STIQ Day: Understanding Sexually Transmitted Infections
The 14th of January is celebrated as STIQ day across the world. On this occasion, we answer the most commonly asked questions around and about sexually transmitted infections.
What is an STI?
STI stands for Sexually Transmitted Infections. These infections are spread from one person to another through sexual activities like vaginal and anal intercourse, oral sex, and sometimes even intimate skin-to-skin contact. Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, Herpes, HIV/ AIDS are some of the infections that fall under the category of STIs.
Does washing the genital area after sex lower the risk of becoming infected with an STI?
Washing the genital area after sex is an important and good hygiene practice, but there is no evidence that washing the genitals prevents STI. In fact, vaginal douching and using harsh soaps to clean the vagina can increase the chance of infections, as it disturbs the natural pH level of the vagina.
What are the symptoms of STIs?
The symptoms of each sexually transmitted infection differ from one another. In fact, many of these are not even visible for a long period of time. However, there are a few symptoms one must look out for. If you see any of the following symptoms, get yourself tested:
- Unexplained rashes.
- Unusual smelly discharge from the vagina/penis (not semen).
- Burning sensation during urination.
- Warts in the genital area.
How do I know if I have an STI?
Different STIs have different symptoms. There is no way to be sure about having an STI, without being tested, as many STIs don’t have obvious symptoms. However, if you and your partner are sexually active, have had multiple sexual partners, or have any of the symptoms listed above, do get yourself tested.
Is there a cure for an STI?
Some STIs are curable, some stay with you lifelong. Also, while many of them have no effect on your day to day life, some can affect your immunity, bring you pain, and even reduce your life expectancy.
Can I get an STD, if I’m a virgin?
According to the dictionary, a person who has not had sexual intercourse is known as a virgin. If you have never had sexual intercourse, but have been intimate with someone in other ways, like kissing or oral sex, you could still get an STI. It can be transferred through any form of sexual contact that involves the exchange of fluids and at times, even skin to skin contact.
How long does it take for an STI to show up?
While it varies from infection to infection, most STIs can be detected after two weeks of being caught. So, if you ever end up having unprotected casual sex, do get yourself tested after two weeks.
How can STIs be prevented?
There are many things you can do to prevent an STI. Here are a few steps that could reduce your chances of getting a sexually transmitted infection.
- Use good quality condoms when having sex. It can be great protection against many STIs.
- Avoid using too many lubes, gels, and lotions while having sex. However, if you must use one, use only a water-based lubricant from a reliable brand.
- Maintain good sexual hygiene to prevent yourself from getting infections that could increase your chances of getting an STI.
- Never share sex toys with anyone and also sanitise your sex toy before and after the act.
- Don’t use IV street drugs and never share needles. Many STDs are transmitted through blood.
If you have any other questions related to STIs, let us know in the comments below.