Facts to Keep in Mind about STIs

Introduction.

It is important to know some basic facts about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) to keep you safe from contracting STIs. STIs are spread from one person with the infections to another person who does not have the same infections through sexual contact.

STIs are very common, and they also easily spread. Some can be treated and cured, and others cannot be treated or cured. Knowing facts will help you and people close to you healthy and safe from STIs.

The difference between STIs and STDs

In most social or common conversations, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are taken to mean the same thing and used interchangeably. They are not the same thing.

An infection is an attack by bacteria, viruses, or parasites on the human body. The infection can or cannot develop into a disease. An infection comes before a disease.

An STI is an initial stage, and it develops into STD. In other words, an STD begins as an STI and not vice versa. An infection might not show any signs and symptoms, while a disease usually comes with signs and symptoms.

Not all STIs have symptoms. It’s possible to contract sexually transmitted infections from people who seem healthy and may not even know they have an infection.

Infections can be transmitted in two different ways, and they can be transmitted sexually or non-sexually. STIs can be passed from one person to another, sexually, in the semen, blood, vaginal fluids, and other fluids.

On the other end, STIs can be spread from one person to another, non-sexually. For example, STI-positive mothers can spread the infection to the infant during childbirth. STI can also be spread through blood transfusions and sharing sharp objects such as needles.

Therefore, anyone is at risk of contracting STIs. Teenagers, young adults, and older adults alike. However, young adults and teenagers are at the highest risk of contracting STIs.

STIs are not transmitted through casual contact such as sharing items, sharing meals, shaking hands, hugging, sharing a bed, and sharing clothes.

Signs and Symptoms of STIs or STDs

STDs and STIs have a varied range of signs and symptoms, including zero symptoms. At times, the infections or diseases may be present in an individual but with no symptoms. Some of them get noticed after they have caused some health complications in the body or when a person undergoes diagnosis.

If an STD starts with asymptomatic STI, a patient might the first experience:

  • Discomfort during sex
  • Pain during urination
  • Sores or rashes around the vagina, penis, testicles, or anus.
  • Unusual bleeding from the vagina or penis.
  • Swollen or painful testicles
  • Itchiness around the vagina
  • Unexpected periods
  • Bleeding after sex

Men may experience the following symptoms:

  • Itching in the penis
  • A discharge from the penis
  • Pain around pelvis
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Vision or hearing changes
  • Nausea
  • High temperature
  • Painful urination
  • Sores, bumps, or blisters on penis, anus, or mouth
  • Sores on the genitals.
  • Pain during urination

Women may experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • Vaginal dryness and itching.
  • A discharge from the vagina
  • Pain around the pelvis
  • Unusual bleeding from the vagina
  • Pain during sex
  • Sores, bumps, or blisters in the vagina or anus
  • Pain during urination
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Vision or hearing changes
  • Nausea
  • High temperature
  • Having to go to the bathroom often.

Causes of STIs and STDs

All STDs are caused by an STI.

STDs or STIs can be caused by:

  •         Bacteriasuch as gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia
  •         Parasitessuch as Trichomoniasis.
  •         Viruses – such as HPV, genital herpes, and HIV.

Examples of the most common types of STIs/STDs: Chlamydia, shigella infection, Gonorrhea, giardia infection, Syphilis, Genital Herpes, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Hepatitis a, B, and C viruses, and Trichomoniasis.

Risk factors

Factors that may increase risks of contracting the STIs include:

  •         Having unprotected sex. 
  •         Having sexual contact with multiple partners. 
  •         Having a history of STIs. 
  •         Being forced to engage in sexual activity. 
  •         Sharing needles spread many infections such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C

Prevention

There are several ways to avoid or reduce your risk of STDs or STIs.

  •         Abstain if possible.
  •         Stay with one uninfected partner. 
  •         Get vaccinated to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
  •         Use condoms consistently and correctly. 
  •         Don’t drink alcohol excessively or use drugs to avoid taking sexual risks.
  •         Consider voluntary medical male circumcision. 
  •         Consider using preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP). 

Conclusion

Some STDs are treatable though not all of them are curable. The best way to prevent them is to get regular screening and practice safer sex. STD patients should seek treatment as soon as possible.

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