Do You Know If You Have A Sexually Transmitted Disease?

80% of People who have a Sexually Transmitted Disease Experience No Noticeable Symptoms

The headline statement is a frightening fact but surely suggests that even with all the education and resources available today, sadly, the number of cases of STDs continues to rise dramatically worldwide and across the Caribbean region.

In addition, this often means that since there is no reason to believe that anything is wrong there will unlikely be a visit to a doctor to get checked out, resulting in continued transmission of the disease to other partners.

STD image-2Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) – and more recently referred to as sexually transmitted infections (STI) – are the infectious illnesses that have become a very common occurrences as well as taboo subject allowing an attitude of ignorance and stigma that still remains prevalent in today’s society. They are the outcome of a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior. These diseases are common among all the social groups of society.

From illiterate to well-educated citizens, all have equal tendencies to be affected by these diseases. Lack of proper awareness about the causes, symptoms, causative agents and the possible results of these diseases is actually the main factor resulting in the increase of these anathematic entities so rapidly all around the world, and in the Caribbean in particular.

The Caribbean is the second-most affected region in the world in terms of HIV prevalence rates. With about 240,000 people living with the disease, the average adult HIV prevalence rate is 1.0%, which is higher than all regions except Sub-Saharan Africa. [1]

Chances of Appearance of STDs in different groups

Men and women can both be affected by these diseases but generally women are more susceptible to these diseases as in most cases, they don’t show noticeable symptoms of the disease which can later on turn out to be completely incurable. In the Western world, teenagers and most adolescents between the ages of 15 and 24 are found to be the common victims of these diseases. As far as social groups of Caribbean areas are concerned, urban communities have recently become the centers housing maximum cases of sexually transmitted diseases but many serious cases have been noticed even in the rural areas as well.

Commonly occurring STDs

The main types of STDs are Chancroid, Chlamydia, Genital herpes, Genital warts, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, Human papillomavirus (HPV), Pubic lice (crabs), Scabies, Syphilis and Trichomoniasis. The main types of STDs occurring in Caribbean areas are Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chancroid and AIDS. Other related pathogens like HIV, HPV and Herpes simplex virus type 2 are very frequently transmitted through sexual contact.

Causes of STDs

STD image-1STDs can be caused by innumerable factors. Bacterial involvement, unhealthy attitudes and social conditions are the main categories in which these causes can be placed. Sexual intercourse with an infected person is the root cause of all these problems. Using some drugs illegally and some socially banned or illegal activities like prostitution, are also promoting these diseases very rapidly. Blood transfusion involving an infected person; the transfer of fluids from infected mother to her child during pregnancy, as well as transmission of HIV through breast milk are other prominent causes.

Related consequences of STDs

Some very complicated and sometimes incurable disorders accompany these STDs. HIV/AIDS is just one of the diseases that persist as a result of sexual activities. The person suffering from the ailment has a destroyed immune system and gets affected adversely even by minor infections very easily. AIDS still remains an incurable disease yet the following statistics reveal distressing information for the island of Jamaica.

Statistics indicate that the disease is most prevalent in the heterosexual population, which accounts for about 61 per cent of all infections, 25 per cent of transmission have not being determined, 6 per cent credited to the homosexual population, while there are no reports of transmission from intravenous drug use. Health workers have also found a high infection rate among commercial sex workers and persons with a history of sexually transmitted infections [2].

If any pregnant woman is infected with any STD, the infection could transfer to the infant and can cause eye infections and other skin problems in the child. Sometimes these diseases can result into direct miscarriages, stillbirths and spontaneous abortions. If the child is born without complications, it is possible that he or she is accompanied by severe respiratory disorder and pneumonia. Other female cases having the STD can also suffer from severe pelvic inflammatory disease or maybe a cervical cancer that could result in death.

Treatment of STDs

Safer sex kitEvery STD has a different treatment and different precautionary measures are needed to prevent it. If you have any doubt about your partner being infected by any STD, go right away for a check-up. Abstain from any kind of sexual contact with your partner until you are ensured by the doctor that you and your partner are perfectly fine. Only use a properly prescribed medication for the treatment of the STD you are suffering from. Also do not share your medicines even with your partner without being told by your doctor to do so.

Currently, STD specific pills, injections, creams and gels are available for curing or treating the diseases to some extent. They can be effectively applied to the infected areas and sores. But except for Hepatitis B virus (HBV) causing STDs, proper preventative vaccines are not available for any of the STDs.

Preventing the Transmission of the Infections

Condoms are generally used to prevent these precarious situations but sometimes even they can also be indirectly involved in causing the problem as they can provide protection only against some of the causative agents, not all of them.  Clearly the need for education that is taught by professional educators is another key to assisting in preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections. On a larger scale, STDs can be prevented if we create greater awareness and dispel the myths and tales of from whom, how, and where, these infections come.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_the_Caribbean
[2] http://www.jis.gov.jm/special_sections/aids/hivAids.html
http://www.nursingschools.net/blog/2010/05/10-truly-shocking-stats-on-stds-and-college-students/

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