Everything you always wanted to know about sexually transmitted infections

The undisputed protagonists of sex education classes are sexually transmitted infections (ITS).

However, these talks are sometimes uncomfortable, unsupported and even damaging, leaving young people with lots of unanswered questions and little support. Sometimes sex education is not clear enough or does not provide useful information for students.

As they grow older and begin to have sexual experiences, many continue to experience gaps in their knowledge of sexual health.

Talking about STIs continues to elicit feelings of discomfort and shame, when in fact it is a natural part of human sexuality. Many times the stigma of STIs is worse than the reality of having them.

The more we normalize everything related to sexual health, the better the sexual decision-making process will be, regardless of age, gender or sexual preferences of each one.

One of the greatest tools to normalize STIs is education. That is what we are here for today. We must talk about STIs. Clearly mention the most common ones and raise any questions about them.

Are STIs common?

According to American Sexual Health Association, half of all sexually active people in the United States will contract an STI by age 25. Of the 20 million new cases of STIs that are diagnosed in the United States each year, about half are in people ages 15 to 24.

That is quite common! Without being carried away by fear, it is important to understand what STIs are, what risks they entail, how to prevent them and what to do in case of contagion (which is totally normal!).

How Often Should I Get Tested?

The decision, as with almost all sexual health issues, is a personal one. It depends on who you have sex with, what kind of sex they are, how many partners you have, and how many partners your partners have.

Testing is generally recommended once a year, but some people do it every six months or more often. If you have any STI symptoms, get tested immediately to prevent long-term health problems.

How do I talk to my partner about STIs?

Talking about this topic can be distressing, uncomfortable, and elicit many other emotions. Especially if you have or have had an STI.

Only you know the best way to tell your new partner (or your longtime partner) that you have an STI. But it is important that sincerity prevails. You can ask questions like “when was the last time you took a test?” “Have you had sex with someone since then?”, “What precautions do you take?”

Remember that STIs are totally normal, and that if you or your partner have one, that does not mean that you cannot have a full and satisfying sex life.

Let’s review some of the most common STIs

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Have you ever had a Pap test? When they collect samples from the cervix with a cotton swab, it is to check if you have the VPH, which is the most common sexual infection.

HPV actually includes a whole group of viruses. There are over a hundred different strains of HPV. Fourteen of them are potentially carcinogenic; that is, they can cause cervical or genital cancer.

Others can cause genital warts, which are not only uncomfortable but also highly contagious.

HPV can be spread through any type of skin or genital contact, not just penetration. There is currently a vaccine to prevent HPV that can cause cervical cancer. Also, most HPV cases resolve on their own within a couple of years.

Virus del herpes simple (VHS)

There are two strains of HSV, HSV-1 (known as cold sores) and HSV-2, which usually causes genital herpes. HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes through oral sex.

According to the World Health Organization, around 67% of people under the age of fifty have HSV-1, while 13% have HSV-2.

Although both viruses are lifelong, most people are asymptomatic. An asymptomatic person can transmit both strains of HSV, but the risk is greater when they have active sores.

If you have herpes, you don’t have to be ashamed of it! Outbreaks can be treated with medicine and steps can be taken to prevent them.

Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Syphilis

Are the ITS most common. They are often grouped together because while all three can be cured with antibiotics, if left untreated they can lead to fertility problems and other life-threatening side effects. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are often passed together.

Possible symptoms of gonorrhea and chlamydia include a yellow discharge, frequent urination or painful urination, and vaginal or rectal bleeding (out of period). Syphilis transmission can cause a small painless sore on the genitals, followed by a rash on the hands and feet, along with flu-like symptoms.

It is important to treat yourself even if the symptoms are reduced, because the virus is still latent in the body.

Most of the time, these infections occur without symptoms, so it is important to have tests with the appropriate periodicity for the situation.

VIH / SIDA

The HIV (HIV) is an infection that causes a person’s white blood cells to attack the body’s immune system. Without treatment, HIV can lead to AIDS, which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. In 2018, approximately 37.9 million people had HIV / AIDS worldwide.

The impact of HIV / AIDS varies greatly depending on the healthcare available to the patient. Thanks to modern medicine, many people with HIV live long and prosperous lives (and yes, they also have sex) thanks to drugs that keep their viral load low.

In terms of prevention, condoms are very effective in preventing the transmission of HIV.

Some people do not show any symptoms when they contract the virus, but this is when they are most likely to be infected. Afterward, they develop flu-like symptoms, weight loss, diarrhea, and trouble fighting other infections.

Remember, STIs are normal; you should not be afraid or ashamed. To normalize STIs and sexual health, the important thing is to promote education, awareness and communication.

We would like to give thanks to the writer of this post for this incredible content

Everything you always wanted to know about sexually transmitted infections


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