South Africa’s Arrive Alive Web contains the following summary of Sexually Transmitted Infections
“Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) are caused by germs that are passed on from one person to another during sex. These infections are very common, with over 4 million people receiving treatment for STI’s in South Africa every year.
The symptoms of STI’s are easy to identify:
- Pus or smelly fluids coming out of the penis/vagina.
- Blisters, sores or warts on private parts.
- Pain or burning when urinating.
- Needing to urinate more often than normal.
- Pain during sex.
- Unusual swelling near the penis/vagina.
- Itching on or near your genitals.
How can STI’s be prevented?
- Stick to only one sexual partner.
- Only have protected sex by using a condom.
- Don’t have sex while you are being treated for a sexually transmitted infection.
STI’s are curable if you:
- Go to a clinic as soon as you have any signs or symptoms of an STI.
- Finish all the pills given to you by the clinic.
- Use a condom during sex – otherwise you can get the STI again or pass it on to someone else.
- Go back to the clinic when you have finished all your pills to check that the STI is gone.
- Make sure your sexual partner is also treated, otherwise you may become re-infected!
What happens if STI’s are left untreated?
- Both men and women can die from untreated STI’s.
- Men who don’t treat STI’s get painful, inflamed testicles and might not be able to produce children.
- Women develop serious diseases of the womb and may not be able to have children.
- Pregnant women with STI’s may suffer a miscarriage or the baby could be stillborn.
- Babies born from moms with untreated STI’s often suffer from pneumonia or serious eye infections.”
THE CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION (http://www.cdc.gov/std/hiv/stdfact-std-hiv.htm)
Explains what the link is between STI’S AND HIV infection.
“Individuals who are infected with STDs are at least two to five times more likely than uninfected individuals to acquire HIV infection if they are exposed to the virus through sexual contact. In addition, if an HIV-infected individual is also infected with another STD, that person is more likely to transmit HIV through sexual contact than other HIV-infected persons (Wasserheit, 1992).
There is substantial biological evidence demonstrating that the presence of other STDs increases the likelihood of both transmitting and acquiring HIV.
- Increased susceptibility
STDs appear to increase susceptibility to HIV infection by two mechanisms. Genital ulcers (e.g., syphilis, herpes, or chancroid) result in breaks in the genital tract lining or skin. These breaks create a portal of entry for HIV. Additionally, inflammation resulting from genital ulcers or non-ulcerative STDs (e.g., chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and trichomoniasis) increases the concentration of cells in genital secretions that can serve as targets for HIV (e.g., CD4+ cells).
- Increased infectiousness
STDs also appear to increase the risk of an HIV-infected person transmitting the virus to his or her sex partners. Studies have shown that HIV-infected individuals who are also infected with other STDs are particularly likely to shed HIV in their genital secretions. For example, men who are infected with both gonorrhoea and HIV are more than twice as likely to have HIV in their genital secretions than are those who are infected only with HIV. Moreover, the median concentration of HIV in semen is as much as 10 times higher in men who are infected with both gonorrhoea and HIV than in men infected only with HIV. The higher the concentration of HIV in semen or genital fluids, the more likely it is that HIV will be transmitted to a sex partner.