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SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE/INFECTION

 

What is it?

As the name suggests, a sexually transmitted infection is an infection/diseases that spreads due to a sexual encounter. Many of these infections are non-curable and fatal. It's critical to know the symptoms and details of these STIs to prevent ourselves from them. One of the easiest and best ways to avoid these diseases is to have monogamous sexual relationships. 

Let's understand them in detail here.

How does it happen?

STIs spread when one's bodily fluids (saliva, semen, blood, etc) come in direct contact with the microbes causing these diseases. The names of the common microbial agents and the diseases they can cause are:

Sexually transmitted diseases/infections and the microbes causing them

How does it spread?

The common routes for the spread of these diseases are:

  • Genital route: through the vagina in females and penis in males, after unprotected intercourse 

  • Anal route: in cases of unprotected intercourse

  • Through the bloodstream: Blood transfusion, sharing of needles (especially in cases of substance abuse)

  • Through any cuts on the skin

  • Through oral sex

Most of these diseases do not spread by toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, shared clothing or utensils.

Who is at risk to develop an STI?

Though everyone is at risk of contacting an STIs through one way or the other. But certain population is more prone to catch these infections:

  • Sexually active young adults and teenagers engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse

  • Sex workers 

  • Heavy drug users

  • People engaging in sexual intercourse with multiple partners

  • Gay-Bisexual couples

What are the common symptoms of STIs?

It is important to understand the common signs and symptoms of sexually transmitted infections before any lab test is done, as early detection can help improve the treatment significantly.​

Most common symptoms are:

  • Unusual bleeding

  • Foul smelling discharge from vagina, penis or rectum

  • Boils/Blisters/Sores

  • Burning sensation

  • Painless ulcers/lumps in genitals

  • Swollen lymph node in the armpit or groin

  • Itching

  • Irritation

  • Offensive odours from genitals

  • Painful sex

  • Pain in the pelvic region

  • Genital lumps/warts

  • Pus

  • Swelling/Rashes

What are the common preventions against STIs?

  • Use of condoms during sexual act

  • Lifestyle modifications which include careful indulgence in sexual activities (specially with multiple partners)

  • Ensure tests for STIs are performed before donating blood or during blood transfusion

  • Perform tests for STIs which can be transmitted during pregnancy

  • Do not indulge in sharing of needles

  • Practice oral sex with reduced frequency, among multiple partners

  • Check for breakages/tears in condoms before using them 

COMMON SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES AND INFECTIONS

Highlighted in Black are Non-Curable Diseases