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Symptoms to look out for if you have unprotected sexual encounters [READ]

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Dayo Ojerinde 

A Public health expert, Dr Funmilade Oyebade, has said men and women who have unprotected sexual encounters are at the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.

The expert, in an interview with our correspondent, listed signs and symptoms to look out for between three days and three months after having unprotected sexual encounters.

He said, “If you are sexually active, you are at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.

“It is possible for someone with an STI to not show any symptoms and still pass it on to their partner.While it is important to practice safe sex,it is not a foolproof guarantee against STIs.”

The expert listed some symptoms commonly seen in men and women who have contracted STIs;

STI symptoms in females

– Burning sensation with urination (chlamydia, Gonorrhea,  and trichomoniasis) can be the root cause.

However burning without urination might be urinary tract infection.

– Unusual vaginal dischargeWhen you’re ovulating, discharge usually appears clear. Before your period starts, discharge may behave a yellow tinge and be thick. However, discharge with itching, redness, swelling, pelvic pain, or bad smell. (likely trich,chlamydia or Gonorrhea)

-Abnormal vaginal bleeding

Bleeding when it is not that time of the month or after sex could be alarming and might be

an STI( HPV could affect the cervix, which can cause bleeding after sex). Sometimes bleeding accompanied with pain from an STI tends to be described as spotting.

-Vaginal pain during sex

Herpes can lead to painful intercourse. Lesions in your vagina and cervix can cause those lesions to become irritated and inflamed.
In some cases, genital warts can be flat or bumpy and look like cauliflower. Also, itchy and uncomfortable.

– Pelvic pain( chlamydia and Gonorrhea increase your risk of pelvic inflammatory disease if untreated).

Timing of STI symptoms

Chlamydia: Symptoms can show up several weeks after infection.

Gonorrhea: symptoms may develop between 1- 14 days after infection.

Herpes: 2-12 days

According to the World Health Organisation, “More than 1 million curable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide in people 15–49 years old, the majority of which are asymptomatic.”

According to the WHO, here are some key facts on STIs:

1. In 2020 there were are an estimated 374 million new infections in people 15–49 years with 1 of 4 curable STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis.
2. An estimated 8 million adults between 15 and 49 years old were infected with syphilis in 2022.
3. More than 500 million people aged 15–49 years are estimated to have a genital infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV or herpes).
4. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is associated with over 311 000 cervical cancer deaths each year.
5. 1.1 million pregnant women were estimated to be infected with syphilis in 2022, resulting in over 390 000 adverse birth outcomes.
6. STIs have a direct impact on sexual and reproductive health through stigmatization, infertility, cancers and pregnancy complications and can increase the risk of HIV.
7. Drug resistance is a major threat to reducing the burden of STIs worldwide

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