Sexually transmitted diseases or infections are a wide range of infections that are ravaging the world. The statistics are just so alarming. Sex seems to be a normal part of life for many people, and as a result of that, diseases that come from sexual intercourse are bound to spread with higher intensity. The complexity of the condition has also resulted from the increased acceptability of homosexual activities. But whether homosexual or heterosexual, the infections from sex are many and severe, and it is essential that we learn how to prevent ourselves from these dreaded diseases.
Statistics from the World Health Organization has revealed some alarming facts and statistics in regards to the prevalence and enormity of STDs.
- According to their official website, More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide.
- Each year, there are an estimated 357 million new infections with 1 of 4 STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis.
- More than 500 million people are estimated to have genital infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV).
- More than 290 million women have a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection (1).
- The majority of STIs have no symptoms or only mild symptoms that may not be recognized as an STI.
- STIs such as HSV type 2 and syphilis can increase the risk of HIV acquisition.
- Over 900 000 pregnant women were infected with syphilis resulting in approximately 350 000 adverse birth outcomes including stillbirth in 2012 (2).
In some cases, STIs can have serious reproductive health consequences beyond the immediate impact of the infection itself (e.g., infertility or mother-to-child transmission)
Drug resistance, especially for gonorrhea, is a major threat to reducing the impact of STIs worldwide.
DEADLY CONSEQUENCES of STDs
The fact that many of these STDs or STIs come with no symptoms that are immediately noticeable makes them more dangerous. Early diagnosis is difficult in most cases. As a result, the disease would have gotten to a delicate stage before they are diagnosed making cure difficult. Many of the STDs are merely manageable and not treatable.
- STDs can result in death in the case of HIV. Also, they can cause many other reproductive issues like infertility. The WHO website lists these conditions as the product of STD:
- STIs like herpes and syphilis can increase the risk of HIV acquisition three-fold or more.
- Mother-to-child transmission of STIs can result in stillbirth, neonatal death, low-birth-weight and prematurity, sepsis, pneumonia, neonatal conjunctivitis, and congenital deformities. Over 900 000 pregnant women were infected with syphilis resulting in approximately 350 000 adverse birth outcomes including stillbirth in 2012 (2).
- HPV infection causes 528 000 cases of cervical cancer and 266 000 cervical cancer deaths each year.
- STIs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia are major causes of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility in women.
- The adverse effects of STDs are limitless, and they can bring a lot of pain to their victims.
STDs are caused majorly by sexual contact including oral sex, anal sex, and vaginal sex. STDs have also been known to result from blood contact with sufferers of the disease. This blood contact can be through needles and body fluids. STDs can also be transmitted through breastfeeding and childbirth.
PREVENTION IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN CURE
Given the prevalence of STD and their terrible effects, it is essential to know the necessary preventive measures. Many STDs cannot be cured and can leave a stigma that can last throughout a person’s lifetime. They also make you a potential source of harm to the people you love.
Ways to Protect Your Self from STDs
Therefore, it is essential to be aware of measures that can help prevent STDs and minimize the risks of contacting any of it.
- Pay closer attention to your sex life :Abstinence is still the best means of prevention. When you abstain from sex, the likelihood of contracting an STD reduces. However, for those who cannot abstain from sex, the first safety measure is to know your sex partner and refrain from multiple partners. It is essential to be sure your sex partner at any point in time is clean. Don’t just accept their words for it since many people don’t even know if they are at risk of these deadly diseases. Therefore, the best step to take is to go for a test with your partner or ask for a verified test result to be sure of your safety. Consequently, ensure you and your partner is faithful to each other. STD status is not constant, and one test is not a lifetime guarantee unless both of you don’t have multiple partners. Ensure your sex partner is someone you can trust. If you need to have sex, put enough safety measures in place. Buy quality condoms or use quality vaginal rings as the case may be. Using good condoms and vaginal rings The risks are reduced when you use good condoms or vaginal rings. Safe sexual practices play a major role in preventing STDs.
- Go for a regular checkup: Every disease is better diagnosed earlier than later. Don’t wait for symptoms to develop because in most cases, there may not be significant symptoms. Make sure you register with an STD clinic where you can go for a regular checkup to be sure everything is ok.
- Avoid bloody contact: STDs can be committed through blood contact with victims. Sharing of needles or clippers is discouraged. It is advisable not to share any object that can have contact with another person’s blood. As much as possible, avoid contact with any other person’s blood.
Keep yourself safe and secure so you won’t live a diseased life. Prevention is still the best cure.