Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are infections that are usually transmitted by sexual contact. While normally spread by sex, some STIs can even be transmitted by non-sexual contact with contaminated blood and tissues, breastfeeding, or childbirth.
Testing for STI may be performed on a urine sample or swab to detect gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, or trichomonas, depending on the site of infection. Blood tests are available which discover antibodies to syphilis and HIV. HPV testing could also be performed in women with abnormal PAP smears. Thanks to the wide spectrum of STIs, there’s no one test to detect all of them.
There are at least 20 known STIs and a few can cause symptoms where you should visit your health care provider right away. However, you need to make sure you get tested for STIs if you’ve had unprotected sex, oral, or anal sex as a number of these infections can be ‘silent’ where you are asymptomatic.
Below are common STIs:
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Hepatitis B and C
- Genital Herpes
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Some STIs is treated with antibiotics, like chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. However, if left untreated, these infections can have serious health consequences like infertility, stillbirth, and organ damage. This is why early detection is necessary. Other STIs including hepatitis B, herpes and HIV is manageable with antiviral medicine. The resistance of STIs to antibiotics has increased in recent years and reduced treatment choices mean that prevention and prompt treatment is crucial.