The World Health Organization Reports:
- More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide.
- Each year, there are an estimated 357 million new infections with 1 of 4 STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis.
- More than 500 million people are estimated to have genital infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV).
- More than 290 million women have a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection1.
- The majority of STIs have no symptoms or only mild symptoms that may not be recognized as an STI.
- STIs such as HSV type 2 and syphilis can increase the risk of HIV acquisition.
- Over 900 000 pregnant women were infected with syphilis resulting in approximately 350 000 adverse birth outcomes including stillbirth in 20122.
- In some cases, STIs can have serious reproductive health consequences beyond the immediate impact of the infection itself (e.g., infertility or mother-to-child transmission)
- Drug resistance, especially for gonorrhoea, is a major threat to reducing the impact of STIs worldwide.
What are sexually transmitted infections and how are they transmitted?
More than 30 different bacteria, viruses and parasites are known to be transmitted through sexual contact. Eight of these pathogens are linked to the greatest incidence of sexually transmitted disease. Of these 8 infections, 4 are currently curable: syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. The other 4 are viral infections and are incurable: hepatitis B, herpes simplex virus (HSV or herpes), HIV, and human papillomavirus (HPV). Symptoms or disease due to the incurable viral infections can be reduced or modified through treatment.
STIs are spread predominantly by sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Some STIs can also be spread through non-sexual means such as via blood or blood products. Many STIs—including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, primarily hepatitis B, HIV, and syphilis—can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth.
A person can have an STI without having obvious symptoms of disease. Common symptoms of STIs include vaginal discharge, urethral discharge or burning in men, genital ulcers, and abdominal pain.
STIs can have serious consequences beyond the immediate impact of the infection itself.
- STIs like herpes and syphilis can increase the risk of HIV acquisition three-fold or more.
- Mother-to-child transmission of STIs can result in stillbirth, neonatal death, low-birth-weight and prematurity, sepsis, pneumonia, neonatal conjunctivitis, and congenital deformities. Over 900 000 pregnant women were infected with syphilis resulting in approximately 350 000 adverse birth outcomes including stillbirth in 20122.
- HPV infection causes 528 000 cases of cervical cancer and 266 000 cervical cancer deaths each year.
- STIs such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia are major causes of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility in women.
Prevention of STIs
Counselling and behavioural interventions offer primary prevention against STIs (including HIV), as well as against unintended pregnancies. These include:
- comprehensive sexuality education, STI and HIV pre- and post-test counselling;
- safer sex/risk-reduction counselling, condom promotion;
- interventions targeted at key populations, such as sex workers, men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs; and
- education and counselling tailored to the needs of adolescents.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). (2016, August). Retrieved January 03, 2018, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs110/en/
If you think you may have an STD/STI contact us for a free referral to get tested
Anytime you are sexually active, it is possible to become pregnant, even if you are using some form of birth control.
A missed a period is the most common indicator that you might be pregnant. If you have any of the pregnancy symptoms listed it is important to confirm pregnancy early with an accurate pregnancy test or ultrasound that is read by a medical professional.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, the most common first signs of pregnancy are
- Missed period (29%)
- Nausea (25%)
- Breast Change (17%)
Other Symptoms include:
- Lower backaches
- Frequent Urination
Not every woman experiences these symptoms, and some of these symptoms can also be characteristics of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) or caused by other medical conditions. Before becoming overly anxious and worried it is important to verify that you are pregnant. Contact us and we can schedule a free pregnancy test. If your test is positive, we may schedule an ultrasound to confirm that your pregnancy is viable, healthy and in the right place.