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Sexual health screening – what you need to know
The most common sexual diseases are chlamydia and gonorrhoea. Less common are genital herpes (which can also be transmitted by oral sex, Human Papilloma Virus (responsible for cancer of the cervix, genital warts, vulval and penile cancer), syphilis, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
In women it can cause blockage of tubes leading to sub-fertility and in men to obstruction of the vas which transport the sperms responsible for transportation of the sperms. Most of the sexually transmitted diseases can be prevented by use of a condom and ensuring no penetration take place without protection.
You may like to read our article Not getting pregnant? Hidden STIs could be the cause.
We recommend getting tested every time you change sexual partners. However, if you experience any symptoms like inflammation, discharge or itching, then head to your gynaecologist for a sexual health check right away.
You may also like to read our article STI testing: Your sexual health questions answered.
There are many symptoms associated with sexual diseases, but often, patients may be asymptomatic (have no symptoms at all), which is why it’s important to regularly get tested every if you don’t have any symptoms. Symptoms of STIs can include:
- Pain when urinating
- Discharge (usually with unusual smell or colour)
- Lumps, sores or rashes on or around genitals
- Bleeding between periods
If you experience any of these symptoms, head to your gynaecologist for an STI check.
You may also like to read our article What are the first signs of an STI?
Chlamydia infection is the most common sexually transmitted disease in developed countries affecting about 1:10 adults at 20 years of age in the big cities. It is caused by a small bacterium. It behaves like a virus as it can live and replicate inside the cells. In women early infection are often silent and may remain for months or years. It may be manifested by vaginal discharge, postcoital, intermenstrual bleeding or pelvic pain. It is a major cause of tubal blockade and infertility.
Gonorrhea is the second most common Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) after Chlamydia and affects 5% of young adults. It is caused by a bacteria and is highly infectious with symptoms appearing 2-5 days after contact. In half of the women there are no symptoms but in the remainder there is a yellow copious discharge and pain with urination. It can spread to the uterus and tubes leading to pelvic pain and infertility.