Everything You Need To Know About The “it” Infections
A sexually transmitted infection spreads through sexual contact, including skin to skin contact. However, lack of proper hygiene may also aid the transmission of the infection as well, which is an aspect that is not talked about very often. Scroll down to know how to keep yourselves safe!
Um, do I have an STI?
Oftentimes so many people do not even recognize that they are suffering with an STD. This is because we tend to normalize all sorts of discomfort in our genital areas. This paired with the already non-existent conversations around sex and stigmatised doctor visits gives us a beautiful amalgamation of clueless people carrying the “it” infection.
To make your life (hopefully!) a bit easier, here we have consolidated a checklist of some possible symptoms. If you observe any of the following symptoms, you should consider paying your doctor a visit.
- Sores/bumps in oral or genital areas
- Painful urination
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Odourous/ unusual discharge from penis or vagina
- Rashes around genitals or hands/feet
(NOTE – STIs can mostly be prevented by using condoms. Also, as soon as you begin to observe any of the following symptoms you should avoid engaging in sexual activities)
Hygiene tips anyone..?
Another leading cause of STIs is unhygienic habits. Their spread can almost always be controlled by following certain precautions –
- Avoid sharing towels
- In an event where you do end up using someone else’s undergarments – including swimwear, make sure that they are thoroughly washed and dried.
- Make sure to clean genitals after intercourse
- Avoid using soaps or any whitening products in the vagina
- Menstruators should change sanitary pads 3 to 4 times a day, leaving it unchanged for a long time creates conditions for bacteria to develop
- Avoid shaving near the lower areas of the vagina especially – it acts as a protective layer near the entrance of the vulva.
- Make sure your undergarments are completely dry as well, wearing even ones that are slightly damp can promote conditions for bacterial growth.
The Way Forward
In a developing country like India especially, where living spaces are extremely crowded, people often tend to ignore genital hygiene. While contraceptives are still talked about in urban societies, conversations around how STIs relate with hygiene are still extremely scarce. This idea is then represented in our demography – with 30 million people contracting an STI each year. By informing ourselves and keeping others around us informed, we can, however, turn this statistic around!
Cover Illustration: aarp.org