Sexually Transmitted Diseases : How to check if you have ?659
Most sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STIs) are communicated through sexual contact. The bacteria, viruses, or parasites that cause sexually transmitted diseases can be passed from one person to another by blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and other bodily fluids.
These infections can occasionally be spread nonsexually, such as when women give birth to their babies or when they receive blood transfusions or share needles.
STIs may go unnoticed. Even those who seem to be in perfect health might have sexually transmitted diseases, and they may not even be aware of their infection.
STDs or STIs may result from:
Bacteria. STIs that are brought on by bacteria include gonorrhoea, syphilis, and chlamydia.
Parasites. An STD called trichomoniasis is brought on by a parasite.
Viruses. HIV, genital herpes, and HPV are among the viruses that can cause STIs.
It is possible to get some illnesses without engaging in sexual activity, including hepatitis A, B, and C viruses, shigella infection, and giardia infection.
How to check if you have Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
See a doctor right away if:
- You engage in sexual activity, which might have exposed you to an STI.
- You exhibit STI-related symptoms.
Schedule a visit with a doctor:
- If you are thinking about starting to engage in sexual activity or when you become 21.
- Prior to beginning a relationship with a new partner.
Anybody who engages in sexual activity runs the risk of contracting an STD or STI. Many elements might raise such danger, such as:
Having intercourse without protection. The risk of contracting an STI is considerably increased by vaginal or anal penetration by an infected partner who is not wearing a latex condom. The risk might also be increased by using condoms improperly or inconsistently.
Although oral intercourse is less dangerous, diseases can still be spread without the use of a dental dam, which is a small, square piece of latex or silicone rubber.
Having sex with a variety of partners. Your risk increases the more persons you have sexual contact with.
Having an STI history. When one STI is present, it is considerably simpler for another to spread.
Being compelled to do sexual acts. It might be challenging to deal with rape or assault, but it is crucial to visit a doctor as soon as you can in order to obtain screening, treatment, and emotional support.
Alcohol abuse or drug usage for pleasure. Misuse of substances can impair judgement, making you more likely to engage in harmful actions.
Drug injection. Many dangerous illnesses, such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, are spread through needle sharing.
Young age. People between the ages of 15 and 24 account for half of new STI cases.
Transmission to babies from moms
The transmission of several STIs, including gonorrhoea, chlamydia, HIV, and syphilis, from mothers to their newborns can occur during pregnancy or delivery. Infants with STIs risk major health issues or even death. Each expecting mother should be treated after being tested for these illnesses.
An STD or STI may show a variety of signs and symptoms, including none at all. Because of this, they might not be recognised until problems emerge or a spouse is diagnosed.
There are a number of STI warning signs and symptoms, such as:
- Pimples or sores in the mouth, rectal region, or the genitalia
- Scorching or agonizing urinating
- Voiding of the penis
- Strange or unpleasant vaginal discharge
- Extraordinary vaginal bleeding
- Sexual discomfort
- Lymph nodes that are painful and swollen, often in the groin but occasionally more widely distributed
- Lower-back discomfort
- Fever Rash on the hands, feet or trunk
Signs and symptoms might appear within a few days. Depending on the organism that is producing the STI, it can be years before you start experiencing any obvious issues.
There are several strategies to prevent or lower your risk of contracting STDs or STIs.
Abstain. The best strategy to prevent STIs is to refrain from having sex.
Remain with one healthy companion. Being in a committed relationship for a long time when both partners exclusively have sex with each other and neither gets infected is another effective approach to prevent STIs.
Watch and see. Wait until you and your new partner have undergone STI testing before engaging in vaginal or anal sex. Although oral intercourse is less dangerous, avoid skin-to-skin contact between the oral and vaginal mucous membranes by using a latex condom or dental dam.
