Risk content: STD is a commonly known term and it stands for sexually transmitted disease, and STI is also known as sexually transmitted infections; both are infections that get passed from one person to another. An infection happens when a virus, bacteria, or parasite enters your body, and your immune system kicks in and tries to fight it. The disease occurs when the infection causes symptoms and damages the part of the body and leads to illness. Most infections never develop diseases. Infections with certain STDs can increase the risk of getting and transmitting HIV, which is why STD testing should be done as if it remains untreated, it can cause long-term health problems. Let us discuss in detail what are sexually transmitted diseases.
Sexually transmitted diseases – an infection that can be life-threatening if left untreated
STDs are infections that spread from an infected person to another healthy and uninfected person through sexual contact. The condition is caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. It is a global health priority because of its devastating impact on women and infants. These are the infections that spread from one person to another, generally during vaginal, anal, and oral sex, and they are really common. Many people who have them don’t even know as they do not have any symptoms. It is vital to go for an STD checkup as, without treatment, it can lead to serious health problems. Getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases is not a big deal, and most of them are easy to treat. Sometimes this infection can also be transmitted nonsexually as well, like from mothers to their newborns during pregnancy or childbirth, or through blood transfusions or shared needles. Some STI diseases don’t show any symptoms, and it is possible to contract from people who seem perfectly healthy and may not even know they have an infection.
Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Whether STDs or STIs, both do not show any signs or symptoms and may go unnoticed until any complication occurs or one of the partners is diagnosed, STDs and STIs have a range of signs and symptoms that might include:
- Sores or bumps on the genitals or in the oral area
- Painful or burning urination
- Discharge from penis
- Unusual arduous vaginal discharge
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Pain during sex
- Sore swollen lymph nodes, specifically around the groin
- Lower abdominal pain
- Rashes on the body, especially over hands or feet or trunk
In addition to the above-mentioned symptoms, a person can also have some symptoms throughout their body:
- A Skin Rash
- Weight loss
- Night Sweats
- Aches, pain, fever, and chills
Symptoms of sexually transmitted infections or sexually transmitted diseases vary from person to person and also depend upon the type of infection. If you are exposed to an STI or STD, you might not have any symptoms, and if you do have symptoms, they may appear around your genital region. Signs or symptoms may appear a few days after exposure. However, it may take months or even years before you notice any health issue caused by STI diseases; thus, you need to get an STD to check and to ensure safety against these infections.
Causes and risk factors of Sexually transmitted diseases or sexually transmitted infections
The causes of sexually transmitted diseases or STI diseases are as follows:
- Causes of STD or STI are bacteria, including Syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.
- Causes of STIs are parasites like Trichomoniasis
- Causes of STIs are viruses including HPV, HIV, and genital herpes
- Many other types of infections can be spread through sexual intercourse, like hepatitis A, B, and C viruses.
The most common risk factors associated with STDs are:
- Indulging in sex without using protection, like condoms, may increase the risk of contracting infections.
- Involving in sex with multiple partners
- Having a history of any STI may increase your risk of having another later in life as well.
- Not sure if needles are sterilized or not during blood transfusions, immunizations, etc.
Types of STI diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases generally get acquired because of unsafe or unprotected sexual practices. Thus it is the person’s responsibility to ensure protected sex and to maintain sexual hygiene for themselves and their partner. And in case of any symptoms listed above, you should take quick medical assistance and not delay treatment. STI or STD are terms that can be used interchangeably, and out of the two, STI is the most appropriate term that is used to describe the condition. Some common types of STIs/STDs are:
- Genital herpes
- Genital warts
- Hepatitis B
- Human Papillomavirus
- Pubic lice
Who needs to get tested for STIs?
The idea of STD testing may seem scary, but there is nothing to worry about, as many common STDs can be easily cured with medicine. And those STDs that cannot be cured have effective treatments to help you with symptoms and lower the risk of spreading them to others. Thus sooner you know you have an STD, the faster you can get yourself treated, as it is the best way to take care of yourself and your partners. You must go for STD testing if:
- If you have to start a new physical relationship
- STI disease testing is a good idea if you have engaged in sexual activity,
- If you have multiple partners or if your partner also has many partners
- If a couple is not using condoms or other barrier birth control methods
- If you have symptoms that can indicate STIs
7 reasons why you should go for regular screening of STDs and STIs
STD testing is one of the best ways to prevent yourself from the disease. STDs are more common than you think, as almost everyone could have an STD, and the best way of STD prevention and to prevent the spread of the disease is to go for an STD checkup. The best part about STD testing is that it can put your mind at ease once you are done with it. Testing for STIs or STDs is a regular part of being responsible toward your partner and caring for yourself. Also, keep in mind that STD tests are quick, painless, and sometimes free as well. Below are the top 7 reasons to have STD testing:
- Prevent serious health complications.
