There are currently 27 known sexually transmitted infections. They can be either viral or bacterial. Viral STIs cannot be cured, but they can be managed with various medications. Bacterial STIs can be cured by using antibiotics. However, if you practice safe sex, you reduce the risk of contracting an STI dramatically. Let’s take a look and answer this pertinent question.
According to the World Health Organisation, ‘More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide.’ – that’s an extremely concerning statistic!
The most common STIs
- Hepatitis B
- Herpes simplex virus
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
If you think you may have contracted an STI, make an appointment with your doctor. He/she will run tests for you.
As mentioned earlier, the majority of STIs are curable through the use of antibiotics, however, there are still four common, incurable viral STIs:
- Hepatitis B is the number one cause of liver cancer. Babies usually receive a vaccine to protect them from this infection. However, studies have shown that many people born before 1991, worldwide, may not necessarily have received the vaccine. If you fall into this category, please be careful.
- Herpes is a chronic viral STI. It’s spread through skin-to-skin contact. The virus doesn’t always show symptoms, but painful sores around your genitals or anus are indicative symptoms of the virus.
- HIV is a virus that weakens the immune system over time. It can lead to AIDS, but this is not always the case. Make sure that if you have a new partner that you both get tested.
- HPV is passed between people during unprotected genital contact. It is the most common cause of cervical cancer. Ensure that you have a pap smear test every three to five years. The doctor will check for any signs of cancer development.
How to prevent the transmission of STIs
When used correctly and regularly, condoms are one of the most effective methods of protection against STIs. Please remember that condoms (male and female) are the only forms of contraception that can prevent pregnancy and transmission of STIs. However, it’s vital that you know how to use condoms correctly. Please read our article on common condom mistakes.
How Marie Stopes can help you
Marie Stopes is the leader in women’s sexual and reproductive health. Every centre across South Africa offers HIV and STI testing. If you have an unintended pregnancy and wish to terminate your pregnancy, we provide a safe abortion service. You can be assured that the procedure will be performed by a medical professional in a safe, hygienic clinic.
Visit your nearest centre or contact us to make an appointment. We will gladly provide you with more information about STIs.