Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) continue to be a serious public health issue worldwide, affecting industrialized and developing countries like Nigeria.
With increasing mobility and a rise in the number of sexual partners, the cases of STDs have been on the rise. We will explore the various aspects of STDs, their transmission, their symptoms, and the importance of prevention and treatment.
What is “STD” or Sexually Transmitted Disease?
In the past, STDs were commonly referred to as “venereal diseases,” named after Venus, the goddess of love. However, the term “sexually transmitted diseases” or “sexually transmitted infections” (STIs) is now preferred to highlight the fact that many infections may not exhibit clear symptoms.
Currently, approximately twenty different STDs have been officially recognized by science. While some are curable, others are controllable but not curable, such as hepatitis B, AIDS, and HPV.
STDs can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi, and they can affect both men and women of any age, including adolescents. Individuals, such as females and homosexuals, are more vulnerable to these infections.
Sexual intercourse is the most common method of transmission. Vaginal, anal, and oral sex are some infections that can also be transmitted through shared items like towels and infected sanitary items. Additionally, STDs can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
Sexual intercourse is the most common method of transmission. It can also be transmitted via vaginal, anal, and oral sex, or through shared items like towels and infected sanitary items.
It is important to note that many STDs can remain asymptomatic in the early stages, making it hard to identify the infection. Consequently, individuals may unknowingly transmit the disease to others. However, some signs may indicate the presence of an STD.
For women, abnormal vaginal discharge, irritation, or inflammation should be investigated. It is also essential to pay attention to any changes, such as redness, swelling, blisters, or other abnormalities in the genital area.
Pain during sexual intercourse, burning sensations during urination, or unusual urethral discharge can also indicate an infection.
If any doubts or concerns arise, consulting a healthcare professional is highly recommended.
Complications and Risks
Failing to recognize and promptly treat STDs can lead to severe and sometimes irreversible complications. In women, infections such as gonorrhoea or chlamydia can spread to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease.
This condition is not only extremely painful, but it can also cause infertility, ectopic pregnancies, and premature birth. Additionally, genital lesions and inflammations caused by different STDs can increase the risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV.
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Diagnosis and Treatments? How to Prevent it?
Timely diagnosis and treatment are crucial in effectively managing STDs. Seeking medical attention if an infection is suspected is essential to determine the appropriate course of action. It is important to note that both partners should undergo treatment, even if one partner is asymptomatic, to prevent reinfection.
Abstaining from sexual activity until completion of the treatment and receiving confirmation from a healthcare professional that the infection has been eradicated can help reduce the risk of transmission.
Vaccines are also available for certain STDs, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B. In conclusion, STDs remain a significant concern in Nigeria and globally, and their prevention and control rely heavily on responsible sexual behaviour and timely diagnosis.
By utilizing proper protection, such as condoms, and engaging in open communication with healthcare professionals, individuals can reduce the risk of infection and the transmission of STDs.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases are real! Remember, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to sexual health.