According to the WHO, there are more than 30 different bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can be transmitted via sexual contact. Far from being an uncommon occurrence, it is estimated that 1 million of these sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired worldwide each day.
Along with a litany of unpleasant symptoms, many of these STIs can lead to serious sexual health consequences, including infertility, cancers, and pregnancy complications. In some cases, STIs can be fatal; in 2021, approximately 650,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses.
Proper diagnosis and treatment can go a long way toward preventing these negative health outcomes. Safe sexual practices designed to prevent the transmission of STIs is an even better solution still. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding sexual health and our unwillingness to discuss uncomfortable topics means that many people do not have access to the information they need to keep themselves and their partners safe.
For this reason, September 4th had been designated as “world sexual health day“. To help promote the mission of world sexual health day, we at Bikham Healthcare wanted to highlight the campaign’s objectives and discuss the STI prevention measures that everyone needs to know.
What is the Goal of World Sexual Health Day?
There are a lot of important facts regarding sexual health and STI prevention that anyone who is old enough to engage in sexual activity needs to be aware of. In a world where everyone understood safe sexual practices and followed them accordingly, STIs would be far less common. However, sex and STIs are uncomfortable topics for many people across locations and cultures. Unfortunately, this means that these topics don’t get nearly as much attention as they deserve.
Through social media, educational programs, cultural activities, engagement with media outlets, and political activism, the organizations behind world sexual health day are hoping to both eliminate the stigma surrounding sexual health as well as promote the vital information that everyone needs to hear. To help out with this cause, let’s take a look at some of the most important messages of world sexual health day.
STI Prevention: What You Need to Know
The first important piece of information regarding STI prevention is that the majority of people who contract an STI are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t display any physical symptoms. Just because an STI doesn’t cause any physical symptoms, though, does not mean it can’t be spread to others – and those that it is spread to may exhibit symptoms even if the person who gave it to them did not. The fact that you can spread STIs without even realizing that you are infected highlights the importance of both safe sexual practices and STI testing.
Speaking of safe sexual practices, by far the most effective way to prevent spreading and contracting STIs is to use condoms. STIs can be spread via oral, anal, and vaginal sex. Wearing a condom during these sexual activities, though, is 98% effective at preventing STIs. Condoms prevent skin-to-skin contact, and even the most aggressive STIs are not able to penetrate latex. It is only the rare cases when a condom breaks that condoms are not able to prevent STI transmission. When used properly, though, this is a highly unlikely occurrence.
If you aren’t going to use condoms, it is essential for both you and your partner(s) to undergo STI testing. Once again, keep in mind the fact that STIs are often asymptomatic, meaning that STI testing is the only guaranteed way to ensure that you and your partner(s) are not infected. Along with providing peace of mind before engaging in unprotected sex, STI testing is also advisable for anyone who is experiencing STI symptoms as well as anyone who has recently had unprotected sex with an untested partner.
How to Schedule an Appointment for STI Testing
Along with condoms, STI testing is one of the most important tools available when it comes to preventing the spread of STIs. If you are concerned that you might have contracted an STI or you would simply like to ensure a clean bill of health for you and your partner(s) before engaging in unprotected sex, be sure to discuss STI testing next time you meet with your physician.