The number of reported cases of sexually transmitted infections has soared since the turn of the century. In fact, a recent report from the Department of Health showed that of the 14 notifiable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Ireland, ten had increased since 1999. Another report showed that there has been a trebling of STI cases in Ireland since 1995.
In the EU, the three most common sexually transmitted infections - which are genital warts, chlamydia and non-specific urethritis - account for nearly nine in every ten notifications of STIs.
If sexually transmitted infections are left untreated, they can cause permanent damage and even make you infertile. However, some STIs don’t have any clear symptoms, which means you could be infected without realising it and are unknowingly risking your health. This is why it’s important to have regular STIs tests if you’re sexually active.
How are sexually transmitted infections spread?
The vast majority of STIs are spread through unprotected sexual intercourse, but some can be passed on by skin-to-skin contact with an infected area or sore, such as genital herpes and genital warts. Oral sex is also one of the more frequent ways sexually transmitted infections are spread, including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes and syphilis.
Some factors which increase a person’s risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections include:
- Unprotected sex: condoms are the only contraceptive that protects against STIs; even diaphragms and spermicides won’t offer any protection
- Sexual activity at a young age: the younger a person starts having sex, the greater their risk of contracting an STI
- Multiple sexual partners: if you have sexual contact with many different partners, this also boosts your risk of catching an STI
- Sores, cuts, ulcers or inflamed skin on or around your mouth and lips: these factors increase the risk of you contracting an STI when performing oral sex
What different STIs are there?
Sexually transmitted infections are either viral or bacterial infections. Bacterial infections like chlamydia and gonorrhoea are easily treated, but viral infections like genital herpes and genital warts can be treated but are ultimately incurable and may plague you for the rest of your life.
HealthExpress.eu offers treatment for the following common STIs:
- Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
- Genital herpes
- Mycoplasma Genitalium
- Non-specific Urethritis
- Trichomonas Vaginalis
- Ureaplasma Urealyticum
What are the common symptoms of an STI?
You can contract an STI without displaying any symptoms, which is why it’s important to have regular tests for sexually transmitted infections. If you do experience symptoms, it’s likely it will be one or some of the following:
- Unusual discharge from the penis, vagina or anus
- Pain during sex
- Bleeding after sex or between periods
- Pain on passing urine, or the need to urinate more often
- Infection in the rectum or throat
- Blisters, sores, warts, irritation, rashes or itching near the genitals or anus
- Pelvic or lower abdominal pain
Preventing sexually transmitted infections
The only way you can prevent yourself from contracting an STI is to abstain altogether. However, if you are sexually active, the safest thing you can do is use a condom when you have sex.
It’s essential that you are tested regularly if you are sexually active and have contact with different partners. This will pick up any infections and allow you to treat them quickly, before they can further impact on your health.
How are STIs treated?
The good news is that if you’ve contracted a sexually transmitted infection, most of them can be easily treated with a simple course of antibiotics. If you are suffering from an STI, you can complete an online consultation with one of our registered doctors and apply for a prescription. If the doctor approves you to use an STI medication, they will recommend a suitable treatment which will be sent to you via free next-day delivery.