Sexually transmitted diseases are a variety of infections that normally transmit between people via sexual contact. They are widespread across the globe and can affect any sexually active person, regardless of gender, age or sexual orientation. They range in severity from public lice to AIDS, which has killed millions of people.
Sexual contact is a primary method for disease causing organisms to spread. There are more than 30 viral, parasitic and bacterial illnesses that can pass between sexually active individuals.
Most of these infections only affect the sexual organs and reproductive systems, such as gonorrhoea, chlamydia, genital herpes, warts and trichomoniasis. Some other STIs can enter at the point of sexual contact but affect other areas of the body, such as with syphilis and AIDS.
Some infections can cause serious implications and complications, particularly for women. Often these infections cause no obvious symptoms in both women and men and can go for long periods without detection or treatment. The result of this means that women can go on to suffer pelvic inflammatory disease, possibly leasing to infertility. Contraction of the human papilloma virus can also lead to an increase in the risk of cervical cancer for women. Untreated syphilis can lead to heart problems, deafness, blindness and psychiatric problems years after initial infection.
That is why is it so important to get checked. You don’t even need to go to a clinic to get this peace of mind as home testing kits are now available. For a home STI test Greenwich, visit https://www.checkurself.org.uk/plus/
Anyone can contract an STI, but you’ll be at higher risk if:
- Begin sexual activity at a young age
- Have multiple sexual partners
- Do not always use condoms
- Do not seek regular check ups
You can contract an STI even if you’ve only had sex once with one partner, if their partner is infected.
STIs are easily spread as many people do not realise they are infected. The infections can be spread between heterosexual partners, homosexual partners and from anal, oral or penetrative sex and the sharing of sex toys.
They can also be transmitted through non-sexual contact including from mother to baby (HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and genital herpes). HIV can be transmitted through contact with infected blood and through breastfeeding. Other routes of transmission
The infections that cause sores on the skin can occasionally be transmitted with simple skin contact. However, most of these illnesses cannot be transferred via a toilet seat for example. The exception is trichomoniasis, which is thought to sometimes transfer between shared towels or other intimate objects.
Thankfully, most common STIs can be treated effectively. They are divided into those that can be cured and those that can’t be cured but treated.
Those infections caused by bacteria or parasites fall into the curable category. This includes chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis. Medication is available and often the treatment is quick, cured in just one dose.
The viral infections are those that can be treated but often not cured. These include HIV/AIDS, genital warts and genital herpes. There are drugs available to treat the condition, but the virus remains in the body. Medication helps to ease symptoms and for HIV, can greatly extend and improve quality of life.