The number of diagnoses of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in India has decreased over the last two years, mainly due to the restrictions that have taken place during the pandemic, with limited mobility and interaction between people, leading to a decrease in risky sexual relations during confinement.
There has been a reduction of close to 30% in new HIV diagnoses and a decrease of 7% in the rest of STDs, which represents a change in the trend towards an increase in the number of diagnoses that had occurred in previous years.
Despite the punctual improvement of these data, we must not relax once the restriction measures of the pandemic seem to be softened again and we must continue with the awareness and dissemination in society of the dangers of sexual relations without due protection as well as offering adequate sex education, especially among the younger population.
Main types of sexually transmitted diseases
Now, what are the main types of sexually transmitted diseases? Currently more than 20 different types of STDs are known, of which the most frequent are:
1. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
It is the most common sexually transmitted disease that exists. Most people who become infected do not have symptoms, so in most cases it goes unnoticed and only after a diagnostic test are we able to detect it. Also on some occasions you can develop warts in the genital area and can even lead to the development of cancer.
Of the more than 100 serotypes that exist, especially 2 (serotype 16 and 18), are the ones that cause most of these types of cancer. For this reason, a periodic review is important if we have had contact with people at risk or if the virus has been detected in our partner.
2. Genital herpes (HSV)
Genital herpes is caused by two different types of viruses, HSV-1 and HSV-2. It is in turn a very common disease that remains in our body throughout our lives. It is spread by skin-to-skin contact with infected areas, causing small blisters that take a few days to heal. There is no cure for this type of infection, but there are several drugs that help us reduce the number and intensity of outbreaks.
It is also one of the STDs with the highest number of diagnoses in our area. It is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia Trachomatis present in sexual fluids. It is easily cured with antibiotics, but most people with this infection have no symptoms or mild symptoms of discomfort, pain, and sometimes secretions in the urethra, so diagnosis is sometimes delayed.
Also caused by a bacterium called Neisseria Gonorrhoeae. It grows rapidly in the genital area and can infect other areas of the body and can sometimes lead to serious symptoms. The usual symptoms are usually pain when urinating and secretions in the urethra, and it is also easily treated through the use of antibiotics.
It is also caused by a bacterium, Treponema Pallidum, and usually causes ulcers in the genital area called “chancres”, which are not painful but are the areas of transmission of the disease by contact. When treated early, it does not usually leave sequelae, but if treated late it can cause permanent neurological damage.
6. AIDS (HIV)
The disease is caused by the HIV virus, which causes the destruction of certain cells of the immune system, damaging it and leaving the patient in a situation of immunosuppression, which facilitates the acquisition of serious infections that our body could otherwise fight more easily. .
Once you get infected with HIV, the virus remains in your body for life, sometimes without the patient showing any symptoms for the first few years. Today there is no cure for the virus, but there are different antiretroviral drugs that can keep the viral load low, allowing patients to maintain good health and even prevent the spread of the virus to other people.
Keep in mind that HIV and AIDS are not the same thing. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, and AIDS is the disease that the virus causes by the damage it does to the immune system. People who have HIV do not always have AIDS, if with the help of an early diagnosis and the use of appropriate drugs they manage to maintain low viral load levels, not giving the possibility of developing the disease.
Key points to remember
Despite a decrease in the incidence of STDs in the last two years, mainly motivated by the restrictions that have been carried out due to the pandemic, we should not relax, since they are diseases that are present among us and a rebound is expected. These diseases once the confinement measures are relaxed.
That is why we must always remember to have protected sex to reduce the risk of contracting any of these diseases, many of which do not have a definitive cure. Remember that the use of condoms is still one of the most effective measures to reduce the spread of most STDs.
Keep in mind that if you have had risky sexual relations, or have the suspicion of being infected with any of the STDs mentioned, it is important to go to the best sexologist in Delhi as soon as possible, who with a simple assessment will determine the presence or not of any STD and establish the recommended treatment in each case.