Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) or STDs

Sexually Transmitted Infections like the name suggests are predominantly passed from one infected person to another through sexual contact-whether vaginal, oral or anal. The contact may be skin-to-genital contact and not necessarily be penetrative. An STI can lead to an STD in which case you would be having a symptom of a disease. The terms are used interchangeably in many instances.  better

Every single day, more than 1 million cases of sexually transmitted infections are acquired worldwide and one of the growing concerns is the antibiotic resistance being experienced with gonorrhea; emerging new STIs and re-emergence of prior STIs. Research on new antibiotics or vaccines to prevent STIs is not under development at the same pace as this rising epidemic.

Young sexually active adults are at greatest risk of STIs.

STIs can be transmitted during pregnancy or childbirth as well as via body fluids like blood and blood products.

There are more than 30 sexually transmitted infections. Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Trichomoniasis, Hepatitis B, Genital Herpes, HIV/AIDS, and Human Papillomavirus infections (HPV) are the ones with the greatest incidence. Chlamydia is the commonest STI globally

Many people will not have any symptoms and a few may have mild symptoms that may go unnoticed. Most STIs can be treated with a complete cure being achieved against gonorrhoea; syphilis; trichomoniasis and chlamydia if diagnosed early.

Consistent and correct use of condoms has been shown to protect against the acquisition of many STIs and is advised as one of the behavioural measures. There are vaccines against Hepatitis B and HPV. Early screening and treatment like in the case of syphilis prevents transmission of syphilis during pregnancy and childbirth.

If you think you have an STI or would like to be screened to check for an STI; Book an appointment by clicking here.

causes of stis and risk factors
stis caused by bacteria

Bacterial STIs


  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Mycoplasma genitalium
stis caused by viruses
  • Hepatitis B
  • Herpes Simplex Virus that causes genital herpes
  • HIV
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • HTLV
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Pubic Lice
  • Scabies 

Risk factors for STIs include:

  • Recent partner change,
  • Having sexual intercourse without protection-condom use
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • A sex partner who has concurrent multiple sexual partners,
  • Having a sexual partner recently treated for an STI
  • Having sex for money and sex with sex workers.
  • One of the influences for engaging in risky sexual behaviours is engaging in sex while under the influence of drugs such as alcohol and other substances of abuse-bhang etc.

Learn more about HPV Vaccine Here

symptoms and effects of sti

While many patients both male and female will not have any symptoms, some of the noticeable symptoms that you may have an STI or STD are:

  • Unusual vaginal or urethral discharge
  • Pain or burning sensation on urination
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse or intermenstrual bleeding (bleeding in between periods)
  • A rash
  • Soreness or irritation in the genital or anal region
  • Blisters or sores or ulcers in the genital area or anal region
  • Lumps or swelling or growths 
  • Genital warts
  • Swollen lymph nodes
how do stis affect life?
  • There are physical and psychosocial sequelae of STIs. STIs can lead to:

      • Genital symptoms resulting in pain
      • Some STIs will increase the risk of transmission of other STIs including HIV/AIDS like Gonorrhea, syphilis
      • Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are the major causes of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which may lead to ectopic pregnancies and infertility
      • There is a lot of stigma associated with STI
      • Domestic Violence
      • Pregnancy complications such as preterm births; low birth weight babies; stillbirths; neonatal deaths; neonatal pneumonia; ophthalmic and auditory complications to the newborn and congenital malformations
      • Cervical and other genital and oropharyngeal cancers due to persistent HPV infections
      • Liver cirrhosis and liver cancer attributable to hepatitis B infection
      • Neurological and cardiovascular sequelae
management of stis
STI diagnosis
  • Diagnosis of the STI will depend on each. A blood sample or urine sample or a high vaginal swab or urethral swab may be taken by your doctor to test for specific STIs. 
  • Most STIs are treatable but only a few are curable upon early diagnosis and treatment.
  • Antibacterial agents can be used to treat STIs caused by bacteria depending on the type of bacteria. Antivirals against genital herpes will change the severity and frequency of genital herpes and those against herpes may also change the course of HIV. 
  • There are antiprotozoal agents against Trichomonas vaginalis that cause trichomoniasis
  • Talk to your doctor or gynaecologist if you think you may be having an STI.

It is recommended that partners of patients with bacterial STIs are treated as well

  • Consistent and correct condom use prevents transmission against many STIs. 
  • Early screening, diagnosis and treatment also prevent the risk of transmission of STIs
  • Some STIs have vaccines that can be used to prevent infection
  • Observing and taking care of your sexual health is paramount. Adopt safer sexual practices; Avoid multiple sexual partners or high-risk partners; be faithful to one faithful partner; avoid risky sexual behaviours etc


See a gynecologist for consultation or review if you think you could be having an STI, or your sexual partner has an STI or you have had unprotected sexual intercourse.

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