Lesson 2 Sexually transmitted infections

After you completed this lesson you will be able to:

  • Understand what sexually transmitted infections are 
  • Understand what you can do to prevent sexually transmitted infections
  • Recognise possible symptoms of sexually transmitted infections
  • Understand what you have to do when you have a sexually transmitted infection 
  • Having vaginal, anal or oral sex without a condom
  • Sharing sex toys (e.g. dildo or vibrator) without changing the condom when another person uses it
  • Through contact with a person who has sores, blisters or genital warts on the skin
  • A woman can transmit an STI to her child during pregnancy or childbirth
  • STI’s can be transmitted through infected blood or other body liquids: sharing injection needles, using the same toothbrush, bedsheets or towels
  • Some can also be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact
  • The most common STI’s that can be cured are trichomonas, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.
  • Other STI’s are more difficult to cure, e.g. human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), genital herpes, viral hepatitis B and C and human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and genital herpes can be suppressed with medication but will stay present in someone’s body.
  • For viral hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV) there are vaccines that protect you against these viruses that can lead to cancer.

STI’s often have no clear symptoms.

  • Abnormal discharge from the vagina, urethra or anus
  • sores, blisters or warts on the vagina, penis, anus or mouth
  • pain or itching vagina, penis or anus
  • pain in the lower abdomen
  • pain when going to the toilet

STI’s can have an import negative impact on your health and on the health of your partner.
If it is not treated it could lead to neurological and heart diseases, high risks during pregnancy and childbirth and even infertility.

  • Use a condom when having vaginal, anal or oral sex when you don’t know whether the other person is infected with an STI or not. It also prevents pregnancy if you don’t wish for it.
  • Get vaccinated against viral hepatitis B and HPV.
  • Don’t use a needle that was already used by others.
  • Use your own toothbrush.
  • Get tested to make sure you are not infected. Especially when you often change partners. Talk to your doctor about getting tested.