Sexual Health and STIs

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) aremostly bacterial or viral infections spread from person to person through sexual contact. They include genital warts(HPV), hepatitis B, Herpes, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and HIV (the AIDS virus). A big problem with respect to controlling the spread of STIs, is that many people do not experience symptoms in the early stages of infection. While unaware that they have an STI, they infect other sexual partners. 

Bacterial STIs such as Chlamydia, Syphilis and Gonorrhea are generally treatable with antibiotics. However, left untreated, these STIs can cause serious and irreversible health conditions such as infertility and organ damage. Viral STIs such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), hepatitis B and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are presently not easy to cure, requiring either long or intermittent therapies and screening where there are associated cancer risks.

Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Infections

Symptoms of sexually transmitted infections vary depending on the nature of the infection and aren't always obvious. It is therefore important to have an STI screen done after having unprotected sex with a partner of unknown STI status, or if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Sores or warts near the mouth, anus or genitalia;

  • Swelling or redness near the penis or vagina;

  • New or unusual rashes;

  • Pain during intercourse or urination;

  • Discharge from the penis or vagina;

  • Severe itching around the penis or vagina;

  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)

  • Bleeding from the vagina at times other than the regular monthly period.

Prevention of STI's

  • The only 100% effective way to prevent catching an STI is to abstain from sexual relations.For most, however, this is an unrealistic expectation. The following will reduce your chances of getting one.

  • Using condoms properly will protect against most STIs transmitted in seminal and vaginal fluids. It will not, however, protect against STIs that are transmitted by close skin contact outside the area of the condom.  (e.g. genital warts, pubic lice, herpes, syphilis, chancroid)

  • The more sexual partners one has, the greater the risk of catching an STI 

  • Get checked for STIs regularly to avoid passing an infection to someone else.  

  • If you are diagnosed with an STI, contact all your sexual partners from the last 6 months so they too can get tested. 

  • Excellent vaccines are available to prevent two STIs…Hepatitis B and HPV (genital warts). These are routinely offered in the Australian Childhood/School Immunisation Programs but not all countries can afford to do this. These vaccines are available at Globe Medical.

STI Testing

Our doctors are friendly, discreet and non-judgemental. They are familiar with diagnosing and treating sexually transmitted infections.There is no reason to be embarrassed if you need to ask questions relating to your sexual health.

STIs can be easily tested for with a blood test, urine test or genital swab (which can be self-collected with instruction), depending on the type of STI being investigated. Some STI's, such as HIV, may not show up on a test immediately after exposure, and may require re-testing some weeks later. Bacterial STIs such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are easily treated with antibiotics. Where an STI is not so easy to treat e.g. herpes, your GP will help you to manage the disease. 

Doctors are legally obliged to keep your personal health information, including your sexual health information private and confidential. If you think you may have an STI, or have recently had unprotected sex, make an appointment and let the reception staff know if you prefer to see a male or female doctor.

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