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Introduction to Sexually Transmitted Diseases


Introduction to Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Useful Background for the Study of STDs

Chancroid  -  A venereal disease caused by a hemophilic bacterium (Hemophilus ducreyi) and characterized by chancres that lack firm indurated margins, unlike those of syphilis.
Gonorrhea  -  A contagious inflammation of the genital mucous membrane caused by gonococcus--called also the clap.
Asymptomatic  -  Presenting no symptoms of disease.
Etiology  -  All of the causes of a disease or abnormal condition
Diplococcus  -  Any of various encapsulated bacteria (as Streptococcus pneumoniae, a common cause of pneumonia) that usually occur in pairs and that were formerly grouped in a single taxon (genus Diplococcus) but are now all assigned to other genera.
Aerobe  -  An organism (as a bacterium) that lives only in the presence of oxygen.
Plasmid  -  An extrachromosomal ring of DNA, especially of bacteria, that replicates autonomously.
Beta-lactamase  -  lactam, a cyclic amide
Penicillin  -  Any of several relatively nontoxic antibiotic acids of the general constitution C9H11N2O4SR that are produced by molds (genus Penicillium and especially P. notatum or P. chrysogenum) or synthetically, and are used especially against cocci; also: a mixture of such acids.
Cerebrospinal  -  Of or relating to the brain and spinal cord or to these together with the spinal nerves that innervate voluntary muscles.
Cerebrospinal fluid  -  A liquid comparable to serum, secreted from the blood into the lateral ventricles of the brain, which serves chiefly to maintain uniform pressure within the brain and spinal cord.
Urogenital (Orogenital)  -  Of, relating to, or being the organs or functions of excretion and reproduction. (Orogenital is of, relating to, or being the organs of the mouth and the organs of functions of excretion and reproduction.)
Perinatal  -  Occurring in, concerned with, or being in the period around the time of birth.
Epithelium  -  A membranous cellular tissue that covers a free surface or lines a tube or cavity of an animal body and serves especially to enclose and protect the other parts of the body, to produce secretions and excretions, and to function in assimilation.
Mucous membrane  -  A membrane rich in mucous glands; specifically one that lines body passages and cavities that communicate directly or indirectly with the exterior.
Pilus  -  A hair or a structure (as of a bacterium) resembling a hair.
Cilium  -  A minute short hairlike process often forming part of a fringe; especially one on a cell capable of lashing movement that serves in free unicellular organisms to produce locomotion, or that forms a current of fluid in higher organisms.
Toxin  -  A poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism and is usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into the tissues, and typically capable of inducing antibody formation.
Purulent  -  Containing, consisting of, or being pus (as in, a purulent discharge).
Pus  -  Thick opaque usually yellowish white fluid matter formed by suppuration and composed of exudate containing white blood cells, tissue debris, and microorganisms.
Lumen  -  The cavity of a tubular organ, as in the lumen of a blood vessel.
Urethra  -  The canal that in most mammals carries off the urine from the bladder. In the male it serves also as a genital duct.
Prostatitis  -  Inflammation of the prostate gland.
Prostate gland  -  A firm partly muscular partly glandular body situated about the base of the mammalian male urethra. It secretes an alkaline viscid fluid, a major constituent of the ejaculatory fluid.
Lymphocyte  -  The colorless weakly motile cells that originate from stem cells, differentiate in lymphoid tissue (as of the thymus or bone marrow) and are the typical cellular elements of lymph. Lymphocytes include the cellular mediators of immunity, and constitute 20 to 30 percent of the white blood cells of normal human blood.
Epididymitis  -  Inflammation of the epididymis.
Epididymis  -  A system of ductules emerging posteriorly from the testis that holds sperm during maturation. The epididymis forms a tangled mass before uniting into a single coiled duct continuous with the vas deferens.
Uterus  -  An organ of the female mammal for containing and nourishing young during development previous to birth. Also called the womb.
Cervix  -  The narrow outer end of the uterus. The endocervical canal is the space that follows into the uterus.
Labium  -  Any of the folds at the margin of the vulva.
Vulva  -  The external parts of the female genital organs.
Hepatitis  -  Inflammation of the liver.
Vaginitis  -  Inflammation of the vagina.
Urethritis  -  Inflammation of the urethra.
Infertility  -  The condition of not being fertile or productive.
Rectum  -  The terminal part of the intestine from the sigmoid flexure to the anus. Anorectal refers to the area just around the anus.
Pharynx  -  The part of the vertebrate alimentary canal between the cavity of the mouth and the esophagus.
Conjunctivitis  -  Inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the mucous membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelids and continues over the forepart of the eyeball.
Disseminate  -  To disperse throughout.
Arthritis  -  Inflammation of joints due to infectious, metabolic, or constitutional causes.
Lesion  -  An abnormal change in structure of an organ or part due to injury or disease; especially an injury that is circumscribed and well defined.
Endocarditis  -  Inflammation of the lining of the heart and its valves.
Meningitis  -  Inflammation of the meninges and especially of the pia mater and the arachnoid.
Sepsis  -  A toxic condition resulting from the spread of bacteria or their products, often a focus of infection.
