Sex is a wonderful thing both casual and when in a committed relationship, but no matter how pleasurable it is it can come with serious consequences. Unwanted pregnancies and unpleasant and sometimes fatal STIs.
What is an STI?
STI stands for sexually transmitted infections (also referred to as STD – sexually transmitted disease). A sexually transmitted infection is when an infection is passed from one partner to another during sex. There are many STIs, some are caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi and there are others that can happen when parasites enter or grow on your body. There is a medical treatment for many STIs, however, there are also some that can’t be treated and are incurable.
What are the symptoms of STI?
As there are many different STIs, there are also many symptoms, some of the symptoms include:
- a foul smelling discharge from the vagina, penis or anus
- pain with urination
- lumps or skin growths around the genitals or anus
- a rash in different places of the body
- unusual vaginal bleeding
- itchy genitals or anus
- blisters and sores around your genitals or anus
- warts around your genitals, anus, mouth or throat.
Can STIs Be Treated?
Almost all STIs can be treated. Medical treatment is usually antibiotics or antifungal cream. STIs, where treatment is difficult, are: AIDS, caused by the HIV virus, Herpes, which is incurable but not deadly and Hepatitis.
Do I have to tell my partner you have an STI?
Informing your partner that you have contracted an STI is your own personal choice, but there are many important reasons that you do tell them.
- You may have contracted the infection from your partner and they don’t know they have an infection. Symptoms to some diseases are asymptomatic in men.
- If you have an STI it is very probable that your partner has it too, so telling them is important so that they can get treatment and their health is not affected.
- If your partner is having intercourse with other people, then they will be spreading the infection around and infecting other people.
Telling your partner you have an STI, can be difficult and embarrassing, but you can take this opportunity to also talk about safe sex and make sure that you and your partner are protected from future STIs.
Your partner has an STI: What does this mean for you?
If your partner drops the bombshell that they have an STI, you may have different emotions: anger, confusion and fear. You will have many questions and not know what you are supposed to do. Firstly make sure you have the facts from your partner:
- What is the disease?
- How is it transmitted?
- What are the symptoms?
- How can it be prevented?
Secondly and most importantly, get tested and treated. It is important to practice safe sex whilst you are betting treated. If you are in a non monogamous relationship then it is essential that you also tell anyone else you have had intercourse with if you too have the STI.
Maintaining Self-Esteem with an STI Diagnosis
It is natural to feel upset and a little depressed after having an STI diagnosis. But these things happen, millions of people contract STIs every year. Take this opportunity to take a step back and put it into perspective.
- STIs are extremely common.
- