Sexually Transmitted Infections (Stis) – Cause, Symptoms and Prevention

Any sexually active individual is prone to sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Men and women of all races, ages, ethnic background, regions, and even economic levels can get STIs.

Regular check-up in a sexual health clinic can help you know if you have an STI and treatment can begin immediately if you need so.

Diseases that are contracted through sexual intercourse are called Sexually Transmitted Infections. You can contract an STI when you have sex with an infected person. This includes any form of sexual intercourse; be it vagina, anal, or oral sex.

Young adults who have multiple sex partners or have sex with partners that have numerous sex partners have higher risks of STI than others — bisexual and gay men also have higher chances of STIs. Teenage girls also have higher risks of contracting STIs than adult women.

Examples of STIs are pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), chlamydia, trichomoniasis, gonorrhoea, syphilis, hepatitis B, scabies, herpes, pubic lice (crabs), HIV/AIDS, molluscum contagiosum, and the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Signs And Symptoms Of STI

Many STIs do not show any sign or symptoms, and for those who do, the indications for each STI vary. But the most common symptoms of STIs include:

  • Blisters or sores around the mouth
  • Blisters or sores on or around the genital area
  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating
  • Unusual discharge from the penis or vagina
  • Pain, swelling, and itching in and around the penis or vagina.
  • Pain in the abdomen or pelvic region, fever and chills.
  • Vaginal bleeding outside your monthly period, etc.

If you notice any of the above happening to you, it could be a sign of STI. What you have to do immediately is to go for STI testing in London.  You will be diagnosed and treated. This would prevent further damages and reduce your risk of spreading it to others.

How Do STIs Spread?

A lot of sexually transmitted infections are spread through sexual intercourse and coming in contact with infected body fluids such as semen, vaginal fluids, and blood.

STIs can also be transmitted through contact with a mucous membrane or infected skin such as sores in the mouth or genital area.

You can come in contact with infected body fluid and skin when you engage in oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Engaging in anal sex causes one to have a very high risk of STI because this form of sexual intercourse causes bleeding in most cases.

Also, sharing syringes and needles for drugs, piercing your body, and getting a tattoo can increase your risks of STI by exposing you to body fluids although the majority of STIs can spread through direct sexual contact with someone who is already infected.

However, others like scabies and pubic lice can only spread through close personal contact with someone infected. You can also contact it when you come in contact with their infested bed sheets, towels, or clothes.

How to Protect Yourself From Getting STI

The best and surest way to protect yourself from STI is to abstain from sex entirely. Some STIs can not be cured while others can be cured. However, if you are sexually active, the best way to protect yourself is to practice safe sex.

You can also find other ways to intimate a romantic relationship without having sex. This helps to prevent the exchange of body fluids such as vaginal discharge, semen, and blood.

If you must have sex, use a latex condom — this would prevent you from coming in direct contact with body fluids when engaged in oral, anal, or vaginal sex.

Below are tips to prevent STIs if you are sexually active:

  • Use condoms all the time

Always use a new latex condom anytime you have vaginal, anal sex or a dental dam when engaging in oral sex. You can use a polyurethane condom if you are allergic to latex.

  • Make sure your partner check for STI before having sex

STIs are not visible on the faces of an individual; you can not detect if someone has any of these infections by looking at them physically. To be safe, your partner and yourself should go to a Sexual Health Clinic in London and get tested.

This will help you know the status of your partner and help you protect yourself better. It is also important to note that STI tests do not pick up all the sexually transmitted infections.

  • Use water-based lubricant

When using condoms, make sure you use a water-based lubricant, this will prevent the condom from breaking. Do not use lubricants made of fat or cooking oil or petroleum jelly, as they can weaken the condom and increase the risk of breaking.

  • Do not have sex with someone who has the signs of STI

If your partner has the symptoms of an STI such as sores, discharge or rashes in the genital area, do not have sex with the individual.

He or she should go to sexual health clinic for testing and treatment so that they will not spread it to others. The doctor would indicate to the person when it is okay to have sex, and that would be after completion of the treatment.

  • Reduce your number of sex partners

You will have a higher risk of contracting STIs if you have many sex partners. Decrease the amount of your sexual partners or the best is to practice monogamy.

Stick to one partner and be faithful; it would reduce your risk of having STI. Also, make sure your partner is committed to you because even if you are faithful and your partner has other sex partners, you are still at risk of contracting an STI.

