Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)are mainly passed from one person to another (that is transmitted) during sex. There are at least 25 different sexually transmitted illnesses with a range of different symptoms. These infections may be spread through vaginal, anal and oral sex.
Most sexually transmitted infections will only affect you if you have sexual contact with someone who has an STI. However there are some infections, for example scabies, which are referred to as STIs because they are most commonly transmitted sexually, but which can also be passed on in other ways.
STI versus STD
Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) is another name for Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). The name STI is sometimes preferred because there are a few STDs, such as chlamydia, that can infect a person without causing any actual disease (i.e. unpleasant symptoms). Someone without symptoms may not think of themselves as having a disease, but they may still have an infection that needs treating.
STI symptoms vary, but the most common are soreness, unusual lumps or sores, itching, pain when urinating, and/or an unusual discharge from the genitals.
The following common symptoms may occur in infected men and women.
A drip or unusual discharge from the sex organ
Sores, bumps or blisters on or near the sex organs anus or mouth
Burning pain when you urinate (pee) or have a bowel movement
A swelling or redness in your throat
Swelling in your groin, the area around your sex organs.
In addition women may present with the following symptoms:
Pain in the area between your belly bottom and sex organs
Burning or itching around your vagina
Vaginal bleeding between periods
Pain deep inside the vagina when you have sex
For more information about the signs, symptoms,
and treatments of some common STDs, click on the links below.
If you think you have an STI, please visit a health care provider. Most health centres clinics private doctors and hospitals treat STIs.
Remember to follow your health care provider’s instructions carefully and do not share or take medication from other persons.
Some of the things that increase a person's chances of getting an STD are:
Sexual activity at a young age. The younger a person starts having sex, the greater his or her chances of becoming infected with an STD.
Lots of sex partners. People who have sexual contact — not just intercourse, but any form of intimate activity — with many different partners are more at risk than those who stay with the same partner.
Unprotected sex. Latex condoms are the only form of birth control that reduce your risk of getting an STD, and must be used every time. Spermicides, diaphragms, and other birth control methods may help prevent pregnancy, but they don't protect a person against STD
Preventing and Treating STDs
As with many other diseases, prevention is key. It's much easier to prevent STDs than to treat them. The only way to completely prevent STDs is to abstain from all types of sexual contact. If someone is going to have sex, the best way to reduce the chance of getting an STD is by using a condom every time.
People who are considering having sex should get regular gynecological or male genital examinations. There are two reasons for this. First, these exams give doctors a chance to teach people about STDs and protecting themselves. And second, regular exams give doctors more opportunities to check for STDs while they're still in their earliest, most treatable stage.
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