Infections which are mainly derived from sexual exposure to an infected partner are known as sexually transmitted infections.
This becomes possible due to the fact that majority of the causative organisms responsible for these infections are easily transmitted from one person to another via blood, semen, stool, sweat or vaginal fluids.
Most of these infections can be transmitted from one person to another via non-sexual means including blood transfusions or sharing of needles among drug addicts.
Most STIs are very difficult to detect and the fact that someone looks perfectly healthy doesn’t necessarily mean he or she may not be carrying one of those infections.
Since STIs come in huge numbers, symptoms experienced usually depend on the type of infection as well as the unique circumstances of each individual. Some of the commonest signs of sexually transmitted diseases include:
- Burning sensations during urination
- Discharge from the penis or vagina
- Excessive vaginal bleeding
- Sores around the sexual organs
- Severe pain in the lower abdomen
- Development or rashes and skin abrasions
- Inflammation across the groin area
Treatment of STIs
Seeking treatment as soon as you notice signs of a possible sexually transmitted infection can be vital to your chances of successfully getting cured. Even if you are sexually inactive, you may have been infected via other means such as exposure to sweat from an infected person.
Your doctor will conduct the necessary tests to find out if you have been infected with any of those diseases, so that the right form of treatment can be prescribed.
When is the Best Time to Get Screened?
The best time to check for the presence of STIs is immediately before:
- You begin having sex for the first time
- You begin a new sexual relationship
- Anytime you start experiencing any symptoms
Various organisms have been found to be responsible for sexually transmitted infections including:
- Viruses e.g. HIV, genital herpes, etc.
- Bacteria e.g. syphilis, Chlamydia, gonorrhea,
Keep in mind that while sexual activity is the main medium of transmission for these diseases, many infections such as Hepatitis, A, B and C may be derived from non-sexual body fluids, including sweat.
As long as you are having sex there is always the possibility of getting exposed to one type of STI or another. However, these factors increase your risk of infection substantially:
Casual vaginal and anal sex has been linked with about 80 percent of all STIs. Even though fellatio has been found not to be as dangerous as penetrative sexual activity, various STIs can still be transmitted from an infected partner to a healthy one. Wearing of condoms by one of the partners decreases the risk of transmission substantially.
Having multiple sexual partners has also been linked with sexually transmitted infections.People with history of sexually transmitted diseases in the past have an increased risk of getting infected again.
Alcohol or drug abuse increases a person’s risk of having unprotected sex by impairing judgment.
Drug addicts who constantly share needles with other users have an increased risk of getting infected with venerable diseases including HIV and Hepatitis.
Adolescent girls face a high risk of getting infected with STIs due to underdeveloped cells in their cervix which makes then likely to get infected with various diseases.
Generally, these diseases have been found to be more popular among gay men and young people who are less likely to stay in committed relationships for long periods of time. Additionally, many infected mothers have also been found to transmit lots of these diseases to their babies through pregnancy, delivery and breast feeding. It is advisable to get screened for STIs before or immediately after you become pregnant.
Various tests may be conducted to identify or rule out the presence of sexually transmitted diseases using:
- Blood samples
- Urine samples
- Samples of body fluids
There are various forms of treatment for sexually transmitted diseases depending on the causative organism responsible for that disease.
HIV, HPV, genital herpes ad other infections caused by viruses, may be incurable and any form of treatment prescribed will be aimed at managing their effects.
Gonorrhea and syphilis, which are caused by bacteria, are relatively simpler to treat, especially when the disease is diagnosed earlier. Here are some of the most popular forms of treatment.
Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and syphilis, which are caused by bacteria usually, require a single dose of antibiotics for complete cure.
Taking the full dose of antibiotics prescribed for you is vital to the complete cure of bacterial STIs and patients are advised to stay away from all sorts of sexual activity about two weeks after getting fully treated.
These drugs are typically prescribed for the management of HIV infections.
Other antiviral drugs are available to slow down the rate of infection in patients diagnosed with genital herpes and other viral infections.