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Information about STD

STD is widely used to describe diseases that are mainly transmitted through sexual contact, in other words, Sexually Transmitted Disease. It is estimated that more than 6 million people in the European Union contract a STD each year. Also, around 5% of the world population has had an STD at one time or another. Yes, it is common to hear about STDs but you should never neglect them since it may lead to serious consequences. Most of these STDs are passed on through unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex, as well as sharing sex toys. It is even more alarming to know that you can get infected without knowing and therefore be unaware that you are passing it on. You can also get STDs via blood when you use contaminated tattoo needles or drug use. Nevertheless, know that most STDs can be treated. The usual symptoms for this are pain, itching and irritation around your genitals. Women can get intense vaginal discharge when infected. It is vital to address STDs at an early stage to avoid that further complications or irreversible damage occur. We understand the nature of this so if you do not feel comfortable visiting your doctor please take a look in our selection of STD products.

EVERY DAY there are more than a million new cases of sexually transmitted infections (Ist) and potentially curable in the age group ranging from 15 to 49 years. The figure was released today by a report of the World Health Organization. In particular, more than 376 million new cases of four infections occur each year: chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis.

The appeal of the WHO

The WHO research, published online by the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, shows that among men and women between the ages of 15 and 49, in 2016 there were 127 million new cases of chlamydia, 87 million of gonorrhea, 6, 3 million syphilis and 156 million trichomoniasis. The Report does not take into consideration viral infections such as HIV and papillomavirus. "Around the world, we are seeing a lack of progress in stopping the spread of sexually transmitted infections," said Peter Salama, executive director of the Universal Health Coverage and Life-Course at the WHO. "This is a wake-up call so that a concerted effort is made to guarantee everyone, everywhere, access to the services needed to prevent and treat these debilitating diseases". After the latest data published in 2012, there was no substantial decrease in either the percentages of new infections or existing ones. On average, about 1 in 25 people worldwide have at least one of these sexually transmitted infections, with some multiple infections at the same time.

The impact on health

These infections have a profound impact on the health of adults and children. If not treated, they can lead to serious chronic health effects including neurological and cardiovascular diseases, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, perinatal mortality and increased risk of HIV. Only syphilis, for example, has caused about 200,000 cases of stillbirth and perinatal deaths in 2016, making it a major cause of child loss globally. "These sexually transmitted infections are treatable with antibiotics but since they are often asymptomatic, patients do not realize they are at risk or have contracted the infection. This means that they do not undergo tests and therefore increase the risk of infecting their sexual partner, "explains Melanie Taylor, author of the WHO study and IST expert.

How they are transmitted?

STIs spread mainly through unprotected sexual contact. "These infections - explains Barbara Suligoi, medical director of the Aids operations center of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità - they are transmitted through any type of sexual relationship (vaginal, anal, oral), through sperm, pre-spermatic secretion, vaginal secretions, saliva, or with the direct contact of the skin in the genital area, genital, anal and mouth mucosa ". Moreover, they can be transmitted through the blood (for example, contact with open and bleeding wounds, exchange of syringes, tattoos, piercings) and, finally, with the passage from the mother to the unborn child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. "These infections are everywhere and are more widespread than believed, but there is little attention and stigma is still very strong. It should be considered in the same way as all other infections, ”he explainsTeodora Wi, expert doctor of the WHO's Ist. "We need awareness campaigns to encourage citizens to undergo screening, to disseminate information on the risks of these infections and on the rules of prevention through the media but also at school and within families".

The rules of prevention

STIs are preventable through safe sexual practices, such as proper condom use and sexual health education. Timely and accessible tests and treatments for all are key tools to reduce the impact of STIs globally, along with efforts to encourage sexually active people to be screened. The WHO also recommends that pregnant women should be systematically screened for syphilis and HIV.

The available treatments and the problem of antibiotic resistance

All bacterial STIs can be treated and treated with widely available drugs. However, recent deficiencies in the global supply of benzylpenicillin have made the treatment of syphilis more difficult. The rapid increase in antimicrobial resistance to treatments for gonorrhea is also a growing health threat. These data released today by the WHO (and which remain scarce for the part relating to men) serve to improve the national and global surveillance of ISTs around the world and to monitor the progress made in the context of the 'Global Health Sector Strategy on Diseases sexually transmitted, 2016-2021 'which aims to rapidly increase interventions to decrease the impact of sexually transmitted diseases on public health by 2030.

What can be done?

As reiterated by WHO experts, prevention is the most useful weapon for curbing the spread of these infections. But we also need a sex education that comes from multiple sources: "Often there is a problem of modesty in dealing with subjects considered scabrous and there is insufficient knowledge on the part of parents that they should inform their children for example about the need for the use of a condom to prevent Ist and HIV. Even the school should do education to prevent the tendency to search for information on the internet ”suggests Suligoi. And then watch out for signs such as burning, secretions, and leaks, the appearance of warts or small wounds on the genital level, pain.

Sexually transmitted diseases, half of the teenagers do not protect themselves

In the case of occasional sexual intercourse, the condom must always be used. Only in this way can we protect ourselves from the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. The warning is reiterated by experts on the eve of summer and holidays, when the chances of having occasional relationships increase, with particular reference to the very young. In fact, about half of teenagers do not use condoms in this type of relationship. Infectivologists are gathered in Siena for the ICAR, the Italian Conference on Antiviral Research, organized under the aegis of the SIMIT, the Italian Society of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, and dedicated to research on AIDS and hepatitis.

The datum is the result of epidemiological investigations carried out with questionnaires submitted to boys: about 50% of them do not use the condom in relations in general or for occasional ones. Furthermore, a share of between 15% and 20% confuse contraception with the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, whose incidence is increasing. In the last 3-4 years, for example, the Italian infectious centers have registered an increase of more than double the cases of syphilis.

 "The most widespread infection is that of Papillomavirus - recalls Professor Andrea De Luca, director of the Infectious Diseases University of Siena - for which free vaccination for adolescents is fundamental and which will now also be introduced for males".

 The subjects most at risk - experts say - are single women, especially if they travel in groups while from a registry point of view, they are young people between 20 and 30 years old. Relations in some Latin American and African countries are more dangerous. "Normally, during travel and holidays, the chance of having occasional sexual encounters increases. It is no coincidence that, in the post-summer period, the absolute annual peak of patients with sexually transmitted infections and diseases is recorded," he says. Professor Massimo Andreoni, Head of the Complex Operative Unit of Infectious Diseases of the Policlinico Tor Vergata in Rome and Past President Simit.

Here is the "Decalogue" developed by specialists to minimize the risk of infection in the summer:

  • Get vaccinated for Hepatitis A, especially important following the sharp increase in new infections found during the last few months. Proceed with the hepatitis B vaccine if not previously performed;
  • Take resistant and purchased latex condoms, if possible, to the pharmacy. Be wary of loose products and packaging that is not intact;
  • Do not exceed the consumption of alcohol, which leads to an inevitable decline in inhibitions and self-control which could increase behavior at greater risk;
  • Do not use recreational drugs;
  • The condom is indispensable both in anal and vaginal intercourse, but it is also highly recommended in oral reports, which are at high risk for some sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis and gonorrhea;
  • Beware of any genital pains and secretions, the color of the urine, any changes in the skin. If in doubt, contact your GP or specialist infectious disease or dermatologist.