Dominican Republic – Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) continue to show a worrying increase worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, there are more than one million new cases of sexually transmitted infections every day, most of which are asymptomatic.
Dr. Stacey Rizza, an infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic, warned that multiple factors could explain the continued rise in STIs in recent years. According to Dr Riza, education is key and a fundamental step in reducing the risks associated with these infections, which in the long run can have serious consequences for individual health and society as a whole.
“In recent years, we have seen a worrying increase in various sexually transmitted infections, especially syphilis,” Dr. Riza said.
Syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea are all bacterial infections that can be effectively treated with antibiotic medicines. It’s worth noting, however, that these drugs are not effective against viral infections such as hepatitis B, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and herpes. Also, not everyone who contracts an STI will show noticeable symptoms.
Dr. Riza emphasized that one of the main difficulties in controlling the spread of these infections is the presence of asymptomatic people who can spread these infections to other people.
Early detection, knowledge of risk factors and prevention are critical to combating STIs.
How to prevent STIs?
“The most effective way to prevent most STIs is to use a barrier method of contraception during sexual intercourse,” Dr. Riza noted.
This includes things like using condoms or female dental dams. For people at high risk of HIV, a medicine called PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is available, as well as vaccines to protect against human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B.
Dr. Riza emphasizes that taking care of yourself means taking care of others as well.
“If you have a new sexual partner or multiple sexual partners, we generally recommend screening every three months, even if you are asymptomatic,” advises Dr. Riza.
Symptoms of STIs
It’s important to remember that it is possible to be exposed to an STI without having any noticeable symptoms. In many cases, a person may become infected without showing obvious signs of disease.
What are the symptoms of an STI?
- Sores or lumps in the genital, mouth, or rectal area.
- Painful or burning urination.
- discharge from the penis.
- An unusual or smelly vaginal discharge.
- Unusual vaginal bleeding.
- Pain during intercourse.
- Irritation and swelling of the lymph nodes, especially in the groin but sometimes in other places as well.
- Pain in the lower abdomen.
If you suspect you have an STI, you should see your doctor, which is why screening tests are important, and it’s important to have the test done by your doctor.