Other Ways to Avoid Getting an STI:

  • Do not share syringes or needles; you can contract HIV/AIDS by doing so.
  • Do not inject drugs or have sex with someone who injects drugs
  • Do not take drugs or alcohol, especially when you want to have sex; they make you less likely to use a condom.
  • Get HPV and hepatitis B vaccines
  • Do not douche; it affects the balance of flora in your vagina and increases your risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

What To Do If You Have STI

If you think you have STI, take the following steps below:

  • Inform your sex partners

You need to tell all your sex partners because they have been exposed to it and ask them to get STI testing in a London clinic. If you can not inform them, you can talk to your doctor or your health care provider, and he or she will help you tell them. The doctors can also find another way to let their partners know that they have been exposed and have to get tested and treated immediately.

  • Meet with a counsellor

If worried about having an STI, talk to your health care provider, and he or she will help you find a counsellor that can help you.

  • Treatment

You and your current sexual partner(s) should get treated at the same time so that the infection will not be passed back and forth.

  • Complete your medications

Ensure you take the drugs given to you according to your doctor’s instructions. Complete the dose even if you feel better right away so that you will not develop resistance to antibiotics, and this could lead to re-occurrence in the future, and that would be difficult to diagnose and treat.

  • Abstinence

Do not have any form of sex until your doctor says you can. This would prevent you from spreading it to others, and your doctor would only tell you to have sex when he/she is sure that you are cured and it is safe to do so.

  • Follow-up Examination

You can schedule a follow-up examination with your doctor or health care provider after you have finished the treatment. This helps you maintain your good health and to know what is going on in your body.

 Are STI Tests Always Accurate?

No test for any STI is 100% correct. Some STI takes time to show while some do not even have tests, so it is possible to miss them.

In testing, some STIs can take a couple of days to a few years to show up.

If you think you have STI, go to a sexual health clinic in London and get tested. If the result comes out negative, you may have to go to your health care provider and get retested.

Note that you still have to keep practising safe sex even if the result comes out negative.

Is STI Testing Confidential?

Whatever you disclose about your exposure to STI and sexual behaviour is strictly confidential.

In the case of STI, a health care provider will not talk about anything you tell him or her unless they believe that you are a danger to others and yourself or they find out that you are not able to make decisions on your own. Where if any of the above conditions do not apply to you, anything you disclose is safe. Your partners, parents, or teachers cannot source out any information from your health care provider about STIs.

In some cases, parents can find out because the insurance company can send an explanation of benefits (EOB) statement to a parent who subscribed the health insurance. This is an unfortunate situation, but it does happen.

To discuss this with your primary health care provider. You might find it helpful to talk to your parents about your health and worries — it is good to have an adult to talk to even though this can be a scary time for you.

If I Treat an STI, Can I Get it Again?

Yes, there is a possibility of a reoccurrence even after treatment. This happens when you have sex, and the risk is even higher when you have sex without a condom.

It is also possible to have more than one STI at a time and then some STIs are not curable. So, it is still possible to have an STI even if you have received treatment.

 Can STIs Cause Any Serious Problems?

We always advocate prompt treatment because if treatment is delayed or the STI is not even treated at all, it can lead to more complications and damages in the body. Regular STI testing can help diagnose STI and ensure treatment starts immediately.

Below are some of the damages an untreated STI can cause in the body:

  • Worsening infection
  • Increased risk for some cancer, especially penile cancer and cancer of the cervix
  • Pain
  • Congenital disabilities
  • Infertility
  • Heart disease
  • Brain damage
  • Death

Is There Any Relationship Between STI And Pregnancy?

Pregnant women with untreated STIs have higher risks of giving birth to babies with congenital disabilities. They can also pass on these STIs to their babies, and they have a higher risk of miscarriage than women who do not have STIs.

STIs lead to premature births, low birth weight, and also, infected mothers can give birth to babies with health problems such as brain damage, eye infections, and pneumonia.

When Is The Right Time To Have A Pap Smear Test?

The right time for a lady to have a pap test is when she turns 21, and it can be done earlier if there are other risks for abnormal pap tests such as immune system problems.

Pap test is not a direct check for STIs, but the pap test will show if you have the human papillomavirus (HPV). Pap testing is the only way to check for cervical cancer by checking for abnormal changes in the cells.

If you think you are at risk of STI or you have an STI, your health care provider will check you and explain to you when to begin

 What Is The Best Way To Prevent STIs?

The ways to best prevent contracting a sexually transmitted infection is to abstain from sex entirely. The second alternative is to use a latex condom and a water-based lubricant any time you have sex.

Also, ensure that your partner is free from STI or have a low risk of STI. It is advised you go for regular STD screening. You will be checked to see if you have gotten an STI and you will also be educated on how to prevent STI.

You can contact London based sexual health clinic near you and book an appointment. Here, at STI Clinic London, we carry out test and treatment on sexually transmitted infections and also run regular check-ups.

We also handle our patient’s information with confidentiality — our diagnoses are fast, and we give you the right treatment suitable, as well as enlighten you on the best ways to prevent STIs.

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