Whilst there are loads of great benefits to having sex, there is also the more serious side including sexually transmissible infections (STIs).
STIs are infections that can be passed on from one person to another during sex. The most common STIs in Australia are:
Caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV1 or HSV2), the virus can be spread during vaginal, oral or anal sex. Cold sores on the mouth can cause genital infection during oral sex.
Caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), condoms reduce the risk of HPV transmission and an effective vaccine is available. The types of HPV that cause visible genital warts do not progress to cervical cancer. Treatment removes the visible wart, but not the virus.
A STI that can affect women and men, if left untreated, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, which can lead to chronic pain and infertility. Chlamydia may have no symptoms. It can be easily treated with antibiotics.
Caused by the organism trichomonas vaginalis, vaginal discharge may be accompanied by burning and itching. Men usually do not develop symptoms, but they may be the carriers of the infection.
Affecting both men and women, Gonorrhoea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility in women. It may not cause symptoms in women. Symptoms in men may include a burning sensation while passing urine. Gonorrhoea can be treated with antibiotics.
A viral infection that causes liver inflammation and can lead to serious illness or death, it is spread through unsafe sex and other activities where blood or body fluids are exchanged. Immunisation is the best way to reduce the risk of infection.
Easily treated, Syphilis may have no symptoms, so regular sexual health check-ups are recommended for people at risk. Currently, these include men who have sex with men (MSM), and people who have sex in countries where there are high rates of syphilis.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV is spread in a number of ways including having sex without a condom, and sharing needles and other injecting equipment. Early testing for HIV helps people to stay healthy and reduces the spread of infection in the community. There is no vaccine or cure for HIV or AIDS, but medication can manage HIV-related illnesses and AIDS.
Many STIs have no obvious symptoms, so a person can often have an STI without knowing it. A person with an STI may look and feel perfectly healthy.
While some infections appear to go away without treatment, they actually stay active in the body (eg. in the bloodstream or lining of your throat, cervix or anus). This means that you can pass an STI onto other sexual partners and even your baby without knowing that you are infected.
Generally, the symptoms of STIs can include:
- unusual discharge from the penis, vagina or anus
- pain during sex or urination
- sores, blisters, ulcers, warts or rashes in the genital area
- itchiness or irritation in the genital area
- persistent diarrhoea
- fever or flu-like symptoms
- abnormal or unusual vaginal bleeding, especially after having sex
- pain in the scrotum or testicles
- lumps and bumps on the genitals.
These symptoms have many causes and do not necessarily mean you have an STI. However, many STIs have no obvious symptoms.
If you have unprotected sex with a person who has an STI, you are at high risk of catching that infection. It is recommended that you talk to your doctor or sexual health service about having a check-up if you have had unsafe sex, even if you do not have any signs or symptoms of an STI.
Source: Better Health Channel, QLD Health
If you become concerned about your health, please seek immediate medical attention or go to our health hotlines and website post for further resources https://www.stayathomemum.com.au/my-kids/babies/important-hotlines-websites/
SAHM takes no responsibility for any illness, injury or death caused by misuse of this information. All information provided is correct at time of publication.
Krissy Hacker is a wife and SAHM of 2, expecting a 3rd whose arrival is eagerly awaited so she can return to drinking wine.