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Tackling sexually transmitted infections.

Published on 08.09.2019 at 22:46

More than 30 different bacteria, viruses and parasites are known to be transmitted through sexual contact. Eight of these pathogens are linked to the greatest incidence of sexually transmitted disease. Of these 8 infections, 4 are curable: syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. The other 4 are viral infections, which are incurable: hepatitis B, herpes simplex virus, HIV, and human papillomavirus. 

 

STIs are spread predominantly by sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Some STIs can also be spread through non-sexual means such as via blood or blood products. Many STIs, including syphilis, hepatitis B, HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, and HPV can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth. Persons can have STIs without having obvious symptoms. 

 

Education-behavioural interventions offer primary prevention against STIs, and/or unintended pregnancies. These include comprehensive sexuality education, STIs and HIV pre and/or post-test counselling; safer sex or risk-reduction counselling; condom promotion; as well as interventions targeted to key populations, such as STIs prevention education and counselling tailored to the needs of adolescents.

 

STIs have serious consequences beyond the immediate impact of the infection itself, comprehensive sexuality education improves people’s ability to practice safe sex and increase the likelihood for seeking care or encourage others to do so. Unfortunately, a lack of training, public awareness and long-standing, widespread stigma around STIs remain barriers to greater and effective use of these interventions.

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