According to the WHO, over 1 million people worldwide acquire an STI of one type or another every single day.
The most commonly diagnosed STIs include: Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, genital warts caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), genital Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2), and Syphilis.
There are many other STIs like M. Genitalium, Ureaplasma, Gardnerella, Trichomonas Vaginalis, Hepatitis B and C, and HIV which can be tested for too.
Often sexually transmitted infections don’t show any symptoms, but if left untreated, they can lead to more serious health issues.
For example, undiagnosed and untreated chlamydia or gonorrhoea can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), an infection of the womb, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
PID can lead to chronic pelvic pain, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, or infertility. It is estimated that 1 in every 10 women with PID become infertile as a result of the condition.
STDs are preventable
Fortunately, however, STIs are preventable. Anyone who has sex can get or pass on an STI. There are many ways that you can protect yourself against an STI including becoming educated about STIs and how they are spread.
With that in mind, we are going to take a look at some ways to protect yourself from STI’s:
Abstinence, or not having sex or genital, oral, or anal contact, is the only way to completely avoid a sexually transmitted infection.
2. Use condoms
The correct and consistent use of condoms is the most effective method of reducing the risk of STI transmission when used every time you have sex.
3. Getting tested
Talking with your partner about STIs, sexual health, and contraception can help you reduce your risk of getting or passing on an STI. Getting tested, along with your partner, at the start of a new relationship is a good idea. For those with more than one sexual partner, getting tested and sharing your test results with all of your partners is important, as the more sexual partners you have, the higher your risk of getting an STI.
Some clinicians may recommend that you have a vaccine for Hepatitis B and HPV. Vaccines are not suitable for everyone and you should discuss with your doctor.
Educating yourself about the various sexually transmitted diseases will help you avoid spreading or contracting an STI.