STDs, as the name implies, are diseases transmitted via sexual contact where bacteria, viruses or fungi are transmitted via semen and body fluids. Even with many new studies on these diseases, information on prevention and methods of protection, there is a growing advance in cases of women and men infected by some STD throughout Brazil and worldwide. Diseases such as Gonorrhea and Syphilis, great villains in the past, are resurging in full force again.
We can highlight some factors that have contributed to this increase, such as: the lack of information on the subject, which despite the advances, is still an obstacle to be overcome mainly among the most needy communities and the negligence with the use of protection during the act prevention, which is done in a simple way has been ignored by the population. Thus, it is worth highlighting the great importance on the topic and that we still need to talk about STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) and all its forms of prevention.
Protecting yourself in all types of sexual intercourse, whether vaginal, anal or oral is a public health issue. In addition, it is essential to maintain visits to the gynecologist on a regular basis, at least once a year.
Detecting and preventing are two important actions, and in this article, we will give you several important tips on the subject to help you deal with STDs.
General truths about STDs
- STDs can be asymptomatic in their initial phase;
- Condoms are one of the best forms of prevention;
- The use of water-based lubricants can also help in prevention, because when used with condoms, it prevents their break in anal intercourse and, also, in women with little lubrication;
- There are tests to diagnose all of these STDs; (Know the most common STDs and exams to identify them)
- Most STDs are also transmitted by oral sex;
- The vaginal shower does not prevent diseases;
- It is possible to contract a sexually transmitted disease just by touching a genitalia, as is the case with HPV;
Condoms are one of the best methods to prevent the transmission of venereal diseases. Unfortunately, it is still considered taboo for many people. The old thought that “in a stable relationship it is not necessary”, or “it is a proof of love not to use a condom” still influences many men and women worldwide.
It is essential to use condoms in any type of relationship, even when there is a relationship of trust, since the entire sexually active population is at risk. It is necessary to discourage the use of condoms and see it as a protection for both. Almost 50% of the sexually active Brazilian population does not use condoms, that is, the risk of contagion is very high.
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The best form of prevention is the use of condoms at every sexual intercourse. The condom is accessible, distributed free of charge at health centers, is easy to handle and use, and has excellent protection against contact with body fluids, blood, sperm. The chances of contracting a disease with its use is only 5% because, in the case of HPV, as it is a virus that lives on the skin, it can still be transmitted in contact with the parts where the condom does not cover. It is advisable to use a condom every time a sexual intercourse occurs and only suspend its use in cases of attempted pregnancy.
Information plays an important role in prevention. The Ministry of Health has been investing heavily in this area, with educational pamphlets, programs on STDs at health centers, campaigns at festive events such as New Year and Carnival. Always stay informed!
How to detect an STD
Many STDs do not show symptoms in their early stages, but some different signs can be noticed and it is important to be aware of them. Symptoms such as strange discharge, odors, pain, itching, burning and sores show that something is wrong. Any signs of changes in the vaginal region need to seek professional help from a gynecologist. We spoke in a recent article about everything you need to know about discharge (Find out what the stains on your panties can mean) .
The 7 main STDs
- HPV (virus)
One of the STDs that has gained great prominence in the last 10 years due to the increase in infected people was HPV. HPV is actually the abbreviation for “Human Papillomavirus”, also known as Condyloma Acuminata and genital wart. The HPV virus causes cellular malformations in the skin and mucosa cells, giving rise to warts and, in more severe cases, can affect the colon of the uterus causing cancerous lesions. These warts can affect the genital, anal or oral region. To contract this disease it is not necessary to have penetration so it is possible to catch it even by touching a genitalia, as long as there is a gateway (small lesions). Nowadays there is a vaccine that protects against contamination and the Brazilian government has been carrying out vaccination campaigns.
- HIV (virus)
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, it attacks the immune system leaving it very weak. Once infected, there is no cure for the virus. The treatment aims to keep the viral load as low as possible to decrease the risk of developing AIDS. Even though it is still a disease full of taboos, it is necessary to talk about it, and understand that it is still present today. The best form of prevention is using condoms in all sexual relations, whether vaginal, oral or anal.