Many serious health complications are brought by Sexually transmitted diseases like ectopic pregnancy and infertility. Also, patients can have discomfort and; pain that can last for about months or even years after the infection has subsided. Also, along with these long-term consequences, some STI diseases, if left untreated, can even result in cancer or even death. It is better to be well-informed, and getting STD testing done will help you to prevent many health issues.
- Monogamy does not guarantee
People who are married and have a single partner often think they can never have STDs and do not test. This is a misconception and not true, as they must also go for their STD check, as many people don’t even know they are infected. Screening before starting a physical relationship is best for STD prevention. It also helps them understand where they stand and help avoid false accusations of chatting.
- Untreated STIs can cause permanent problems.
An untreated STI disease can cause long-term health issues even with no initial symptoms. If a female has an STI infection like gonorrhea and chlamydia, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease. This disease can leave scars in the fallopian tubes, and that can cause infertility in them. Also, they can be a patient of ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening condition where a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. STD checks can help detect many diseases early and can be treated before they can cause these severe health issues.
- Improves sex life.
Many people feel uncomfortable and feel embarrassed to think about sexually transmitted diseases. However, the truth is that they are common, especially in young adults. However, there is no guaranteed way to STD prevention, but getting routine testing is one of the best things you can do. Once you feel everything is in control, you can enjoy your sex life even more. Testing will also encourage honest communication with your sexual partner about the STI risks and safer sex.
- STDs are highly treatable.
Another reason you should make STD testing part of your routine checkup is that many STDs are highly treatable at the early stage. If your results are positive for an STD, you can quickly get your treatment started to eradicate the infection, which can be as simple as taking a course of antibiotics.
- Saves money
Many people ignore going for an STD checkup because they think it is unnecessary and can be expensive. Many people are unaware that testing STIs might help them save money in the future. If you are engaged in any sexual activity, you should go for testing for STD prevention and to ensure that you are fit and STD-free. If you ignore it, there can be a chance that the condition will worsen and result in high medical expenses.
- Impact on pregnancy and newborn baby
If you have untreated STI disease and become pregnant, your pregnancy is at risk. Especially if you have undiagnosed chlamydia, then your risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature birth increases. Then it is better not to take a chance and get an STD checkup to ensure your baby’s safety. An untreated STD will be transmitted to your unborn baby before or during birthing. You can pass that to your baby during delivery, leading to severe eye infection or any worse condition. STIs herpes and Syphilis can also be fatal for your newborn baby, so STD prevention is necessary to save your baby.
How often should you go for STD testing?
It will depend on many factors if you want to know how often you should get tested for STDs or STIs. The best you can do is get an STD checkup every time you change partners and before indulging in sex with a new one. If you have been with the same partner for a long time and are not worried about sharing needles or tattooing equipment, schedule your TD testing annually. It is considered the best way to STD prevention. Never wait until you experience any STI symptoms because even the undiagnosed and asymptomatic cases can spread the infection. Another best option is to make testing a routine part of your health care as it will help you avoid complications or health concerns. Never be ashamed of getting tested for STDs or STIs; it will show your concern and care for yourself and your partner.
- Are condoms the best protection from STDs or STIs?
While these methods provide some form of protection they do not guarantee 100 percent protection against STDs or STIs. STD testing is the best way to safeguard yourself against it.
- Are early-stage STDs without symptoms not contagious?
STDs are contagious even in their early stages and even if they are asymptomatic. If you are sexually active, then it is best to get an STD check-up periodically, even if you do not have any symptoms.
- Can gonorrhea be transmitted from unhygienic toilet seats?
Gonorrhea is an STD and despite common misconception, it cannot be spread through toilet seats or other surfaces like door handles.
- Which STD can cause deafness and death if left untreated?
If left untreated, Syphilis, an STD, can lead to organ damage and can reach the stage where internal organs may be damaged, leading to deafness, blindness, paralysis, etc.
- Is kissing the safest sexual activity?
While it seems harmless, kissing is the most unsafe activity with the highest risk to spread any infection. One of the common STI diseases is herpes which can be transmitted through kissing and causes cold sores.
STD testing offers a person valuable peace of mind and provides a chance to stay one step ahead with their and their partner’s sexual health. It’s the best way to avoid some potentially serious complications. STD checkups should not be assumed that the physician will test for STIs if you go for routine annual physical or sexual health checkups. Doctors never routinely check their patients for STIs. It is best to request STD testing from your doctor to discuss which tests they want to perform. You should never feel embarrassed about taking care of your sexual health, and it is a must to see a doctor if you notice any infection or symptom.