Tag Archives: Sexually Transmitted Infections

STI Prevention And Awareness

It is becoming increasingly important to promote awareness and become educated about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) as the numbers are steadily rising around the country and will only continue to climb if we don’t take preventative measures. Simple choices like not having unprotected or intoxicated sex may mean the difference between being healthy or HIV positive. Untreated STIs can have devastating reproductive consequences if left undetected for years.

STI Statistics:

  1. Over 110 million American men and women have Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
  2. Of the 8 most common STIs only: syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis are treatable. The other 4: hepatitis B, herpes simplex virus, HIV, and human papillomavirus (HPV) are incurable (however there are medications available to help minimize symptoms).
  3. Gonorrhea is progressively developing resistance to common antibacterial treatments making it harder to treat effectively. If this continues, gonorrhea may become one of the incurable ones, therefore it is important to contain the spread of this STI.
  4. Many STIs are transferrable from mother to baby through birth including herpes and HIV. STIs can cause stillbirth, birth defects such as missing limbs, blindness, prematurity, or ailments such as pneumonia.
  5. Undetected or untreated syphilis causes more than 300,000 fetal fatalities annually, and leads to birth defects, congenital conditions and other health complications in 215,000 babies.
  6. Untreated STIs can cause infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women.
  7. Approximately 290 million women across the world have HPV.
  8. Each year HPV leads to over 520,000 cases of cervical cancer, 266,000 of which are deadly.
  9. Having certain STIs like herpes or syphilis can triple your risk of contracting HIV, so you should use extreme caution if you are already infected with an STI.
  10. Many STIs such as syphilis or gonorrhea can have few-to-no symptoms and may go undetected until they resurface to cause pregnancy complications or other issues years later. It is important to get checked for STIs when you first become pregnant so your doctor can take measures to protect your unborn baby in the presence of an STI such as to arrange a caesarian section birth.

STI Prevention

  • Avoid engaging in risky behaviors, such as: unprotected sex of any kind (unless you are in a committed monogamous relationship and were both tested); sex with multiple partners; sexual encounters with anonymous people; receiving unsterile or dangerous tattoos or injections; engaging in sexual behavior while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (your judgement may be impaired).
  • Females should be vaccinated with the HPV vaccination.
  • Use condoms properly every time you engage in sexual behaviour.
  • If you have multiple sexual partners (or one that you suspect may have an infection) get tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections.
  • If you are engaging in sexual activity with a partner who is HIV positive, ask your doctor about PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to see if it is a viable option for you.
  • Have open an discussion with your partners about if they were recently tested or have any existing STIs.
  • Talk to your doctor about your sexual habits and lifestyle to see what preventative measures he or she would suggest to help you lower your risk of contracting STIs, or prevent spreading STIs to others if you already have them.
  • Abstinence until you find a desired life partner is another preventative measure some wish to partake in.
  • It is also important to talk to your children when they are old enough about the importance of practicing abstinence or safe sex.

More Information

For more information about STIs or about how to talk to young people about STI prevention, visit the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s comprehensive database on sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases. If you already have an STI, there are resources available that can help with management and providing support, such as the American Sexual Health Association. For more information on these topics, you can talk to your doctor or one of our highly skilled DocChat physicians about STI prevention, treatment, management, or how to get tested today.

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