Infections which are spread by means of sexual intercourse and sexual contact are termed as Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Primary ways of contracting STDs include oral, anal and vaginal sex. Most STDs do not exhibit any sign or symptom during the initial stages. This indicates a larger risk of transmitting the disease to others. A large variety of microorganisms such as bacteria, parasites and viruses can cause STDs. Examples of STDs include chlamydia, genital herpes, syphilis, warts, gonorrhoea and HIV/AIDS.
Doctors and other providers of healthcare play critical roles in the prevention and treatment of STDs. Most STDs are either curable or treatable. While certain well-known STDs such as gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, syphilis and chlamydia are curable, diseases such as hepatitis B, HPV, herpes and HIV/AIDS, even though treatable, are not curable.
Utilizing protective measures during sex is the best method for counteracting the spread of STDs. Some methods are discussed below:
- Pre-exposure Vaccination is highly recommended for curbing the spread of STDs. Inoculation reduces the risk of specific contaminants such as Hepatitis B and some types of HPV.
- Healthy and safe sexual practices which greatly reduce the risk of getting or spreading STDs include having lesser number of sexual partners and use of condoms.
- In men, some infections can be prevented by circumcision.
- Combinations of antibiotics such as cefixime, azithromycin and metronidazole can be used in cases of high-risk exposure, for example, that which happens in cases of rape.
- Another mode of prevention is the treatment of partner of the patient (known as index cases) having gonorrhoea or chlamydia using patient-delivered partner therapy. This clinical routine prescribes medicines to the patient to give to his/her partner without the examination of the partner by the health care provider.
- Emergency Contraception: Sexual intercourse without protection exposes women to the risk of STDs and emergency contraception (measures of birth control utilized after having unprotected sex)can help reduce this risk.
Don’t let embarrassment at the thought of having an STD keep you from seeking medical attention. Waiting to see a doctor may allow a disease to progress and cause more damage. If you think you may have an STD, or if you have had a partner who may have an STD, you should see a doctor right away.
Not all infections in the genitals are caused by STDs. Sometimes people can get symptoms that seem very like those of STDs, even though they’ve never had sex. For girls, a yeast infection can easily be confused with an STD. Guys may worry about bumps on the penis that turn out to be pimples or irritated hair follicles. That’s why it’s important to see a doctor if you ever have questions about your sexual health.