Sexually transmitted infections (STI), also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and venereal diseases (VD), are infections that are commonly spread by sex, especially vaginal intercourse, anal sex or oral sex. In 2015, about 1.1 billion people had STIs other than HIV/AIDS. About 500 million were infected with syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia or trichomoniasis.  At least an additional 530 million people have genital herpes and 290 million women have human papillomavirus.  STIs other than HIV resulted in 108,000 deaths in 2015.

Most STIs initially do not cause symptoms. This results in a greater risk of passing the disease on to others. Symptoms and signs of disease may include vaginal discharge, penile discharge, ulcers on or around the genitals, and pelvic pain.

STIs acquired before or during birth may result in poor outcomes for the baby. Some STIs may cause problems with the ability to get pregnant.

More than 30 different bacteria, viruses, and parasites can cause STIs. Bacterial STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis among others. Viral STIs include genital herpes, HIV/AIDS, and genital warts among others. Parasitic STIs include trichomoniasis among others. While usually spread by sex, some STIs can also be spread by non-sexual contact with contaminated blood and tissues, breastfeeding, or during childbirth. STI diagnostic tests are easily available in the developed world, but this is often not the case in the developing world.

Most STIs are treatable or curable. Of the most common infections, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis are curable, while herpes, hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, and HPV are treatable but not curable.  Resistance to certain antibiotics is developing among some organisms such as gonorrhea.

The most effective way of preventing STIs is by not having sex. Some vaccinations may also decrease the risk of certain infections including hepatitis B and some types of HPV.Safer sex practices such as use of condoms, having a smaller number of sexual partners, and being in a relationship where each person only has sex with the other also decreases the risk. Circumcision in males may be effective to prevent some infections. 

No Comments

Leave a Comment