STIs, sexually transmitted infections, are infections caused via sexual activity with another person. These infections are pretty common and are easily treatable in the early stages. STIs are different from STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) – infections come before the disease and may or may not come with symptoms. STDs on the other hand, come with clear symptoms.
STIs can affect anyone, irrespective of their hygiene, sexual orientation, and even nonpenetrative sexual activity.
Below are some common STIs:
Caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, chlamydia is the most common STI that can spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex. While it usually does not have any symptoms, it may cause infertility and/or other complications if it is left untreated. In cases where symptoms do occur, it includes vaginal discharge and burning sensation during peeing. Chlamydia can also affect the rectum and may cause rectal pain, bleeding and discharge.
2. Pubic Lice (Crabs)
Crabs, or pubic lice usually affect the pubic hair, but it may also affect hair in the armpits, mustache, eyelashes and eyebrows. Crabs infections occur in stages wherein the first stage consists of the appearance of eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the live look like tiny crabs that live on blood for 2-3 weeks. In the last couple of days of its life, the females lay more eggs, thus continuing the cycle.
While pubic lice can be caused due to close contact with an infected person, it can also spread through shared towels and linen.
Caused by the herpes simplex virus, this virus affects the skin, cervix and genitals, apart from some other parts of the body. There are two types of HSV – 1 and 2. HSV-1 affects the mouth and can spread through saliva or through a herpes-related sore near the mouth area. HSV-2 affects the mouth, genitals and the anal area, and is spread through sex. Herpes is very contagious and cannot be prevented by condoms.
Once contracted, herpes always stays in the body. Some symptoms of herpes include fever, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes.
Currently, there is no cure for herpes, but medicines do help in relieving the symptoms.
Other common STIs include Hepatitis B, HIV, Human Papillomavirus, Scabies, Syphilis, etc.