Be aware of Sexually Transmitted Infections

The Collective Preventive Service’s (CPS) calendar of health observances, focuses on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) for the month of April. 

online casino

The CPS’s campaign objectives is to bring about awareness as it relates to STIs; to encourage individuals to be more responsible for their own health and their partner’s health; and to provide the public with general information.

STIs are infections that are spread primarily through person-to-person sexual contact. STIs are infections that are likely to be transmitted while having unprotected sex. Transmitted means passed on from one place to another, in this case it means passed on from one person to another.

There are more than 30 different sexually transmissible bacteria, viruses and parasites.

The most common conditions they cause are gonorrhoea, chlamydial infection, syphilis, trichomoniasis, chancroid, genital herpes, genital warts, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and hepatitis B infection.

Under the local surveillance system all physicians are expected to report all diagnosed STIs based on these reports. Bacterial Vaginosis was the most common reported in 2008 and 2009. In 2008 22 cases (28%) were reported and in 2009 7 cases (30%) of all reported cases were documented.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the name of a condition in women where the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted and replaced by an overgrowth of certain bacteria.

It is sometimes accompanied by discharge, odor, pain, itching, or burning. It is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age. The cause of BV is not fully understood. BV is associated with an imbalance in the bacteria that are normally found in a woman’s vagina.

The vagina normally contains mostly "good" bacteria, and fewer "harmful" bacteria. BV develops when there is an increase in harmful bacteria. Any woman can get BV. However, some activities or behaviors can upset the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina and put women at increased risk including:

· Having a new sex partner or multiple sex partners,

· Douching

Women with BV may have an abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor. Some women report a strong fish-like odor, especially after intercourse. Discharge, if present, is usually white or gray; it can be thin. Women with BV may also have burning during urination or itching around the outside of the vagina, or both. However, most women with BV report no signs or symptoms at all.

In most cases, BV causes no complications. But there are some serious risks from BV including:

· Having BV can increase a woman’s susceptibility to HIV infection if she is exposed to the HIV virus.

· Having BV increases the chances that an HIV-infected woman can pass HIV to her sex partner.

· Having BV while pregnant may put a woman at increased risk for some complications of pregnancy, such as preterm delivery.

· BV can increase a woman’s susceptibility to other STIs, such as herpes simplex virus (HSV), chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Several, in particular HIV and syphilis, can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth, and through blood products and tissue transfer.

If you think you have been exposed to an STI, you should consult your general practitioner and get tested if you have ever had sex (vaginal, anal or oral) without using a condom with someone who has an STI or whose status you don’t know.

Some of the infections are treatable and curable. Treatable entails that medication is available to manage the symptoms, but the infection stays in your body, and you can continue passing the infection/disease on to another person. Some treatable infections are genital warts, herpes, hepatitis B/C and HIV.

Curable entails where medication is available to get the infection out of your body. Some curable STIs once treated in time are gonorrhea (claps), Chlamydia, pubic lice (crabs) and syphilis.

For good sexual health care, consult your family physician. One should have an open and frank relationship with their physician about their sex life and sexual health concerns. Some physicians might not ask and one is then left then without having any tests done for STI’s.

Practicing safe sex reduces sexual health risks. Safer sex means taking positive action to lower the risk of sexually transmitted infections. The most common approach is the ABC approach which stands for Abstinence, Be Faithful and always Condomize (Use condom correctly).

Practicing safe sex is very important because it decreases the risks of transmitting sexual infections which are usually spread between persons who have no symptoms of infection.

You can lower your risk of becoming infected with a disease spread during sex by continually using a male condom or female condom the right way every time you have sex. Both condoms should not be used simultaneously; do not let drugs and alcohol get in the way of you protecting yourself during sexual intercourse; do not have multiple sex partners.

Remember most people who have an STI have no symptoms. Therefore you cannot tell by looking at a person if they are infected.

Get tested, get treated! It is possible to have more than one sexually transmitted disease at the same time. It’s also possible to get the same disease again. The longer you postpone treatment, the greater damage can be caused by the disease. If you even suspect you have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease, visit your doctor immediately.

As Carnival 2010 progresses, be aware unsafe sex results in unplanned consequences and don’t let it be an STI or an unplanned pregnancy. Be responsible for your health and have fun but be safe and remember your ABC: Abstain; Be Faithful; Condomize.

Have a safe carnival and protect yourself and your partner. Abstain or use your condom correctly and at all time!

For (awareness) basic STI information you can also contact your local AIDS Foundation, Red Cross Foundation, and/or the Collective Preventive Services.