Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Sexually Transmitted Infections

A sexually transmitted infection (STI), sexually transmitted disease (STD) or venereal disease (VD) is a category of diseases and infections either passed on through sexual intercourse, or caused by infections past on through intercourse, ranging from penetrative intercourse involving the vagina or anus, or oral intercourse. STIs are amongst the most widely known disease and infections.

As a matter of public awareness, STIs are some of the most widely known and generally understood diseases and disorders, in as much as large amount of information have been disseminated amongst the global population about a wide variety of these diseases and infections. STIs are perhaps the most publicised diseases and infections in the media, and have been the focus of several high profile films, books and television shows.

In recent years large efforts have been made to reduce the spread of most STIs, with campaigns on a national and global level focusing on such infections as HIV, syphilis and gonorrhoea. The World Health Organisation has undertaken a number of high profile campaigns that have seen varying but mostly positive success to tackle the spread of HIV, syphilis and other STIs.

Diagnosis and treatment of STIs varies greatly depending on the type of infection or disease a person has. STIs range in form and can be present as basterial, fungal, or viral infections, as well as parasitical and protozoal infestations. In some cases it may be as simple as observation, where in others the patient may be required to undergo noninvasive or invasive testing, blood tests, smear tests or other such tests. Culturing may also be used. Treatment can include simple courses of antiviral and antibacterial medication, topical creams or injections, or may require lifelong medication (as is the case with HIV/AIDS).

Most STIs are generally not life threatening in people with healthy immune systems, however all STIs can result in complications - even if rarely - that can lead to permanent health problems and in some cases death. HIV/AIDS is perhaps the mostly widely known and dangerous of all STIs, although other STIs should not be underestimated as matters of grave concern.

Sunday, 2 September 2012


Syphilis is a well-known sexually transmitted infection. It is primarily transmitted through sexual contact, although it may also be transmitted from an infected mother to the foetus during pregnancy (congenital syphilis). 

Syphilis is believed to have infected around 15 million people globally, with more than 90% of cases being in the developing world. Despite a decline in infection in the 1940s due to improved availability of penicillin, rates of infection have increased since 2000 which has been attributed to unsafe sexual practices, increased promiscuity, prostitution, and decreasing use of condoms.