In recent years, there has been a worrying increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among the younger generations, especially among the female population. A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that more than 1 million STIs are contracted every day. It includes cases of four main types of STIs which are chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis.
A sexually transmitted infection is an infection that is transmitted through sexual contact. While some STIs can be treated, some types of STIs cannot be cured. It can have serious consequences beyond the immediate impact of the infection itself. The long-term effects of STIs can be serious and may be related to sexual and reproductive health. Therefore, it is important that if you are sexually active, you also know how to prevent STIs.
Health Shots spoke to Dr Bharathi Ramesh, Senior Consultant, OB/GYN, Motherhood Hospitals, Banashankari, Bengaluru, to find out ways to reduce the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
Dr. Ramesh says, “STIs can have significant effects on your reproductive health and can lead to syphilis, gonorrhea, genital herpes, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which are some examples of STIs. It is extremely important to be responsible and avoid them to ensure good health.”
How to prevent STIs naturally?
Here are some tips to avoid and prevent sexually transmitted infections.
1. Use protection
Use condoms or other proven methods of protection. Significantly reduces the possibility of transmission of STIs. If you are allergic to latex condoms, there are other options available, although these may have higher breakage rates than latex condoms. But you should still use it for protection and safe sex.
2. Monogamous sexual relationship
Having a monogamous sexual relationship will minimize the risk of contracting any type of sexually transmitted infection. While having sex with multiple partners can increase the risk of exposure to infections.
3. Maintain hygiene
Maintain intimate area hygiene and wash your vagina before and after engaging in sexual activity. It is also important to keep your intimate area clean at all times as a hygiene measure, as poor hygiene can make you prone to bacterial and viral infections.
4. Periodic reviews
Get regular checkups for STIs if you are sexually active. It can help you avoid further infections.
Also read: Beware of these 5 STDs that have no cure
5. Open communication
If you’re starting a new relationship, talk to your partner about your sexual history and tell them about any STIs or other sexually transmitted diseases you may have. Ask them to do the same. Being open and honest with your partner can help reduce your risk.
6. Oral Sex Awareness
You can get several sexually transmitted infections through oral sex, whether it’s chlamydia or trichomoniasis. To avoid this, use condoms even during oral sex, maintain dental hygiene, and get tested.
7. Avoid sharing products
Do not share personal items such as needles, sex toys, or anything else, as this is another way to get a sexually transmitted infection.
Get vaccinated against STIs. Vaccines like HPV can help you avoid infections like genital warts.
While you should practice these safe sex tips to prevent STIs, you should also be aware ofsymptoms such as rashes, sores, or lumps. If you find any of these symptoms even in her partner, avoid having sex with her.
STIs can be cured, but it’s better to prevent!
What makes sexually transmitted infections risky?
Sexually transmitted infections can be difficult to diagnose. Some of them show few or no symptoms. Due to this, most of the time, people realize that they have contracted it after a long time. If not treated in time, it could worsen, causing you extreme discomfort and pain.
Also read: 5 types of STIs that show few or no symptoms
Also, what makes it risky is the taboo that surrounds it. Dr Ramesh says: “People are still very shy or uncomfortable talking about sexual health issues and don’t even seek treatment because they fear being judged. But ladies, you can trust your doctor. Your doctor can help you treat the condition and help you have a better sex life.” He must understand that STIs are highly contagious and that a sexually active person who has contracted the disease can transmit it to many other people. Some STIs can even turn into cancer, causing irreversible damage to immunity that can be life-threatening. So get tested today!