A global problem!
A sexually transmitted infection is one of the most prolific problems which affect the genital areas. Millions of people all over the world have been affected at least once in their lives. It is easy to pick up if preventative measures are not in place, but unfortunately it is not so easy to get rid of. The STI is no respecter of gender, race, age, or country, and is indeed a worldwide problem.
Not everyone is aware of what STI’s entail, and many folk have misconceptions and incorrect ideas about sexually transmitted infections.
Here are some basic facts that everyone should know
- Genital herpes
Herpes, like most other STI’s, is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Some folk believe that you can catch it from a toilet seat, or a towel. This is not possible as the virus cannot live outside the body for a long time. Herpes is also spread by saliva, mainly by kissing or oral sex.
- Sharing a utensil
Because herpes is spread by saliva, there is a chance that it can be passed on by drinking containers, straws and even lip balm. Don’t share, especially if you or your partner have cold sores or blisters.
- Wearing a condom
There is a myth doing the rounds that if you wear 2 condoms, you will have double the protection. This is not so, as they might rub against each other, causing friction. One or both of the condoms could break or tear. Rather opt for a high-quality latex condom to be safe.
- How to tell if you or your partner has a genital STI
The obvious signs include a rash, sores, or redness, in the genital areas. These signs could also be a good way to assess your own status, if you suspect you could be infected. Unfortunately, symptoms are not always present, and you cannot be certain unless you get tested. But remember that a STI may only show up in about 3 months after you have been exposed, so to be sure of a true negative result, take another test after 3 months or so.
- Who is most likely have a STI?
Studies have shown that 50% of all new STI cases in several countries, consist of people of ages 15 to 24. This is especially true today, when the age of sexual activity is much lower than it ever was. But in truth, you can get a STI at any age if you have more than one partner, and have unprotected sex.
- The birth control pill
There is an erroneous belief that the contraceptive pill prevents a woman from picking up a STI during unprotected sex. This is hopelessly incorrect, and many women have found it out to their detriment. Birth control creams, foam or sperm-killing jelly, also do not work effectively. The best thing to do might be to use a condom in conjunction with cream, foam etc.
- Sex toys
These can also spread STI’s if not washed and rinsed properly after use, using warm, soapy water with added disinfectant.
Is there a cure?
STI’s like herpes, stay in your system forever. However you can prevent new breakouts by keeping your immune system up to scratch, and using a condom to protect against new infections. Certain meds, like creams and anti-inflammatories can help to ease the symptoms.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common STI, and causes genital warts which can lead to cervical cancer. Fortunately, there is a vaccination against HPV available which can prevent HPV infection.
We can help
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