Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. The causes of STIs are bacteria, parasites, yeast, and viruses. There are more than 20 types of STIs, including Chlamydia, Genital herpes, Gonorrhea, HIV/AIDS, HPV, Syphilis, Trichomoniasis. Most STIs affect both men and women, but in many cases the health problems they cause can be more severe for women. If a pregnant woman has an STI, it can cause serious health problems for the baby.
Sexually transmitted infections can be caused by bacteria, parasites and viruses. Following factors can also cause STIs :
- Having unprotected sex. Vaginal or anal penetration by an infected partner who isn’t wearing a latex condom significantly increases the risk of getting an STI.
- Having sexual contact with multiple partners. The more people you have sexual contact with, the greater your risk.
- Injecting drugs. Needle sharing spreads many serious infections, including HIV
- Sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV and syphilis can be passed from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy or delivery.
Many STIs have only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. The common symptoms of sexually transmitted infections include:
- Itching around the vagina
- Discharge from the penis/vagina
- Pain during sex or when urinating
- Sore throats in people who have oral sex
- Pain in or around the anus for people who have anal sex
- Swollen glands, fever and body aches
- Lower abdominal pain
- Bleeding between periods in women
- Testicular pain in men
As sexually transmitted infection is contagious and serious, do not try to treat yourself. STIs caused by bacteria are generally easier to treat and it can be cured with antibiotics, if treatment begins early enough. Viral STIs cannot be cured, but you can manage symptoms with medications. If you are pregnant and have an STI, prompt treatment can prevent or reduce the risk of infection of your baby.
If you are given antibiotics to treat an STI, it is important that you take all of the drug prescribed to you, even if the symptoms go away.
Treatment usually consists of one of the following, depending on the infection:
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics, often in a single dose, can cure many sexually transmitted bacterial and parasitic infections, including gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia and trichomoniasis.
- Antiviral drugs: You will have fewer herpes recurrences if you take daily suppressive therapy with a prescription of antiviral drug. Antiviral drugs lessen the risk of infection, but it is still possible to give your partner herpes.