Risk Factors in Contracting an STD

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) are infections passed by intimate encounters. Symptoms include vaginal or urethral discharge, sores, itching, painful intercourse,a burning sensation during urination, ulcers and warts.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) are of two types: viral and non-viral. Common viral STD include herpes, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, human papilloma virus (HPV); non-viral STD, chlamydia, gonorrhea and chlamydia). The sexual lifestyle of different people exposes them to different degrees of risk in contracting STD. Some of the major risk factors are explained below.

1. Having unprotected sexA condom is not a guarantee that you will not contract STD but it reduces its risk considerably. Condoms used with spermicide are even more effective than condoms alone.

2. Multiple PartnersThe more sex partners a person has, the higher the risk of being exposed to STD. Therefore having sex with a person who has had multiple partners is riskier than with a person who has been monogamous.

3. Being a womanWomen are at a higher risk of contracting STD than men because of the anatomical differences in the sex organs.

4. Having sex at an early ageTeenage women are more likely to be infected with STDs than older people. As their bodies are smaller, their genital organs are more likely to experience tear during intercourse. Younger people are also less likely to use condoms.

5. Alcohol-drinkersAlcohol-drinkers may lose their inhibitions, and be less discriminating in their choice of sex partners. Drunkenness may render a person unable to make a sound judgment on condom use.

6. Use of illicit drugsPeople who are under the influence of illicit drugs are more likely to engage in dangerous sexual behaviours. Furthermore, sharing needles in injecting drugs is a transmission channel of blood-borne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C.

7. Trading sex for drugsPeople who trade sex for drugs are often powerless to demand safe sex. Their partners are also riskier than people in the general population.

8. Close contact with a community with a high prevalence of STDsCertain foreign workers have a high infection rate of gonorrhoea and syphilis as compared to local women. Therefore, you are more likely to be exposed to an STD any time you have sex with a certain foreigner.

9. Serial MonogamySerial monogamy means a history of intimate encounters with several people consecutively over a long period of time. The danger lies in the false illusion that their “exclusive” sexual relationship is safe, and does not require safe sex precautions.

10. Having an STDHaving one STD makes a person more prone to infection by other STDs. An ulcer, blister or sore serves as an entrance for another pathogen.

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