Sexually Transmitted Diseases – Overview, Symptoms, Causes, and Prevention
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are health problems that happen to a person through unprotected sexual contact. As per the WHO, there are more than 30 viruses, bacteria, and parasites that transmit from one human to another through sexual contact. STIs such as gonorrhoea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and chlamydia are curable. On the other hand, STIs like HIV, hepatitis B, HPV (human papillomavirus), and herpes/herpes simplex virus (HSV) are not curable.
As per the latest WHO estimated data, 1 million people across the globe get STIs in a single day. If you are highly active in your sexual life and have multiple sexual partners, you should visit a diagnostic pathology lab in Greater Noida or in your locality to have a respective test regularly. Here, have a look at the symptoms and causes of sexually transmitted diseases and how you can prevent it.
STDs or STIs have mild or no symptoms. People suffering from an STD may not know it due to lack of associated signs. Here are some symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases that may be or may not be visible:
- Warts or sores on the genital area
- Unusual discharge from the vagina or penis
- Frequent or painful urination
- Redness or itching in the genital area
- Sores or blisters in or around the mouth
- Abnormal vaginal odour
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Anal soreness, itching, or bleeding
- A feeling of pain during sex
- Rash over hands, trunk, or feet
- Abdominal pain
The causes of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are as follows:
- Bacteria – Bacteria causes humans to have syphilis, gonorrhoea, and chlamydia
- Viruses – Viruses cause HIV, HPV, and genital herpes
- Parasites – Parasites cause trichomoniasis
Anyone who has a highly active sex life has a risk of having STDs or STIs. You are at a higher risk of having sexually transmitted diseases or sexually transmitted infections if you:
- Have unprotected sex
- Enjoy sex with multiple partners
- Have a family history of STDs or STIs
- Face rape or assault
- Use illicit drugs
In the early stages of STIs or STDs, people have no visible symptoms. So, it is crucial for you to have tests and screenings for STIs regularly, especially when you have sex with an unknown person. The possible complications are as follows:
- Pelvic pain
- Eye inflammation
- Pregnancy complications
- Heart disease
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- certain cancers, like HPV-associated rectal and cervical cancers
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Your doctor is the right person to advise you on how you can prevent STDs or STIs. However, here are some useful tips that you can follow:
- Restrain – The best and most effective action you need to take is that you should avoid having sex.
- Have a single uninfected partner – Having a single uninfected sexual partner is another reliable and effective way to safeguard yourself from STDs or STIs. You should stay in a long-term relationship in which both partners have physical intimacy only with each other.
- Use condoms – Condoms are available for both males and females. You should use a condom or dental dam for each sexual act whether it is oral, anal, or vaginal contact. Using condoms well will help you prevent STIs and avoid having unplanned conception.
- Wait and examine – Any fluid transmission during sexual contact can cause you have STDs. So, you must avoid having anal or vaginal sex with a new partner. Oral sex is a little safe. However, you should use a dental dam or latex condom to stop having skin-to-skin contact during oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Both sexual partners should test yourselves for STIs before getting indulged in sexual activities if they are unfamiliar with each other.
- Vaccine yourself – In the contemporary world, vaccines are available for hepatitis A & B and HPV (human papillomavirus. Getting vaccinated before sexual exposure is an effective way to prevent STDs. As per the CDC, both boys and girls should take vaccines before they turn 11 or 12.
- Avoid excessive alcohol drinking or drug use – Excessive alcoholic beverages or illicit drugs will encourage you to take sexual risks.
- Communicate – Before you get into sexual activities, you should communicate with your partner and discuss how both of you can have a safe sex. Both of you should be agree on what sexual activities you should do and what sexual activities you should not do.
- Use male circumcision or preexposure prophylaxis
Sexually transmitted diseases have no clear symptoms. Except gonorrhoea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and chlamydia, most STIs are incurable and can be life-threatening for you. It is better for you to know the symptoms, causes, complications, and preventive methods that are mentioned above.