Sunday, September 13, 2015
An incredible number of myths surround the delicate subject of Sexually Transmitted Infections and Diseases (STIs and STDs). According to medical professionals, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have a high probability of being spread from person to person through sexual contact, but there are cases when other factors can cause the infection.
The term STI is quite broad: some infections are curable and may not cause any symptoms. But if the infection results in altering the typical function of the body, it is then called a disease: STD for ‘sexually transmitted disease’ or VD for ‘venereal disease’.
We want to make sure that our customers are always informed and up-to-date with all factors that can affect their general wellbeing. For this reason, we have put together a list of the most common STD and STI myths. This can help you to tell the difference between what is true and what is not when it comes to this delicate subject.
This is perhaps the biggest myth of all. It is the general belief that sex needs to occur and fluids need to be exchanged in order for infections to be passed, because they are called “sexually transmitted”.
It is certainly true that you are at a higher risk if you have or have had more than one sexual partner; you also run the risk of becoming infected if you have sex with someone who has had many partners and if you don't use a condom when having sex.
However, for some STIs, no penetration is needed. Germs hide in semen, blood, vaginal secretions and also sometimes in saliva. Some, such as those that cause genital herpes and genital warts, may be spread through skin contact. You can even get hepatitis B by sharing personal items, such as toothbrushes or razors, with someone who has it.
You can also be infected with trichomoniasis through contact with damp objects, such as wet towels, wet clothing or toilet seats, although it is more commonly spread by sexual contact. STIs can also be spread if you share needles when injecting intravenous drugs.
Some people believe that you are doomed once you get a sexually transmitted infection or disease.There are different types of sexually transmitted infections, which can be broken down into three basic types: bacterial, viral and parasitic. Bacterial and parasitic infections can be cured. Viral infections can be treated, but not completely cured.
Bacterial STDs include chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. Viral STDs include HIV, genital herpes, genital warts (HPV) and hepatitis B. Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite.
There used to be a widespread belief in the 80s and 90s that STIs / STDs only affected homosexuals. However, all three types of infection can occur whether you have heterosexual or homosexual sex.
Knowing as much as possible about STDs and STIs is one of the best ways to keep yourself sexually healthy. If you are a teenager, it may be helpful to get STI information from an adult, such as a parent, school nurse or teacher.
Sometimes people with STIs do not have any symptoms. If you are not routinely getting tested, you won’t know your status. You could unknowingly be passing it onto other partners or the infection could be doing some significant harm to you body. Some of the best tools for prevention and early detection are communicating with partners about their STI status, routine testing and safer sex practices.
If you have an STI or STD, you should seek professional medical advice. There are at least 15 fake products being sold online claiming to treat, cure or prevent STDs. While these websites look official and medically informative, you should not trust them. The FDA (The Food and Drug Administration) in the USA states that none of these products have been shown to treat any disease and they may have untested ingredients that could cause harm. Effective treatments for sexually transmitted diseases are only available by prescription, from a certified health professional.
The same applies for home treatment: it is never appropriate for STIs. Evaluation by a health professional is needed for any changes or symptoms in the genital area; only an evaluation will suggest an STD or a suspected exposure to an STI.
World Hepatitis Day takes place on 28th July each year, an international movement intended to raise awareness about viral hepatitis and to call for access to treatment, better prevention programs and government action.
400 million people live with hepatitis B and C worldwide and 1.4 million die due to these infections every year. Transmission of this virus can be prevented through better awareness and services that improve vaccinations, blood and injection safety.
We hope this article will help educate, create awareness and promote early detection and treatment. If you have any reason to be worried about your sex life or general well being, please get in touch. Our GP and chief pharmacist can be of great help.