Sexually transmitted diseases or STDs are a public health problem caused by the transmission of bacteria, viruses and other parasites. While some of the diseases are treatable using antibiotics, some such as HIV infection are not curable and can be fatal. Therefore, prevention of STD infection is the most important factor in managing these infections.
The interventions for preventing the spread of STDs depend on several sociocultural factors such as culture, age, employment, education, religion and gender. These factors can influence sexual conduct and therefore spread of the infections. Some of the main prevention approaches include:
Abstinence: One of the best ways to prevent transmission of STDs is to avoid sexual contact with other individuals.
Barrier contraceptives: Contraceptives such as condoms provide a barrier against the contraction of STDs from an infected individual. Condoms, however, need to be used correctly to prevent transmission. Used condoms must be removed and disposed of appropriately to prevent spread.
Sexual health checks: Attending a sexual health screen before engaging in sexual contact with a partner helps to prevent new cases of infection. Checking is also needed before resuming sexual relations if a partner has engaged in contact with someone else. This may not always be a foolproof method since many infections may go undetected at certain periods of time.
Vaccination: Examples of important vaccines now available are those offering protection against hepatitis B and some strains of human papilloma virus (HPV).
Nonoxynol-9: This is a spermicidal and microbicidal agent used to lubricate condoms that can kill some of the local vaginal microbes. However, the compound is not completely protective against all STDs.
The treatment of STDs depends on the causative organism. Treatment is essential to prevent long-term complications. Some of the main points to ensure in treating STDs include: