Microcheck 256

Transmission of bacterial STDs usually requires direct human-to-human contact. Unsuspected sexually transmitted infections of pregnant women pose a serious threat to fetuses and newborn babies. Even asymptomatic infections can cause genital tract damage and be transmissible to other people.

■ Can a baby have congenital syphilis without its mother ever having had symptoms of syphilis? Explain.

■ What, if any, is the relationship between chancroid and development of AIDS?

■ Why should scarring of a fallopian tube raise the risks of an ectopic pregnancy?

■ Why should scar tissue formation predispose males to urinary tract infections?

Table 25.12 Chancroid


One or more painful, gradually enlarging, soft chancres on or near the genitalia; large, tender regional lymph nodes

Incubation period

3 to 10 days

Causative agent

Haemophilus ducreyi, a small, pleomorphic Gram-negative rod requiring X-factor for growth


A small pimple appears first, which ulcerates and gradually enlarges; multiple lesions may coalesce; lymph nodes enlarge, liquefy, and may discharge to the skin surface


Sexual transmission. Common in prostitutes; fosters the spread of AIDS

Prevention and treatment

Abstinence from sex, monogamous relationships; avoidance of sexually promiscuous partners; proper use of condoms.Treatment: several antibacterial medications effective. Resistance can be a problem

25.7 Viral STDs

Viral sexually transmitted diseases are probably as common or more common than the bacterial diseases, but they are incurable. Their effects can be severe and long lasting. Genital herpes simplex can give recurrent symptoms for years, papillomavirus infections can lead to cancer, and HIV infections usually result in AIDS.

Genital Herpes Simplex

Genital herpes simplex is among the top three or four most common sexually transmitted diseases. An estimated 45 million Americans are infected with the causative virus and about 500,000 new cases occur each year.

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