What are STDs?
Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are infections that are predominantly transmitted through sexual intercourse. This includes vaginal, anal and oral sex. Some STDs can be blood-borne, and can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth.
Many STDs may not present with symptoms at all however, if they do show symptoms, common symptoms of STDs include vaginal and urethral discharge, genital ulcers and abdominal pain.
Consequences of STD
WHO reports that 1 million STDs are acquired every day. STDs can have serious long term and short term consequences, this includes:
- STIs like herpes and syphilis increases your risk of HIV by three times or more
- Mother-to-child transmission can result in stillbirth, pneumonia, congenital deformities, premature birth and death.
- HPV infection causes 300 000 cervical cancer deaths each year and 570 000 causes of cervical cancer.
- Chlamydia and gonorrhea increases the risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) that may cause infertility in women and though rare, it can also cause infertility in men.
Condoms are proven to be 98% effective at reducing the risk of catching or spreading most STDs, during vaginal, anal or oral sex.
Non-barrier forms of contraception may protect you from unwanted pregnancies but it does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.
Other ways to reduce the risk of catching or spreading STDs:
- Regular testing
To read more about STD prevention, click here.
Common types of STDs
There are multiple types of STDs, and you can get infected with more than one at the same time.
Here are some common STDs:
- Genital herpes
- Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
These are some common STDs and if left untreated, can cause multiple consequences. Getting tested is a good way to have early intervention and prevent further spread.
To learn more about testing click here.