

    Early identification and immediate intervention are essential in effective treatment and cure.

    Signs and Symptoms of Syphilis

    Primary syphilis (three to four weeks after infection): a painless ulcer on the penis, vagina, rectal area, or mouth and enlarged lymph nodes in the area of the ulcer

    Secondary syphilis (four to eight weeks after primary symptoms): low grade fever, headache, sore throat, general poor health, hair loss, skin rash on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, gray spots in the mouth, enlarged glands in the neck, armpit and groin that are painless

    Tertiary syphilis (five to thirty years after infection): loss of balance, loss of bladder control, sudden severe pains, loss of sensation in the legs, paralysis, impotence, personality changes, mental illness, blindness, heart failure.

    Transmission

    Primarily through sexual contact

    Through sexual activity (vaginal, anal or oral) and/or contact with infectious lesions

    Sharing needles for the purpose of drug use or administration with an infected individual

    Pregnant women may pass the infection to their newborn children during delivery

    Prevention and Treatment

    Abstinence or maintaining a monogamous sexual relationship are the only sure ways to prevent sexually transmitted syphilis

    Men are advised to use a latex condom during sex

    Uninfected persons should avoid sexual contact with persons from the high risk groups or those known to be infected

    Antibiotics are used to treat syphilis

    One should abstain from sexual activity until the full course of antibiotics are taken and a visit to the doctors ensures cure

    Limit the sharing of personal hygiene products

    Gonorrhea - An Overview

    Gonorrhea is a contagious bacterial infection, most commonly acquired through sexual contact with an infected partner.

    Infection most often occurs in the genitals but may spread to the throat, rectum and eyes.

    This disease generally affects people between the ages of 18 to 30 and particularly those with multiple sex partners.

    Early identification and immediate intervention are essential in effective treatment and cure, although reinfection is common.

    Signs and Symptoms of Gonorrhea

    Pain during urination

    Yellowish, pus like discharge from the penis or vagina

    Rarely, pain during sexual intercourse

    Redness or swelling at the infection site

    Abnormal vaginal bleeding or lower abdominal pain in women

    Sore throat in orally contracted infection

    Unusual rectal discharge or constant urge to move bowels in anal infection

    Transmission

    Most often contracted through sexual contact, including anal, oral and vaginal intercourse

    An infected pregnant mother may transmit the disease to her baby during childbirth causing blindness

    Touching the eyes with contaminated hands can result in the spread of infection to the eyes

    Prevention and Treatment

    Abstinence or maintaining a monogamous sexual relationship are the only sure ways to prevent sexually transmitted gonorrhea

    Men are advised to use a latex condom during sex

    Uninfected persons should avoid sexual contact with persons from the high risk groups or those known to be infected

    Washing the genitals with soap and water before and after sexual contact decreases the risk of spread

    Antibiotics are used to treat gonorrhea

    One should abstain from sexual activity until the full course of antibiotics are taken and a visit to the doctors ensures cure

    Genital Herpes - An Overview

    Genital herpes is a viral infection characterized by outbreaks of painful sores on the genitals.

    Most often it is spread through sexual contact.

    Once infected, a person carries the virus for life; there is no cure.

    Symptoms are not always present.

    The initial infection lasts from one to three weeks, after which the infection may go into remission for months or years.

    Signs and Symptoms of Genital Herpes

    Pain or itching in the genital area

    Watery blisters in the genital area that break to form painful, shallow ulcers for which scab over and disappear within three weeks

    Blisters and ulcers around the mouth that may accompany genital sores

    Painful urination in women

    Fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, and enlarged lymph nodes in the groin

    Headache

    Transmission

    Most often it is spread through sexual contact

    It is more easily transmitted from men to women

    It may be transferred to babies of infected mothers during childbirth, possibly causing blindness, retardation, or even death.

    Herpes is highly contagious and one partner may transmit it to another even when no visible sores are present.

    Prevention and Treatment

    Abstinence or maintaining a monogamous sexual relationship are the only sure ways to prevent sexually transmitted genital herpes

    Men are advised to use a latex condom during sex to decrease risk although condoms rarely cover all of the affected area

    Uninfected persons should avoid sexual contact with persons from the high risk groups or those known to be infected

    Antiviral medications are used to treat herpes but there is no cure

    Chlamydia - An Overview

    Chlamydia is any of a group of highly contagious microorganisms that can infect various sites in the body, including the genitals, eyes, lymph nodes, and respiratory tract.

    It most commonly appears as a sexually transmitted genital infection.

    Diagnosis may be difficult, since the infection may cause no symptoms, especially in women.

    Untreated chlamydia may also cause sterility

    Signs and Symptoms of Chlamydia

    Painful or burning urination

    Redness and itching in and around the genitals

    Watery mucus discharge from the penis or vagina

    A painless pimple or blister on the penis or outer lips of the vagina

    Painful swelling of the scrotum

    Inflamed, painful lymph nodes in the groin area

    Inflammation of the inner lining of the eyelids and the membrane covering the whites of the eyes, leading to blindness if untreated

    Difficulty breathing in newborns

    High fever

    Symptoms ranging from mild flu-like to severe respiratory distress

    Transmission

    Transmitted by vaginal or anal intercourse and by oral-genital contact

    Infections in pregnant women may cause eye and respiratory infections in newborns

    Contaminated hands that make contact with the eyes may spread the infection to that area

    Prevention and Treatment

    Avoid intimate contact with infected people until the infection is cured

    Abstinence or maintaining a monogamous sexual relationship are the only sure ways to prevent sexually transmitted chlamydia

    Men are advised to use a latex condom during sex to decrease risk

    Antibiotics are used to treat chlamydia

    One should abstain from sexual activity until the full course of antibiotics are taken and a visit to the doctors ensures cure

    FORMATIVE CHECK/PARTICIPATION

    Play STD Education Jeopardy

    Give each group member a slip of notebook paper and have them write down a question they have concerning an issue related to STDs.

    Split the group into two even teams

    Have one facilitator make factual statements that answer the questions produced by the group members

    The team that identifies the answers to the majority of the questions correctly wins a prize (donated children's books or books on subjects they are interested in - prizes should support the purpose of the group)

    CRITICAL POINTS

    Abstinence is the only guarantee that one will not contract a sexually transmitted disease and potentially pass it on to a partner or unborn child.

    Barrier forms of contraception (latex condoms used correctly) may decrease the risk of contacting a sexually transmitted disease.

    High-risk behaviors increase a person's chance of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

    CLOSURE

    Closure should include a short question session followed by a brief uplifting statement or quote.

     

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