STIs You Might Have Without Knowing It
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are always a possibility when you’re sexually active. This is why it’s so important to always use protection by using a condom every time you have sex, get tested regularly, and be honest with your partner (and healthcare practitioner) about your sexual activity. Not using protection and having multiple sexual partners significantly increases your risk of contracting STIs Choma. And when you think about STIs, you might think it’s something you can see, on yourself and your partner - but this is not always the case.
Some STIs could go unnoticed for years even, not showing any symptoms. They can even be spread without either person knowing they have it. Here are a few STIs that don’t always show visible symptoms:
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is one of the most common STIs. Many people will contract HPV at some point in their lives and never notice it. That’s because some forms of HPV might have genital warts as a symptom, but some won’t. There is no treatment for HPV, although in most cases it does go away on its own. Because of this, HPV is not always tested for when you do an STI screening. The way HPV is mainly tested for in females is through pap smears. During a pap smear, your healthcare practitioner will look for certain strains of HPV because these can lead to cervical cancer. So the earlier it is detected, the easier cervical cancer can be prevented.
Read more about HPV here.
Chlamydia is common in younger women. Because chlamydia is considered a “silent” infection, meaning many people don’t experience any symptoms at all, it can go untreated for a long time or can be confused for something less serious. If you do experience symptoms, you might notice an abnormal discharge, and pain during urination. These symptoms can easily be confused for a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. Other symptoms might include bleeding between periods, lower back and abdominal pain, and pain during sex. If you notice changes in discharge, pain, or burning, it’s important to see your healthcare practitioner to ensure it’s not a STI.
Read more about Chlamydia here.
Gonorrhoea is very similar to Chlamydia because it also commonly affects younger women who are sexually active and it also does not always show up with visible symptoms. If there are any symptoms, they are similar to Chlamydia: vaginal discharge, burning and pain. These symptoms are easily mistaken for bladder or vaginal infection.
Like most STIs, Gonorrhoea can have many negative effects on your health if it goes untreated entirely or if it’s untreated for too long. Gonorrhoea can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and can even cause scarring and in rare cases, damage your reproductive organs. It also increases your risk of contracting HIV.
Read more about Gonorrhoea here.
You might think of painful sores and blisters when you think about herpes but that is not always the case. A lot of the time, herpes doesn't even show any signs or symptoms Choma.
There are actually two different types of herpes. Herpes simplex type 1 is transmitted through oral secretions or open sores on the skin, it can be spread through kissing. With herpes type 2, a person can be infected during unprotected sexual contact – through oral, anal, and vaginal sex. It’s important to know Choma that even though herpes is most contagious when there are symptoms, it can still be spread even when there are no sores or symptoms present.
Read more about Herpes here.
If you’re sexually active, knowing more about STIs is extremely important Choma. It’s not only important to know the symptoms but also to understand that STIs are not always immediately obvious. This is why, if you’re sexually active, it’s important to go for STI testing. You can read more on the importance of STI testing here Choma.
Do you think you’re clued up about STIs? Here’s a quiz: What’s your STI IQ?
If you need more advice on STIs, remember that you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)
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