- Herpes (virus)
Herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex virus. There are two types of viruses, type 1 most commonly found in lip infections and type 2 most commonly found in genital infections. The type 2 virus is transmitted through sexual intercourse, causing sores in the genital area and anus. There is no definitive cure for the Herpes virus. Once infected, the virus is latent in the body and can be reactivated again, again and again. It is essential to take care against its contamination.
- Read also: 9 diseases transmitted by kissing on the mouth
- Hepatitis B (virus)
There are several types of hepatitis, which cause liver degeneration, however, not all are transmitted sexually. Type B virus is transmitted through sexual intercourse, blood transfusion, needles and contaminated objects, mother to child. Type C can also be transmitted in this way, but to a lesser extent. Hepatitis B does not usually present symptoms in its initial phase, and with its evolution it can lead to liver cirrhosis. To prevent Hepatitis B, just take the 3 doses of the vaccine, always use a condom during sex and do not share personal items (pliers, scissors, blades, etc.).
- Gonorrhea (bacteria)
This is one of the most common STDs, affecting men and women sexually. Gonorrhea causes infection in the genitals, as well as eyes, throat and joints, which can lead to infertility.
With the increase in the practice of sex without a condom, the World Health Organization has been warning about the emergence of a type of Gonorrhea resistant to various antibiotics and difficult to treat that is spreading around the world.
- Chlamydia (bacteria)
Chlamydia is an asymptomatic STD common in both men and women. As it has no symptoms, it can be difficult to identify. That is why it is essential to have a regular blood test to identify it. When left untreated, the disease causes other, more serious illnesses.
- Syphilis (bacteria)
Syphilis is a disease that can present several clinical forms and is classified into primary syphilis (hard cancer), secondary syphilis (spots on the body) and tertiary syphilis (serious complications). Without proper treatment, this disease also causes other, more serious, long-term illnesses, which can lead to death and can be transmitted to the fetus during pregnancy (congenital syphilis). That is why it is essential to perform the blood test regularly, especially at the beginning of pregnancy.
Important precautions to take in relation to STDs
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- Go to the gynecologist regularly;
- Go to the dentist regularly;
- Order blood tests to identify some STDs regularly;
- Have good intimate hygiene;
- Have good oral health;
- Know the symptoms of STDs;
- Always use a condom, whether male, female, or oral-oral;
- Get vaccinated with existing vaccines against some STDs;
- Always seek professional guidance, if you have any doubts seek a doctor or health professional specialized in STDs.
STDs and lesbian sex
Since sexual intercourse between two women is not at risk of pregnancy, the use of protection against STDs is practically nil.
Even having sex with a woman, it is essential to have this care:
- Use condoms on objects for penetration;
- Do not insert a finger into the vagina after having inserted it into the anus;
- Use fingertips every time you introduce fingers;
- For oral sex always use protection with female condoms or nipples;
- Maintain good hygiene in all objects used for penetrations.
Sexually transmitted diseases do not choose a sexual option, so even in relationships between women it is essential to use protection in all forms of sex.
STDs and pregnancy
STDs are even more frightening in pregnant women, so if you are planning to become pregnant it is essential to carry out pre-pregnancy planning, that way, you are able to assess your health level and take the right measures to make your body 100% healthy to receive a life.
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If your pregnancy is unplanned, you should have prenatal care and it will identify any type of STDs, for some there is the possibility of treatment during pregnancy, but it will always be necessary to have medical attention.
- Read also: 10 basic signs that can identify a possible pregnancy
STDs and oral sex
Unprotected oral sex is also a form of STD transmission. To avoid contracting some of the diseases mentioned above, it is essential to use some type of condom. Among them are: the male condom, the female condom and also the buccal-lingual condom. This condom is possible to be found in sex shops and aims to protect the mouth.
In addition, it is essential to take care of the health of the teeth, avoiding the formation of gingivitis and teeth with open lesions, as they are entrance doors which facilitate the transmissions.
We hope this article guides you and helps you to prevent STDs. Take care, have sex responsibly, always use a condom!