Sexually Transmitted Infections/Diseases and how to get tested

August 07, 2023

Sexually Transmitted Infections/Diseases and how to get tested

Once one becomes sexually active, it is incredibly important to protect yourself from infections that are transmitted sexually. The persistence of these infections and their symptoms results into a disease. A common misconception exists regarding the transmission of STI’s where it is widely believed that this only occurs during penetration i.e. entry of the penis inside the vagina. However, any act that causes entry of infected fluid into the sex organs (vagina in females and penis in males) via any route, i.e. via oral sex, anal sex or even fingering.

There are different types of STI’s depending on the causative agent which is a microorganism that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Infections that can be treated by a simple course of antibiotics include Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Trichomoniasis, Syphilis and other less common ones. These infections are usually present with:

a. Itching around the external sex organs (private parts)

b. Smelly, discolored (green, or yellow) and persistent vaginal discharge

c. Ulcers (breaks in skin) around the private parts or mouth

d. Painful sex

e. Sometimes a skin rash

f. Painful, and frequent burning urination

in females. Whereas in men:

a. Asymptomatic

b. Painful urination

c. Yellow or greenish pus-like discharge from the tip of penis

d. Painful ulcers (punched-out lesions) on and around the penis

e. Painful swellings around the inner thighs

If you happen to notice any of these symptoms after having unprotected sex (not using condoms) then the first thing to do is visit your doctor. In Nepal, a syndromic approach is used in most health care centers in treating STIs. If your doctor finds that you have a constellation of these symptoms along with history of unprotected sex and similar symptoms in your partner, antibiotics covering most of these common infective organisms will be prescribed. It is important to understand that the infections will only be treated if the full course of medicine is taken and in accordance to the directions provided. To prevent recurrence, condoms have to be used in all of the following sexual activities. Oral and anal sex with an infected partner should be avoided.

There are some STIs that once you’re infected with, will recur time and again and don’t completely leave the body. This includes Herpes, Hepatitis, Genital warts, and HIV/AIDS. However, once the diagnosis is made, there is medicine and treatment that makes life easier and prevents transmission to others. Testing for HIV and hepatitis is done via blood and available in almost all the district hospitals. For herpes and genital warts a general practitioner or dermatologist (skin doctor) for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

The most important thing to do if you suspect that you have an infection down there is to keep calm! You’re on your way to getting treated and the first step is recognizing something’s not right! Visit your doctor, take your partner to get tested and get treatment! After the initial treatment, remember to always, always, always practice safe sex! If your partner refuses, then kick them to the curb, because this is basic! 

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