How frequent are STI´s?
It is impossible to know exactly because there is a significant number of under declarations and underdiagnoses worldwide. For example, HIV infection, which currently has a pattern of sexual transmission in urban and coastal areas, has rates above the rest of Andalusia in Malaga. Also in 2018, Málaga is among the provinces with the highest rates of syphilis, gonococcal infection and infection by Chalmydia Trachomatis along with Seville and Granada.
Who is at risk of contracting an STI?
Any person who has sex is at risk of contracting them. It is estimated that half of sexually active people will contract an STI before the age of 25.
How is an STI acquired?
STIs are spread through sexual contact with a person who has the disease. This sexual contact includes sexual relations at the genital, anal and oral levels, as well as genital skin-to-skin contact.
How can I suspect if I have an STI?
Unfortunately, most sexually transmitted diseases do not show signs or symptoms. So any person who has had or has sexual relations, could be infected. Therefore, if there is any suspicion of STIs early diagnosis by health personnel is recommending especially with young, sexually active people who visit the clinic. Among the possible symptoms are genital warts, ulcers and urethral discharge or vaginal exudation.
What are the screening tests to check for STI?
It is necessary to make a detailed history this includes a questionnaire about your sexual habits, a thorough physical examination, a blood test, and taking microbiological samples to include cultures and molecular biology techniques at the genital level (penis, vagina, cervix uterus), anal or oral, according to sexual practices. These tests are simple and have a high sensitivity.
What happens if STIs are not diagnosed and treated?
Untreated STIs can cause serious and permanent health problems, even if you never have symptoms. Among them, higher risk of transmitting or contracting an HIV infection, inability to get pregnant, complications during pregnancy or increased risk of developing premalignant and malignant lesions, mainly in the cervix in women or anally in the case of anal intercourse in both sexes. A very important risk group is men who have sex with men (MSM) who must undergo periodic studies at this level to prevent anal cancer, especially if not suffering from HIV infection.
What should I do if I have just received the news that I have an STI?
The first step is to seek treatment, in most cases it is quick and effective; and not having sex until your doctor tells you to. It is also essential to communicate with your partner or sexual partners. In these cases, the best advice we can give our patients is to be frank and direct with couples. In addition, in some cases, you may have contracted the infection in a previous relationship without even knowing it. It is important that everyone knows what their situation is. Only in this way can measures be taken to protect patients and their partners.
How can I protect myself from acquiring an STI?
Deciding to be sexually active means putting yourself at risk of getting an STI. To protect your health it is important to limit the number of sexual partners, insist that the use of condoms is not negotiable in case of sporadic sexual relations and also gay men, bisexuals and men who have sex with men should know that they have greater risk of contracting hepatitis A and B virus infections, and that there are vaccines available against these viruses.
In recent years we already have acquired the vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV) that is already recommended to women and men, although it would be
ideal to receive it before the beginning of sexual relations.