Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

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The 5 Facts You Need To know!

A report published in 2020 by the World Health Organisation found that Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) infect more than 1 million people every day. Alarmingly, this figure doesn’t accurately convey the actual number of yearly infections, as only a mere 30% of people regularly test for STIs! 

The highest number of regular testing took place among pregnant women and high-risk people, but only because testing for STIs is mandatory for these individuals. Ultimately, a whopping 70% of the general population isn’t going for regular testing, creating the perfect opportunity for Sexually Transmitted Diseases to spread freely and widely.

The main reason people don’t have an STI test is that they experience a lack of signs or symptoms. A massive 66% of STI cases do not present with any signs or symptoms, so it is easy to see how an STI can go undetected for years without treatment.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Here are five facts about STIs that you need to know:

1. Testing for an STI is the only way to know you have one

Relying on symptoms to know if you have an STI is unreliable as most people do not show any signs. Even if you have symptoms, many STDs have similar symptoms to other conditions, such as urinary tract infections. Getting an STI test will put your mind at ease and allow you to lead a healthy sexual life. We recommend a yearly test if you are sexually active or more frequently if you are more likely to be exposed to infection. Although we know testing is scary, it is one of the most empowering ways to take charge of your sexual health.

2. STIs can lead to severe health conditions if left untreated

Complications of untreated STIs include infertility, chronic pain, reproductive issues, cancer and even death in both men and women. Regular testing for STIs and seeking medical intervention are crucial for managing STIs. Additionally, infected mothers can pass on chlamydia, gonorrhoea, hepatitis B and herpes to their babies during the birthing process. At the same time, syphilis and HIV can pass through the placenta and infect the baby in the womb. Babies infected with an STI can also suffer adverse health effects such as blindness, breathing problems, and organ damage.

Examples of the types of complications that can result from an untreated STI include:

Chlamydia:

Pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility
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Genital herpes:

Bladder problems, meningitis
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Gonorrhea:

Pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility
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Hepatitis B:

Cirrhosis, liver cancer
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HIV:

Reduced life expectancy, opportunistic infections
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HPV:

Cervical cancer, anal cancer, penile cancer
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Syphilis:

Blindness, loss of motor skills, dementia, and damage to the heart, brain, eyes, kidneys, and bones
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3. 66% of Sexually Transmitted Infections have no signs or symptoms

It is possible to have an STI and never know about it, as many cases have no symptoms. The most common symptom of an STI is no symptom at all. If symptoms are present, they can be mild and disappear without medical intervention. Unfortunately, you are still contagious even if you do not have symptoms, and you can still pass on STIs to your partner and suffer from STD-related complications.

4. Anyone can catch a Sexually Transmitted Infection

There isn’t a criterion on who can get an STI or STD. Furthermore, anyone can be infected with an STI, regardless of age, gender, race, marital status, and other socioeconomic factors. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest burden of Sexually Transmitted Diseases globally, with approximately 40% of all infections found in the region. This translates to 146 million new cases per year in Africa.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

5. Some Sexually Transmitted Diseases are curable and all of them are treatable

All STIs are treatable, and many of the STIs are curable. Four of the eight most common STIs are curable; they are chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics that can cure these infections. There is no cure for the remaining 4 STIs, namely HIV, herpes, hepatitis B and HPV. The good news is that these infections are treatable with the help of antivirals and a healthy lifestyle.

If you live a sexually active life, take control, and go get an STI test. You can speak to your General Practitioner, Local Clinic, or contact Deep Medical Therapeutics. We provide discreet, convenient, and affordable STI testing services. You can either get a standard test which tests for four of the most common STIs. Otherwise, you can buy a comprehensive test which tests for 13 STIs. We are here to answer any questions you may have.

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