• Shruti GOCHHWAL

13 Common FAQs on Sexual Diseases

Sexually transmitted disease (STD) or infection (STI) is a condition where bacteria, virus or parasites are transferred from one person to another, usually by sexual contact or intercourse, through the semen or vaginal fluids.

Here are the answers to some of your frequently asked questions:

1.   What are the most common STDs?

They are the following:

  1. Chlamydia

  2. HPV

  3. Syphilis

  4. HIV/AIDs

  5. Gonorrhoea

  6. Trichomoniasis

  7. Herpes

  8. Hepatitis B

According to WHO, 1 out of every 4 people suffer from STDs or STIs every year, with:

  1. 127 million suffering from chlamydia.

  2. 156 million suffering from trichomoniasis.

  3. 87 million suffering from gonorrhea.

  4. 3 million suffering from syphilis.

2.   What are the most common signs and symptoms for STDs?

The most common signs and symptoms for STIs are:

  1. Unusual vaginal/penisdischarge

  2. Urethral discharge

  3. Genital ulcer

  4. Abdominal pain

  5. Sores, bumps and rashes around genital areas.

  6. Swollen and painful testis or itchiness around the vagina.

3.    How and when to get tested for STDs?

The issue with the sexual diseases or infections is that the initial symptoms are not obvious or distinct, until the condition worsens. Some people may have no symptoms at all and may only be carriers.

This is why it is very important to get regularly tested at least once a year or every six months if one has multiple partners, especially with unprotected sexual intercourse.

In addition, if one experiences symptoms or have any suspicious discomforts, they must be immediately tested.

You can find testing centres around your area here.

4.   Is sex the only possible mode of transmission?

No, sexual intercourse may be the most common mode of transmission but STDs can be transmitted through needles, blood transfusions, breastfeeding or even through the placenta.

Caption: other modes of transmission

5.   Are STDs transmitted at every sexual intercourse?

No, they aren’t necessarily transmitted every time.

However, there is no way of predicting or assuring the probability of transmission the first time or the hundredth time. Thus, sexual intercourse is highly unadvised.

6.   Should STDs patients be isolated from the rest?

Pathogens that cause STDs are only present in the blood, vaginal fluids, semen and small amounts in saliva.

Only some few STDs can be transmitted by kissing, they include: herpes simplex virus and cytomegalovirus.

In some STDs like genital herpes or warts can be transmitted through skin contact.

Thus as long as sexual contact is limited or abstained, most STD patients are not required to be isolated from the rest as one cannot transmit STDs by shaking hands or hugging.

Latex condoms to prevent STDs

Credit: flickr

Alt tag : condom and red ribbon HIV awareness

Caption: Latex condoms to prevent STDs

7.   Do contraceptives protect you from STDs / Can you 100% effectively prevent STDs?

The only way one can guarantee the prevention of STDs is through complex sexual abstinence. This includes oral, anal and vaginal sex.

However, using latex condoms can reduce chances of transmission. Other methods of contraceptives like birth control pills or IUDs serve no purpose in the protection of STDs.

8.   Can females transmit STDs to other females?

STDs are commonly passed through genital-to-genital contact or during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Thus, it is highly possible for infected females to transmit STDs to another female.

HIV  and Syphilis

Caption: HIV  and Syphilis

9.   What STDs are considered the most deadliest?

Syphilis and AIDs are considered to be the deadliest STDs in the world.

AIDs is a condition where the HIV virus destroys your body’s immune system uptil the point where they are unable to even fight off a common flu. What makes it even deadlier is that a person could be AIDs and be a carrier for years, without ever knowing until the last stages where symptoms start to show.

The bacteria that causes syphilis urinary system, reproductive system and eventually travels up to infect other bodily systems. As a result, it causes great complications to the immune system, spinal cord, nervous system and cardiovascular system.

10 Can STDs cause infertility/ What are the risks associated with untreated STDs?

Although some STIs may not show signs or symptoms, if left untreated, all STIs are harmful.

They can cause infertility, urinary tracts problems or cancer in the genital areas. It could also increase the risk of developing other STDs like HIv or syphilis.

man wearing blue shirt and blue jeans

Credit: pickpik

Alt tag: man wearing blue shirt and blue jeans

Caption: Cardiovascular and neurosyphilis related symptoms.

11.Can children get STDs?

Yes, children are equally at risk when it comes to transmission during sexual intercourse. The most common cases of STDs in children were transmitted by sexual abuse in about 2%-10% of the abused children.

Moreover, a child could also be born with an STD which was transmitted by the infected mother through the placenta or during breastfeeding. HIV, syphilis and CMV are the most common STDs in fetuses or newborns.

12. Does circumcision reduce STDs?

With circumcision, a man can lower his risk for genitial herpes by 25% and HPV by 35%. They also lower the risk of infecting their female partners for trichomoniasis and other bacterial vaginal diseases.

This is mainly because the removal of the foreskin reduces the risk of exposure to pathogens, especially after sexual intercourse. Moreover, the mucosal lining of the foreskin also increases risk of infections in uncircumcised men.

HIV antibody test kit

Credit: flickr

Alt tag: HIV antibody test kit

Caption: Testing positive for the second time.

13. Can a person get STD more than once/ who is more prone to STD?

After being cured for an STD, a person can possibly contract the same or other sexual disease for as long as they continue to be actually active, especially with unprotected sex.

Just after one sexual intercourse, women have a 60% – 90% of getting infected by their partner while men have only a 20% risk.

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