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Sexually Transmitted Infections Including HIV/AIDS


What is a sexually transmitted disease?

The general term sexually transmitted disease (STD) is applied to any of the group of diseases that can be spread by sexual contact.


How do sexually transmitted diseases spread ?

Sexually transmitted diseases are spread from one person to another through intimate sexual contact such as sexual intercourse, oral sex and anal sex.


What are the symptoms of STDs?

The symptoms of STDs may include the following:

  • Itching around the vagina and/or discharge from the vagina in women.
  • Discharge from the penis in men.
  • Pain during sex or when urinating.
  • Painless red sores on the genital area.
  • Soft flesh coloured warts around genital area.
  • Pain in or around the anus for people who have anal sex.
  • Unusual infections, unexplained fatigue, night sweats and weight loss

Is it possible for a person to have STD and not to know about it?

Symptoms of STD in men are often visible; hence they become aware that their sexual organs have been infected. However, women with STIs can be asymptomatic which means that signs of infection are not apparent even though infection is present.


Can STDs cause other health problems?

Yes. While each STD causes different health problems, overall, they can cause cervical cancer and other cancers, liver disease, infertility, pregnancy problems, and other complications. Some STDs increase your risk of getting HIV/AIDS.


What is to be done in case of suspicion of an STD?

Excessive vaginal/penal discharge, burning micturition, pain in lower abdomen, ulcer on genitalia and enlarged lymph node in groin are the usual features of an STD. If you suspect that you have an STD, don't be shy or afraid to seek help. See your doctor and ask for an STD checkup or consult a skin specialist or gynecologist if you are a female. Don't ignore symptoms or wait for them to go away. STDs are common and highly contagious and are more easily treated if caught earl


What are the ways to  prevent STD s?

One may protect oneself against STDs by (i) Staying in a  monogamous relationship and ensuring that her/his partner is also in a monogamous relationship (ii) Male latex condoms can reduce your risk of getting an STI if used correctly. Be sure to use them every time you have sex. Female condoms aren't as effective as male condoms, but should be used when a man won't use a male condom


Is intercourse with virgin girl/ girl child a cure for STD?

No it is not a cure or treatment. Rather it is inhuman to physically harm the innocent girl, to spoil her life socially. There are very effective diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for STD. STD is like other infections. Do not hesitate to approach doctor for treatment. Do not opt for any such act which is absolutely non scientific




What are HIV and AIDS?

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is caused by the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) which attacks the body's immune system - your defense against infections. Without this protection, people with AIDS suffer from fatal infections and cancers


What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

HIV is the name of the virus. AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.


How does HIV/AIDS spread?

HIV is spread from an infected person to someone else when there is an exchange of semen, vaginal fluids or blood. This occurs during:

  • Sexual intercourse.
  • Through the sharing of needles for injection.
  • Through infected blood transfusion.
  • From an infected pregnant mother to her child, at or about the time of birth.

Can HIV be contracted through oral sex?

Although it is possible to become infected with HIV through oral sex, the risk of becoming infected in this way is much lower than the risk of infection via unprotected sexual intercourse with a man or woman.


Is unprotected anal intercourse more of an HIV risk than vaginal or oral sex?

Yes, unprotected anal intercourse does carries a higher risk than most other forms of sexual activity. The lining of the anus has fewer cells than that of the vagina, and therefore can be damaged and cause bleeding during intercourse. The injury / damage facilitate exchange of infected sexual fluids / blood.


Is there a risk of HIV transmission when having a tattoo, body piercing or visiting the barbers?

If instruments contaminated with blood are not sterilised between clients then there is a risk of HIV transmission. This can be avoided by using disposable blades.


Can HIV be transmitted by kissing?

Saliva does not usually transmit HIV although the virus has been found in the saliva of HIV infected people. If both partners have cuts or sores in the mouth or bleeding gums, infected blood could possibly be exchanged- hence deep kissing should be avoided.


How is HIV not transmitted?

HIV is not passed on by everyday social contact such as:

  • Sharing toilets.
  • Sharing utensils.
  • Social gestures like shaking hands, embracing etc.
  • Pets and biting insects, such as mosquitoes.
  • Coughing/ sneezing


How can I tell if I have an HIV infection?

There is a simple blood test that will tell you if you are infected with HIV. It's called the HIV antibody test. Your body reacts to the presence of the virus by producing antibodies. A test that discovers these antibodies indicates that you are infected..


I think I may be infected with HIV or AIDS. What should I do?

See a doctor or visit ICTC if you think you may be at risk or if you have symptoms. You may need to have a blood test. A positive result means that you have been exposed to the virus and could pass it on to others.


What is “window period” in HIV testing?

Once a person is infected with HIV, the body reacts by forming antibodies against it. HIV antibodies can take up to 14 weeks or longer to appear in the blood. During this period, known as the ?window period? you can test negative but actually have the virus.

What are the symptoms which manifest immediately following infection?

Many people do not develop HIV-AIDS symptoms after getting infected with HIV. Some people have HIV-AIDS symptoms like a flu-like illness within several days to weeks after exposure to the virus. They complain of fever, headache, tiredness, and enlarged glands in the neck. These HIV-AIDS symptoms usually disappear on their own within a few weeks.


How long does it take for the disease to progress?

The progression of disease varies widely among individuals. This state may last from a few months to more than 10 years. During this period, the virus continues to multiply actively and infects and kills the cells of the immune system by destroying primary infection fighters, called CD4+ or T4 cells.


What are the symptoms of HIV/AIDS?

Once the immune system weakens, a person infected with HIV /AIDS can develop the following symptoms:

  • Lack of energy.
  • Weight loss.
  • Frequent fevers and sweats.
  • Persistent or frequent fungal infections.
  • persistentdiarrhea.
  • Short-term memory loss.
  • Mouth, genital, or anal sores.
  • Cough and shortness of breath


How is HIV/AIDS treated?

Drugs are available at Antiretrovral Treatment (ART) centres located at various government hospitals for the person suffering from HIV/AIDS. These drugs arrest the progress of the HIV infection but are not a cure. The virus remains in the body for life of the patients of HIV/AIDS. There are drugs to treat the infections and cancers which could develop in patients of HIV/AIDS.


Are there any medicines for treatment of HIV/AIDS? Who are given these medicines?

There is no cure for HIV infection or AIDS; the virus remains in the body for life. Several medicines are being used to, arrests the progress of the HIV infection. Some medicines are used to treat the infections and cancers which could develop in patient suffering with HIV/AIDS.


When is an HIV positive person put on treatment?

The treating doctor decides when to put the patient on anti-retroviral therapy. CD4count is done before the start of treatment for HIV/AIDS.


If both partners are HIV positive can they engage in unprotected sex?

When both partners are HIV positive, it might still be sensible for them not to engage in frequent unprotected sex, because there might be a small risk of one re-infecting the other with a different strain of HIV and contracting other sexually transmitted infections.




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