Most people experience a sexually transmitted infection (STI) at some point in their life. Chlamydia, herpes, fungal infections and genital warts are for example quite common. Gonorrhea and syphilis are also becoming more common once again. The possible consequences of an infection range from irritating itching to a life-threatening illness.
The most important facts about STIs
- STIs are transmitted during sex. These are, for example, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis.
- They are transmitted mainly during vaginal, anal and oral sex, but also during other practices, for example when using sex toys together.
- Condoms reduce the risk of infection, but do not protect completely.
- Often, STIs do not cause any symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they include discharge, itching or skin changes on the genitals and anus.
- You can protect yourself well against some infections, for example with condoms or a vaccination. All of the abovementioned diseases are easily treatable, mostly with antibitotics. If left untreated, they can have serious health consequences. Therefore, anyone who is sexually active and has changing partners should therefore be tested regularly (once a year) for STIs.
This is especially true for people with HIV: some diseases can take a more severe course for them. Sexually transmitted infections can also increase the risk of contracting HIV because inflammation makes it easier for the virus to enter the body. If HIV-positive people have another sexually transmitted infection, the risk of infecting their partners with HIV increases.