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Sexually Transmitted Infections

What are sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infectious diseases transmitted through sexual contact. Some of these diseases can also be spread through indiscriminate use of needles.

They are spread through blood and body fluids.

How can you get STIs?

You can get STIs from other infected people through :

  • Unprotected sexual contact either vaginal, anal or oral sex.
  • Kissing.
  • Touching infected areas.
  • Sharing needles (AIDS and Hepatitis B).

How can you protect yourself?

If you are below 16 years old, having sex is illegal unless you are married.

The Malaysian law states that consensual sex with girls below 16 years old will lead to the male being charged with statutory rape.

  • The best way is to avoid sex.
  • If you are sexually active, practice safe sex.
    • Be loyal to one partner. Avoid multiple partners.
    • Use condoms. However condoms are not 100% effective in preventing STI’s but are able to reduce the risk of transmission
    • Avoid taking alcohol or drugs that can impair your judgment.

What are the signs and symptoms of STIs?

Women tend to suffer more frequent and severe symptoms which include :

  • Foul smelling vaginal or urethral discharge.
  • Pain during passing urine.
  • Mouth or genital ulcers.
  • Itchiness at the genital area.
  • Lower abdominal pain.
  • Groin swelling.
  • Warty skin lesion.

Not all infections in the genitals are caused by STIs (for example; vaginal candidacies).

What are the common STIs?

The following are quite common:

Herpes infection (cold sore)

Can you be cured of STIs?

It is easier to prevent than to treat STIs.

Only STIs caused by bacteria may be cured.

STIs caused by viruses sometimes remain in your body forever e.g.; AIDS, herpes and HPV.

People who are sexually active should see their doctor regularly to diagnose and treat any STIs in their earlier stages.

If you have a STI it is important to inform your partner to get treatment too.

What are the complications of STIs?

STIs may cause:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
  • Infertility.
  • Ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.
  • Associated with Cervical cancer in females.
  • Transfer of infection to newborn during delivery.
  • Abortion, fetal death and deformity of the newborn.
  • Death e.g. AIDS.
Last Reviewed : 28 August 2020
Writer : Dr. Hargeet Kaur a/p Basant Singh
Reviewer : Dr. Nazhatussima bt. Suhaili