STDs or STIs are sexually transmitted diseases/infections. The terms are interchangeable and highlight the same conditions. As the name suggests, STDs are infections almost exclusively passed on through sex, whether this be vaginal, anal or oral sex.
While there are a plethora of different infections many have no symptoms at the initial stage. Some may not exhibit symptoms for weeks to months after initial infection, which can lead to a delay in diagnosis and treatment. This can lead to spread of infections with many people being completely unaware.
The most significant contributing factor to the spread of STDs is that some have few to no symptoms. A prime example of this is Chlamydia. Many who are infected may have no symptoms (as high as 80% for women and 50% for men) and this absence of symptoms can convince people that there is nothing wrong. However, having no symptoms does not mean that you are not infectious, actually quite the opposite is true. Often when people are symptom free they are less cautious with protection during sex and are more likely to pass the infection to their partners.
To illustrate the point further, the STD prevalance in Singapore is considered among the top 5 developed countries in the world when adjusted per population. The absence of symptoms is a big contributor to this fact. So getting screened regularly even if you feel fine and have no symptoms is of paramount importance to help identify silent infections so they can be treated promptly to reduce the chance of spreading infections.
Disclaimer: We have attempted to provide full, accurate and up to date information in this blog, based on current medical evidence and opinion. However, information and advice may vary from different sources, and over time. If you have any further questions, see your doctor for a more accurate diagnosis of your concerns.
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You should consider screening if you have symptoms of a possible STD, if you have had a recent risky exposure (unprotected sex with a casual partner), or both.
Yes, you can. The common misconception is that oral sex is not considered ‘real’ sex and therfore has no risk but the opposite is true. Often oral sex is performed without protection and this is why infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea can pass on through oral sex.
Thankfully the majority can be cured but there are some such as Herpes and HIV that can be treated but not cured. This is why prevention is better than cure and ensuring safe sex goes a long way to reduce your risks.