Sexually Transmitted Infections are something we all know about but don’t like discussing. Whether you have an itch you can’t scratch or a burning sensation, suffering from an STI isn’t fun. The problem is that those symptoms don’t always show up.
With some of the most common STIs, symptoms can be slow to appear, if they show at all. That can lead to people spreading them without even knowing they had one. It’s an unfortunate accident but one that happens sometimes.
Stress Free Health Testing is an online testing clinic and they have looked into the average monthly search volumes for STIs in the US. The number of searches doesn’t equate to how many people are suffering from them, but it’s certainly a good indication.
The top 3 STIs that you are most likely to contract?
Research suggests that the STIs that people search for the most are chlamydia, herpes, and gonorrhea. With so many people searching for them, you can assume that plenty of people are contracting them.
All three of these STIs either rarely cause symptoms, or if they do, they can take months or years to appear. That can mean that not only are people spreading them unknown, but they might not know they have one for a while. Researching these STIs can be a first step to then going and getting a diagnosis.
What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is the most searched for STI in the US and likely the most common too. It is an STI that is rampant across the world, but it’s rarely dangerous if treated. The treatment is straightforward, but it should not be left alone.
Around one million people in the US search for chlamydia every month. They may be searching for treatment or symptoms. They may even be searching only out of curiosity. What they will find is that the majority of people don’t develop symptoms. If they do, the symptoms are a pain when urinating or unusual discharge from the genitals. They may also experience swelling in the testicles or bleeding between periods.
If you suffer from these symptoms, make sure you get tested either by your doctor or a sexual health clinic.
As many people do not get symptoms, it can be hard to tell. If you have any form of unprotected sex or even touch genitals with someone with chlamydia, you can catch it. It is more common in people under the age of 25, and women under that age are prone to catching it several times. If a woman gets chlamydia when pregnant, it can pass on to the child. If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to infertility in both men and women.
Fortunately, chlamydia can be treated with a round of antibiotics. If you’re under the age of 25 and have caught it, you will be more prone to catching it again, so get a second STI test a few months after you were cleared. You should have an STI test at least once a year or every time you have a new or casual sexual encounter.
What is herpes?
Genital herpes is one form of herpes that you can develop. Both forms of herpes come from the same virus. If someone with a cold sore has oral sex with someone, you can catch herpes. Due to where the cold sore touches, this will now be genital herpes. Around 673,000 people a month have searched for herpes a month.
Genital herpes is the STI on this list that is most likely to show symptoms. Yet, these symptoms can take months or even years to show. Herpes takes the form of small blisters around the genitals, which burst to leave open sores. These will be very uncomfortable, and you may also experience pain when you urinate.
If you’re showing symptoms, then people will know that have herpes. However, if you don’t show symptoms, you can still pass it on. Even if you don’t show the symptoms very quickly, whoever you pass it onto might. Like with chlamydia, you should get regular STI tests to ensure that you aren’t passing herpes.
There is no treatment for herpes, and they will go away on their own, but sexual health clinics can help by providing creams or medicines to help with the pain.
If you have herpes or think you do, avoid having sex until after you have had a test. If you have herpes, avoid having sex again until the infection is out of your system.
What is gonorrhoea?
Gonorrhoea is a bacterial STI that can be found in semen and vaginal fluid. It is spread through unprotected sex as well as sharing sex toys. It’s easily spread as very few people show symptoms. Around 550,000 Americans search for gonorrhoea on average per month.
The symptoms of gonorrhoea can include thick green or yellow fluid from the vagina or the penis. Other symptoms include pain when peeing and bleeding between periods. Only one in ten men and half of the women show these symptoms.
If you develop gonorrhoea, it can affect the cervix, the urethra, the rectum, and even the throat or eyes. It is very uncomfortable, and if you’re pregnant can even lead to blindness in your baby.
When left untreated, gonorrhoea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease in women. That can make it difficult for the eggs to travel from the ovaries to the womb. In turn, that can make it more difficult for women to get pregnant. It can be treated, but it can also lead to long-term damage. In men, untreated gonorrhoea can lead to infections in the prostate. However, in both men and women, worse things can happen. The bacteria that cause gonorrhoea can get into the bloodstream. When in the bloodstream, it can travel around the body and cause sepsis. That means that gonorrhoea can be deadly, so if you are at all worried that you may have contracted it, get an STI test.
Gonorrhoea can be treated with an antibiotic shot, and the symptoms should go away within a few days. If you are getting treatment, avoid having sex until after the infection has cleared. It’s advised that you get a second STI test several weeks after you have been treated.
How do you avoid catching an STI?
No one wants to catch an STI. The majority of us try to be safe, but sometimes things happen. If you wish to avoid catching an STI, you should avoid having unprotected sex. Whether you’re having vaginal, oral, or anal sex, there are protective aids out there. If you’re in a relationship and wish to have unprotected sex, make sure that you and your partner have an STI test. They could have been infected with an STI from before they met you, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Another thing you should make sure to do is to try and not share sex toys. If you do wish to, then you should use a condom. That can prevent fluids and STIs from being spread. You should also make sure to clean them after use.