World Sexual Health Day: All you need to know about STDs

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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)


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