Sexual health is often neglected. Usually people are very shy to discuss their sexual health and talk about STDs and STIs. There is a social stigma toward the subject. But since there are 340 million cases around the world the awareness needs to increase.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are transmitted through sexual intercourse between two people and are also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or venereal diseases. More than 1 million infections are reported daily. There is a thin line between STDs and STIs. STI stands for sexually transmitted infection and may not develop into a disease. You can think of STI’s as the initial stage of an STD.
If left unchecked, STI and STD can have serious repercussions. For example, mother-to-child transmission of STIs can result in stillbirth, neonatal death, low-birth-weight and prematurity, sepsis, pneumonia, neonatal conjunctivitis, and congenital deformities.
If left unchecked, STI and STD can have serious repercussions. For example, mother-to-child transmission of STIs can result in stillbirth, neonatal death, low-birth-weight and premature birth, sepsis, pneumonia, neonatal conjunctivitis, and congenital deformities.
The various symptoms of STIs and STDs:
- Rashes near the genital area
- Warts and sores near anus, mouth and genitals
- Swelling and redness, bleeding and painful urination.
- Fever, sweating, chills and itchiness
- Painful sex and discharge of fluids from the genitals
If any of the following symptoms are found in a person, then the said person needs to immediately contact a medical doctor. The doctor may suggest various tests and treatments. It is extremely necessary to cure STDs and STIs as they have a risk of transmission and dissemination to another person in case of any sexual activity.
Ways to control STDs are:
- Providing necessary sexual health education and awareness
- Using Condoms
- Practice monogamy and restricting the number of sexual partners
- Regular STD and STI checkups.
The major types of STDs and STD tests:
Chlamydia: Chlamydia is caused by Chlamydia Trachomatis. It only affects humans and is an extremely common cause of genital and eye diseases. But women often don’t show symptoms of these diseases. Painful intercourse, bleeding between periods, rectal infections and discharge of fluids are the most common symptoms of Chlamydia. A urine test or a swab of discharge from the cervix for culture or antigen testing which is called a Pap test is used to determine chlamydia.
Chancroid: Also, known as soft chancre and ulcus molle, is caused by bacteria called streptobacillushaemophilusducreyi. This causes sores in genitals and is very common among sex workers. As soon as a person is infected, they start developing bumps which turn into ulcers. It may bleed as well. Diagnosis is usually done by identifying bacteria Hemophilus ducreyi in a culture from a genital ulcer. A Gram stain test might be misleading.
Genital herpes: Herpes is a recurring condition in human beings. They are of two types which are Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is acquired through straws, utensils and surfaces. The most common symptoms may include:
- Blisters or ulcers
- Pain while urination
- Fever, cold sores
PCR test and cell culture can be used to identify herpes. The PCR test identifies the existence of the virus’s DNA by examining fluids from the genitals.
Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B can be caused by unsafe sex, unsterilized syringes, drinking infected breast milk, getting pricked by sharp objects etc. It results in liver failure which can eventually lead to cancer. Though it can be prevented using vaccinations. A simple blood test, liver ultrasound or liver biopsy can identify Hepatitis B.
HIV/ AIDS: Human immuno deficiency syndrome intervenes with the immune system leaving the host to fall prey to infections and diseases. HIV is transmitted through:
- Sexual intercourse
- Blood to blood contact
- Breast feeding
- Needles and syringes