Every day more than one million people worldwide acquire a sexually transmitted infection. The most common are chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis or trichomoniasis. Most of these infections are asymptomatic or have few symptoms, so they often go unrecognized in their initial stages. And in some cases they can have serious consequences for reproductive health. This means infertility or mother-to-child transmission.
More than 30 different bacteria, viruses and parasites are transmitted through sexual contact. Eight infections are associated with the highest incidence of disease. Four of these are treatable: syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. The other four infections are currently completely untreatable – hepatitis B, herpes simplex virus, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and human papilloma virus. Symptoms or effects that are untreatable of viral infections can be reduced or changed with therapy.
Sexually transmitted infections can also spread from person to person through blood transfusions and tissue transplants, from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth.
The main preventive measure is the use of condoms; nowadays both male and female condoms are available. Preventive measures also include:
- proper use of topical bactericidal agents;
- periodic examination with laboratory diagnosis, rapid tests for HIV and syphilis;
- in case of a diagnosis of infection – specialized treatment;
- sexual abstinence;
- notification of sexual partners;
- Vaccine prophylaxis against hepatitis B virus and human papilloma virus.
It is important to know and remember that sexually transmitted infections do not go away “by themselves” without specialized treatment.
Stay healthy and informed!