Chlamydia  -  Any of a genus (Chlamydia, family Chlamydiaceae) of spherical gram-negative intracellular bacteria; especially one (C. trachomatis) that causes or is associated with various diseases of the eye andurogenital tract including trachoma, lymphogranuloma venereum, cervicitis, and some forms of urethritis.
Incubation period  -  The period between the infection of an individual by a pathogen and the manifestation of the disease it causes.
Ectopic pregnancy  -  Gestation elsewhere than in the uterus (as in a fallopian tube or in the cavity).
Ulcer  -  A break in skin or mucous membrane with loss of surface tissue, disintegration and necrosis of epithelial tissue, and often pus.
Fistula  -  An abnormal passage leading from an abscess or hollow organ to the body surface or from one hollow organ to another and permitting passage of fluids or secretions
Syphilis  -  A chronic contagious usually venereal and often congenital disease caused by a spirochete (Treponema pallidum). If left untreated, Syphilis produces chancres, rashes, and systemic lesions.
Electron microscope  -  An electron-optical instrument in which a beam of electrons focused by means of an electron lens is used to produce an enlarged image of a minute object on a fluorescent screen or photographic plate.
Gumma  -  A tumor of gummy or rubbery consistency that is characteristic of the tertiary stage of syphilis.
Cardiovascular  -  Of, relating to, or involving the heart and blood vessels.
Neurosyphilis  -  Syphilis of the neurologic system, characteristic of the tertiary stage of syphilis.
Anemia  -  A condition in which the blood is deficient in red blood cells, in hemoglobin, or in total volume.
Antibiotic  -  A substance produced by, or a semisynthetic substance derived from, a microorganism and able in dilute solution to inhibit or kill another microorganism.
Intracellular  -  Existing, occurring, or functioning within a cell.
Bacterium  -  Any of a group (as kingdom Procaryotae syn. Monera) of prokaryotic unicellular round, spiral, or rod-shaped single-celled microorganisms that are often aggregated into colonies or motile by means of flagella, which live in soil, water, organic matter, or the bodies of plants and animals, and that are autotrophic, saprophytic, or parasitic in nutrition, and important because of their biochemical effects and pathogenicity.
Parasite  -  An organism living in, with, or on another organism in parasitism.
Eukaryotic  -  An organism composed of one or more cells containing visibly evident nuclei and organelles.
DNA  -  Any of various nucleic acids that are usually the molecular basis of heredity, are localized especially in cell nuclei, and are constructed of a double helix held together by hydrogen bonds between purine and pyrimidine bases which project inward from two chains containing alternate links of deoxyribose and phosphate. Read more about DNA in the SparkNote on Molecular Genetics.
RNA  -  Any of various nucleic acids that contain ribose and uracil as structural components and are associated with the control of cellular chemical activities.
Serotype  -  A group of intimately-related microorganisms distinguished by a common set of antigens.
Cervicitis  -  Inflammation of the cervix.
Inguinal  -  Of, relating to, or situated in the region of the groin or in either of the lowest lateral regions of the abdomen.
Placenta  -  The vascular organ in mammals except monotremes and marsupials that unites the fetus to the maternal uterus and mediates its metabolic exchanges through a more or less intimate association of uterine mucosa with chorionic and usually allantoic tissues.
Indurate  -  To harden.
Liver  -  A large very vascular glandular organ of vertebrates that secretes bile and causes important changes in many of the substances contained in the blood (as by converting sugars into glycogen which it stores up until required and by forming urea).
Spleen  -  A highly vascular ductless organ located in the left abdominal region near the stomach or intestine of most vertebrates concerned with final destruction of red blood cells, filtration and storage of blood, and production of lymphocytes
Oral  -  Of, given through, or involving the mouth.
Granulomatous  -  A mass or nodule of chronically inflamed tissue with granulations that is usually associated with an infective process.
Neuritis  -  An inflammatory or degenerative lesion of a nerve marked especially by pain, sensory disturbances, and impaired or lost reflexes. Optic neuritis is neuritis of the optic nerve.
Stillbirth  -  The birth of a dead fetus.
In vitro  -  Outside the living body and in an artificial environment.
Gram-negative  -  Not containing the purple dye when stained by Gram's stain--used chiefly of bacteria.
Gram-positive  -  Containing the purple dye when stained by Gram's stain-- used chiefly of bacteria
Exude  -  To ooze out.
Fungi  -  Any of a major group (Fungi) of saprophytic and parasiticspore-producing organisms usually classified as plants that include molds, rusts, mildews, smuts, mushrooms, and yeasts.
Protozoan  -  Any of a phylum or subkingdom (Protozoa) of chiefly motile and heterotrophic unicellular protists (as amoebas, trypanosomes, sporozoans, and paramecia) that are represented in almost every kind of habitat and include some pathogenic parasites of humans and domestic animals.
Helminth  -  A parasitic worm (as a tapeworm, liver fluke, ascarid, or leech); especially an intestinal worm.
Virus  -  Any of a large group of submicroscopic infective agents regarded either as extremely simple microorganisms or as extremely complex molecules. Viruses typically contain a protein coat surrounding an RNA or DNA core of genetic material but no semipermeable membrane, are capable of growth and multiplication only in living cells, and cause various important diseases in humans, lower animals, and plants.
Extracellular  -  Situated or occurring outside a cell or the cells of the body.
Epidemiology  -  The study of a disease within a population.

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