Get a vaccine. Some STIs can be avoided by getting vaccinated early on, before sexual contact. Available vaccines in order to guard against hepatitis A, B, and the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Newborns often receive the hepatitis B vaccination, and children under the age of one are advised to receive the hepatitis A vaccine. Both vaccinations are advised for those who have not yet developed immunity to these illnesses as well as for those who are more likely to get them, such as men who have intercourse with other males and IV drug users.
Consistently and properly use dental dams and condoms. Using a fresh condom made of latex, oral, vaginal, or anal sex acts all require a dental dam. Never use a latex condom or dental dam with an oil-based lubricant, such as petroleum jelly.
Condoms with a natural membrane should not be used since they are inefficient at preventing STIs. Additionally, bear in mind that while latex condoms lower your chance of exposure to the majority of STIs, they offer less defence against STIs like HPV or herpes that involve open genital sores.
Moreover, non-barrier methods of contraception such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and birth control tablets do not offer STI protection.
Avoid abusing drugs or drinking alcohol excessively. You are more prone to take sexual risks if you are inebriated.
Communicate. Before engaging in any intense sexual activity, discuss safer sex techniques with your partner. Be sure you are crystal clear about what is and is not acceptable.
Think about male circumcision. There is evidence to suggest that circumcision can help men lower their risk of contracting HIV from a woman who has the disease by as much as 60%. Moreover, male circumcision may lessen the risk of genital herpes and HPV infection.
Preexposure prophylaxis may be used (PrEP). This is the use of two medications in combination to lower the risk of HIV infection in patients who are at extremely high risk. These are emtricitabine with tenofovir alafenamide fumarate and emtricitabine plus tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Truvada).
Only if you do not already have HIV will your doctor give these medications for HIV prevention. Before beginning, an HIV test will be required.
Before recommending Truvada, your doctor will do a kidney function test, and they will continue to do so every six months. Before starting treatment if you have hepatitis B, you should be examined by a specialist in infectious diseases or the liver.
Bacterial STDs or STIs are typically easier to treat. Viral infections can occasionally, but not always, be treated.
Receiving treatment for your STI as soon as you find out you are pregnant will help you avoid or lower the chance of infecting your unborn child.
Depending on the illness, treatment for STIs typically includes one of the following:
Antibiotics. Several sexually transmitted bacterial and parasite illnesses, such as gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis, can be cured with antibiotics, frequently in a single dosage. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are typically treated together since the two illnesses frequently co-occur.
After you start receiving treatment with antibiotics, you must finish the prescription. If you do not think you'll be able to take the medication as prescribed, let your doctor know. There could be a simpler, quicker therapeutic regimen.
Moreover, you should delay having sex for seven days after finishing your antibiotic course and until any sores have healed. Also, experts advise that women undergo another test in around three months due to the high likelihood of reinfection.
Antiviral medicines. You will be advised to take antiviral medicine if you have herpes or HIV. Herpes recurrences will be reduced if daily suppressive therapy is combined with a prescription antiviral drug. But, it is still possible to infect your partner with herpes.
Antiviral medications can prevent HIV infection for a long time. The danger is reduced, but you will still have the virus and be able to spread it.
The effectiveness of HIV therapy increases with time. If you take your medication exactly as prescribed, you may be able to significantly lower the viral load in your blood to the point where it is practically detectable.
Ask your doctor how soon after treatment you should be retested if you have had an STI. Retesting will confirm that the medication was effective and that you have not contracted the infection again.
Notifying partners and taking preventative measures
Your sex partners, both those you are now seeing and those you have had in the last three to twelve months, must be told if testing reveals you have an STI so they may get tested. They can then be treated if they are infected.
Complications of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Screening for STIs is crucial to avoiding difficulties because many persons with STDs or STIs in their early stages do not exhibit any symptoms.
Potential issues include:
- Pelvic discomfort
- Obstetrical complications
- Eye irritation
- Inflamed vulvar tissue
- Heart condition
- Many malignancies, including cervical and rectal cancers linked to HPV
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Page last reviewed: Apr 17, 2023
Next review due: Apr 17, 2025