Sexually Transmitted Infections | Causes & Prevention

Sexually Transmitted Disease

Most people live with Sexually transmitted infections (STI). The most common symptoms may or may not be prominent. They are not limited to these but include abnormal discharge from the urethra or vaginal, itching, and burning sensation. 

STIs are caused by the introduction and growth of viruses and bacteria. They are transmitted through sexual contacts, either by vaginal, oral, or anal sex. They can also spread through non-sexual encounters such as blood, infections objects, and mother to child during pregnancy, but most people are not aware that it influences sexual and reproductive health. Or they choose to ignore them because of the stigma often associated with the condition.

According to W.H.O “More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections are acquired every day worldwide. Each year, there are an estimated 376 million new infections with 1 of 4 STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis”

Types of Sexually Transmitted Infections

Many types of STIs affect both males and females, but there are eight common types of infections that are widely spread. They are divided further into two categories based on the treatment available. These are Gonorrhoeic, Syphilis, Trichomoniasis, and Chlamydia which are all curable. The other four are Hepatitis B, Herpes, Human Immune Virus- HIV, and Human Papillomavirus- HPV which are all incurable.

Chlamydia

This is caused by chlamydia trachomatis, which is spread through all forms of sex. Although, they do not usually show symptoms they affect fertility. When they show symptoms, they cause pain during urinating, abnormal rectal and vaginal discharge. These symptoms show within the first to the third week of getting infected. Several drugs like doxycycline and ofloxacin work as a treatment for it.

Syphilis

The treponema pallidum bacteria is responsible for syphilis-associated infections. It causes sores around the genitals and can have a more adverse effect on the body, including the heart and nervous system which can be deadly. Getting early treatment is the best way, to stop the development of this bacterium.

Gonorrhea

This is an STI with symptoms such as inflammation of the genitals, which can cause pain when urinating, unusual discharge, and itching. It is easily transmitted by body contact, and not only by sexual intercourse. Antibiotics are needed to rid the bacteria from your system.

Trichomoniasis

Trich for short is caused by the trichomonas vaginalis bacteria, which is more common in females. This is because it is more prone to affect the vaginal rather than the urethra in males. Symptoms associated with this type of STI are, pain during sex, and pain when urination or ejaculation. It is transmitted through sex and contact with an infected vulva. Medications are available to treat this condition for partners.

HIV-Human Immune Virus

This is a virus that targets the immune system, which makes it weak and prone to other illnesses. It is life-threatening if not treated on time. It becomes present in all body fluids as it spreads. HIV is transmitted through sex and infected sharp objects. Although there is no cure, there are available treatments to help reduce the virus to a considerable amount. 

HPV-Human Papilloma virus

HPV is common with almost every sexually active woman. It is present in the cervix, anus, skin, and mouth. When found in the body, it increases the risk of cervical cancer amongst others. Even without showing any symptoms, a person can still transmit the virus through oral, vaginal, or anal sex, and also through genital contact. Getting the Hpv vaccine is the way to prevent getting infected.

Herpes simplex virus ( HSV 1 & 2)

It affects the genitals, skin, and other parts of the body. 

Hsv 1- affects the mouth with prominent sores. It is transmitted through oral sex, and an infected person can spread it through saliva.

Hsv 2- affects the genitals, mouth, and anal area. It is transmitted through any form of sex.

The common symptoms include fever and pain all over the body. It is incurable but can be managed with a daily dose of antiviral medications.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis is a long-term infection that goes deep into the body and remains present in body fluids such as blood and semen. It can cause liver damage when it is in the body for long. Like others, they are transmitted through sexual intercourse, but can also be after one comes in contact with the open skin of an infected person. Vaccine and booster shots are available to handle this infection.

Also Read: How To Have Safe Sex When Allergic To Latex

 

How to Control & Prevent STIs

STIs are transmitted in different ways, this is why you should know the basic ways to prevent them.

Counseling and awareness 

Information is the key to preventing sexual infections. This is why counseling and therapy are important solutions to prevent these infections. Awareness talk about sexually transmitted infections should be taken seriously. This is the most effective way to know what to look out for such as, how they are transmitted, symptoms, and ways to protect yourself.

Protection method

These are ways to protect yourself from STIs. Male and female condoms should be used for vaginal and anal sex, while dental dams can be used for oral sex. Avoid sharing personal grooming products with people. You should not compromise with regards to items that can protect you rather than being exposed to infections.

Vaccination 

Vaccines are available for some of these sexually transmitted infections. It is a great way to protect yourself against infections. So do not pass up the opportunity to get vaccinated.

 

The best way to prevent STIs is by practicing safe sex with tested partners. Although these measures are effective in preventing infections, you cannot be too sure of your safety as some of these can be transmitted through physical contact. This 

is why you should be aware of the types of STIs and get regular checkups. 

In conclusion, STIs are properly managed when they are diagnosed early. This is why regular screening is important as getting infected is common irrespective of your sexual hygiene and preferences. When diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection, it is best to inform your partner because both partners will need to get treated to avoid a return of the infection.

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