By Puja Gupta
New Delhi– Sexually transmitted diseases, known as STDs, are most often, but not exclusively, spread via sexual intercourse. They are one of the most common forms of contagious diseases, meaning they can easily be transferred from one person to another. Every year, a majority of infections diagnosed is in people aged between 15-24 years, points out Dr Himani Gupta, gynecologist/obstetrician, Consultant at Practo.
How does one get infected with STDs?
“There are several ways to transmit a STD. The most common way is through vaginal, anal and oral sex. Some infections can also be spread through towels, toilet seats or damp clothing, Dr Gupta tells IANSlife.
She says the risk increases if:
One has more than one sexual partner
One becomes sexually active at an early age
One has sexual contact with someone who has had multiple partners
One does not use a condom during sexual intercourse
One shares needles/syringes
One myth about STDs is that they cannot be spread through oral or anal sex, she says. “Oral sex, dry sex and even kissing can transmit the infection to your partner, through cuts and wounds in the mouth, anus and genitals.”
Symptoms of STDs
Symptoms of STDs vary from person to person and the type of infection contracted. The expert shares some common symptoms of STDs in both men and women:
There could be no signs at all
Pain during urination and ejaculation
Rash or itching in the genital area
Abnormal vaginal discharge or discharge from the penis
Warts, lesions, or sores in the genital area
Blisters that discharge pus
Painless ulcers, fever, swelling, sore throat may also indicate the presence of an STD
Tips to prevent getting infected with an STD:
Protecting yourself sexually involves not only learning about STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) but practicing safe sex every time you engage in any sexual activity, she says.
Avoid or minimize direct oral, anal and genital contact by using a barrier method correctly and regularly
Avoidance of impulsive intercourse with a complete stranger
Form a trusted, honest, and communicative relationship with your partner
Always examine your partner for any wart, ulcer or any other obvious lesion on the genital parts
Limit your number of sexual partners
Talk to your partner about your STI status
Include STI testing as part of your regular medical check up.
Do not use drugs or alcohol in potentially intimate situations as they can inhibit your ability to make decisions and may affect your dexterity
Get vaccinated for Hepatitis B and C (Consult a Sexologist/ Gynecologist/Obstetrician always)
Dr Gupta shares five quick tips to practice safe sex
Educate yourself: Find out all you can about STDs. Understand how each STD is passed from person to person during sex.
Decide to be safe: If you’re having sex and not protecting yourself, STD could happen to you-and anyone you might have sex with. Insist on only safer sex.
Choose your protection: Two quick ways – Don’t have sex or use condoms (they are cheap and easy to use).
Talk about it: Talking with a partner is a key step in staying safe. Agree that you’ll both be tested for STD.
Get Tested for STD: There are different tests for each STD. No single test can screen for all of them. Talk to your doctor and go by his/her recommendation.
STDs can affect anyone, anytime. It is important to be aware, to be transparent with your partner, to maintain sexual hygiene and to practice safe sex. (IANS)