What are STIs and how do they relate to HIV infection?
STIs stands for “Sexually Transmitted Infection” STIs are infections that are passed on through the close, intimate contact that usually accompanies sexual activities.
Some common STIs include the following
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS.
Chlamydia infection is a common Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in humans caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. The term Chlamydia infection can also refer to infection caused by any species belonging to the bacterial family Chlamydiaceae. For those who have the symptoms which are non-specific, should seek proper diagnosis before getting treatment.
- Trichomoniasis (“Trich”)
Trichomoniasis is a genital infection caused by a parasite. It prefers to live in the vagina, but can also live in the urethra (inside the penis) in men. Most women do not have symptoms, however, some women may have a frothy, yellowish vaginal discharge, genital itching or vulval pain. Symptoms are rare in men but it may cause pain on urinating. Trichomonas can be transmitted by vaginal sex without using condoms with someone who has the infection.
Gonorrhea is a Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a bacterium that can grow and multiply easily in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix (opening to the womb), uterus (womb), and fallopian tubes (egg canals) in women, and in the urethra (urine canal) in women and men. The bacterium can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes, and anus.
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
HPV is the most common Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). HPV is a different virus than HIV and HSV (herpes). HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. There are many different types of HPV. Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and cancers. But there are vaccines that can stop these health problems from happening
- Genital herpes
Herpes is a very contagious disease, and is easily spread through contact with the affected area. Herpes can be transmitted not only through sexual intercourse, but also through oral and anal sex with your partner who might not even know or show no signs of herpes. Herpes can be treated but can not be cured and once infected the virus stays in skin and nerve cells for life. Condoms can help reduce the risk against Herpes however condoms only protect certain area that they cover. Most of the time it is dormant and causes no symptoms, but from time to time it can flare up. This tends to happen when the immune system is weakened, in situations of stress, during a cold or on exposure to strong ultraviolet light, even in people without HIV. Such attacks occur more frequently in children and the elderly, since these groups tend to have less efficient immune systems than adults.
Syphilis is a Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It has often been called “the great imitator” because so many of the signs and symptoms are indistinguishable from those of other diseases.
- Hepatitis B infection
Hepatitis B Virus (often known as HBV, but to avoid possible confusion with HIV, this abbreviation isn’t used in this booklet) is an infection that can cause severe damage to your liver, sometimes resulting in death.
- Hepatitis C infection
Hepatitis C Virus, although unrelated to hepatitis B, often causes similar symptoms. Sexual transmission of hepatitis C is less common but does occur. It is more likely to happen if you also have another sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Also, anal or rough sex is more likely to pass on the infection. Oral sex is of low risk. The virus is present in saliva, but kissing is not usually a risk unless both partners have cuts in the mouth or bleeding gums.
Understanding the risk
If you have ever had an STIs , you may have been exposed to HIV as well, and should consider getting tested for HIV. If you currently have an STIs, you need to see a medical provider as soon as possible. Having an STIs causes the skin to break down and can increase the risk of getting HIV, or passing HIV to others if an HIV-infected person has an STIs. STIs also can cause problems of their own, which can range from minor and annoying in nature to serious and life-threatening. Some STIs can be present without causing symptoms. Therefore, if you think you are at risk of contracting STIs, you should be tested routinely for both HIV and STIs, even if you have no symptoms.