Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are caused by bacterial or viral infections. STIs caused by bacteria are treated with antibiotics. Those caused by viruses cannot be cured, but symptoms can be treated.
A Physician, Dr David Bawa, says women are more prone to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) due to their anatomy. He said that women were more susceptible to infections due to the open structure of their genitals.
“A woman’s reproductive anatomy alone makes her more vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections than a man. Unlike the relatively thick skin of the male organ, a woman’s cervical mouth is covered by a thin, more delicate mucous membrane that more easily allows viruses and bacteria to pass through and cause infection.”
“STIs are the second most common burden of diseases in tropical Africa, commonly found in women,’’ he said. He added that the vagina is also a warm and moist environment, an environment that could encourage bacteria to grow when they find their way in.
He noted that most STIs were treatable while some have no cure. “Treating STIs means suppressing the organism causing the virus that such a person could live a healthy live,’’ the physician said.
Bawa decried the way most women claimed to have toilet infection, saying that medically, such claims are unacceptable while some were more prone due to bad personal hygiene. “There is nothing like toilet infection, it is either an STI or an auto infection, meaning infecting one’s self as a result of bad personal hygiene. Cleaning the anus down to the vagina moves the bacteria load from the anus to other parts of the body which could result to an infection.”
“STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea, if unnoticed and untreated, could lead to a condition called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in women. PID could lead to chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that develops in the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus). It could also cause infertility in women,’’ he warned
Ways to reduce the risk of getting STIs
There are many ways you can reduce your risk of getting an STI:
- Know your sexual partners and limit their number—Your partner’s sexual history is as important as your own. The more partners you or your partners have, the higher your risk of getting an STI.
- Use a latex condom—Using a latex condom every time you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex decreases the chances of infection. Condoms lubricated with spermicides do not offer extra protection. Frequent use of some spermicides can increase the risk of HIV.
- Avoid risky sex practices—Sexual acts that tear or break the skin carry a higher risk of STIs. Even small cuts that do not bleed let germs pass back and forth. Anal sex poses a high risk because tissues in the rectum tear easily. Body fluids also can carry STIs. Having any unprotected sexual contact with an infected person poses a high risk of getting an STI.
- Get immunized—Vaccinations are available that will help prevent hepatitis B and some types of HPV.