We all know something about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), but there’s so much more than what meets the eye – or meets our reproductive organs, if you may. Here is a collection of some of the most unknown STI facts that could help you before you entangle with a sexual partner.
- While the risk is low, Sexually transmitted infections can also be transmitted through not just penis-vagina sex but through other forms of sexual activities like oral sex and anal sex.
- There are some types of STIs that can live inside your body without showing any kind of symptoms. Even so, you can still transmit these infections to other sexual partners.
This makes STI’s dangerous even more than they already are because people can transmit them without knowing and that can lead to a lot of people being affected, this is why screening for STIs regularly is strongly advised for people who are sexually active.
- STI’s tend to be worse / more severe on women than men. They are also more frequent on women.
In women, sexually transmitted infections tend to not show any symptoms and then later progress to cause complications. This is especially harmful because most women remain in the dark about having sexually transmitted infections until it’s too late.
- Women can also pass down these infections to their babies if they are pregnant while having STI’s.
This transmission can occur while they are pregnant, during birth, or while breastfeeding. All doctors are supposed to test women for STIs during their first prenatal appointment. If they have an STI, they are recommended for treatment. It is important that a pregnant mother notifies her partner so she won’t contract the STI again.
- Some STIs can increase your risk of having cancer in the future.
The human papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted infection that can get transmitted through contact with bodily fluids. This virus can increase the chance of a woman acquiring cervical cancer. There is an HPV vaccine in Ethiopia, so we recommend women and men to ask their Doctor for this vaccine to prevent HPV and reduce the risk of cervical cancer in women.
- Because of the similarity of the symptoms they can cause, some STIs can oftentimes be grouped together.
Herpes, syphilis, and chancroid are sexually transmitted infections that all-cause blisters around the genital areas, which would lead to pain and discomfort while peeing or during sexual intercourse. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are sexually transmitted infections that mainly cause discharge from the vagina/penis and therefore, they are grouped together. In order to differentiate the STIs and get proper treatment, a doctor will need to lab test for all STI’s to identify which infection you have.
- If not properly treated, STIs can result in devastating complications.
Some of the most commonly known complications of sexually transmitted infections include infertility, cancer, and even infections that can travel to the brain. Prevention and early treatment are vital to combat these risks.
- If you are sexually active, we can’t stress enough that you need to get screened for sexually transmitted infections every 3 months.
Screening is a process of checking you for sexually transmitted infections through a series of blood tests your doctor orders for you. You can go get screened at any nearby health center, and this process makes it possible for you to have a healthy and enjoyable sex life, free of complications. We also encourage you to ask your partner to get tested before you begin your sexual journey with them.
- The only sure way of protecting oneself against sexually transmitted infections if you are sexually active is to wear condoms during any form of sexual play.
If properly worn, condoms can protect from sexually transmitted infections as well as prevent pregnancy. Other forms of contraceptives can only prevent pregnancy, not STI’s. Wearing condoms to prevent STIs includes vaginal, oral, and anal sex.
- If you have the symptoms commonly associated with sexually transmitted infections, no need to panic! Just go to your nearby health center, and your health care provider will examine you and provide you with the treatment you need.
There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to STI’s. It can happen to everyone, and there are doctors who are specifically trained to help you with short and long-term treatment and care.
The most important thing is to be open and honest with your doctor and your partner when it comes to these conversations. If you are nervous to ask your partner about STIs or to get tested, that means you are probably not ready to have sex. Make sure to contact a doctor if you have any concerns, want more information, or just to get tested. We hope this has brought you one step closer to a safe and healthy sexual journey!