Sexually Transmitted Skin Diseases
Some of the most common skin issues are sexually-transmitted, including herpes, which is estimated to affect 67% of the world’s population. Some skin diseases are transmitted by physical, although not necessarily sexual, contact.
Common sexually transmitted diseases include:
The Fever blisters (cold sores) associated with Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 commonly appear on the edge of the lip. This virus, herpes labialis, exists in a dormant state in the spinal cord nerve cells, and after certain environmental triggers like a sunburn or a cold, the virus is induced to travel along a peripheral nerve to the same skin site over and over again. The eruption is self-limited to about seven to ten days so that treatment is unnecessary unless the eruption becomes too frequent.
Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 infection presents mostly as painful blisters in the genitalia, which may also recur over time, mostly in periods of stress. Successful treatment can be accomplished with antiviral oral medications.
Genital warts (aka Condyloma) caused by an HPV infection are also diseases of the genitalia that are viral in origin. It is estimated that by age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired a genital HPV infection.
What Causes It?
It is not necessary to have sexual intercourse to get a sexually-transmitted skin disease; skin-to-skin contact with an infected area can transmit the disease.
The pain associated with cold sores can be alleviated with an anesthetic gel or antiviral oral medication to speed healing or prevent recurrence.
Successful treatment of herpes simplex virus type 2 can be accomplished with antiviral oral medications.
Genital warts are successfully treated with a combination of physical destruction modality (cryotherapy, electrodesiccation) accompanied by chemical treatment (imiquimod cream).