Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), also known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or venereal diseases (VD), are infections that are commonly transmitted through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. These infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Some of the most common STIs include:

Chlamydia: Caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, it can infect both men and women and can lead to serious reproductive health issues if left untreated.

Gonorrhea: Caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, it can infect the genitals, rectum, and throat. Untreated gonorrhea can lead to severe health problems, including infertility.

Syphilis: Caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum, syphilis progresses through stages and can cause serious health problems if not treated, including damage to the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, liver, bones, and joints.

HIV/AIDS: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks the body’s immune system, making it harder to fight off infections and diseases. If left untreated, HIV can progress to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which is the final stage of HIV infection.

Herpes: Caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), herpes can cause painful sores in the genital area, as well as oral herpes (cold sores) around the mouth.

HPV (Human Papillomavirus): HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. While many types of HPV cause no symptoms and go away on their own, some types can cause genital warts or lead to various cancers, including cervical cancer.

Trichomoniasis: Caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis, it can cause genital inflammation and discharge.

Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C: These viral infections primarily affect the liver. While they can be transmitted sexually, they can also be transmitted through other means such as sharing needles or childbirth.

Prevention of STIs primarily involves practicing safe sex, which includes using condoms consistently and correctly, limiting the number of sexual partners, and getting tested regularly, especially if you’re sexually active with multiple partners. Vaccination is also available for certain STIs like HPV and Hepatitis B, which can significantly reduce the risk of infection. Early detection and treatment are crucial in managing STIs and preventing complications. If you suspect you have an STI, it’s important to see a healthcare provider for testing and treatment.
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