HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a retrovirus that attacks the immune system. If the infection by this virus is not treated, it can progress to an advanced stage or phase of the disease known as AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). But, despite the fact that there are some 38 million people infected with HIV in the world, this is not the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease.
In fact, the most prevalent sexually transmitted infections, especially among young people, are chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. In all cases, early diagnosis of these diseases is essential for their treatment and to avoid contagion.
Melio experts have developed a guide to answer the main questions related to sexually transmitted diseases.
Illness and sexual intercourse
Sexually transmitted diseases can be caused by viruses and bacteria. In the case of suffering from a sexually transmitted infection, we have to abstain from having sex for up to a week after finishing the treatment (both for the infected person and their partner) and be sure that the symptoms have been completely resolved. In addition, it is necessary to contact sexual partners in the last 60 days for a diagnostic test to be performed.
The condom is the only contraceptive method that prevents sexually transmitted infections. It should always be used to prevent possible infections, even if we only have a single sexual partner. You should also know that condoms almost always protect us against possible infection, but that their reliability is not 100%. The reliability of the condom is 90% and this percentage can decrease if it is not used properly, that is, if it is not placed correctly or is not used during the entire sexual act.
Symptoms of infection sexually transmitted
Even if you are infected, the infection can go unnoticed for some time, as they usually do not present symptoms during the early stages of the disease.
The most common symptoms of sexually transmitted infections include pain or stinging when urinating, abnormal bleeding, pain during sex, increased vaginal discharge, pain in the pelvic area, pain or redness in the testicles, lumps or blisters, ulcers, swollen groin glands, or urethral discharge.
Transmission of infections
The STI is not only transmitted at the time of penetration or ejaculation. Transmission can take place as long as there is direct contact with the intimate area and/or there is an exchange of fluids without there being a barrier. Unprotected oral sex is also a common route of infection.
In order to make a correct diagnosis, it is necessary to know the “window period” of the diseases to be analyzed. The window period refers to the minimum time that has to elapse from the moment in which the infection occurs until the moment in which it can be reliably detected by a diagnostic test.
Therefore, if the patient is in this window period, the test result may be negative even if he is actually infected. Furthermore, the results can also be falsely negative in immunosuppressed patients even after the window period has elapsed.
There are certain infections that can be treated and cured with treatment, but if we have sexual contact with an infected partner again, we can become infected again. This happens with chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis. On the contrary, with HIV, HBV, or herpes, once acquired, they can become chronic and reactivate at certain times.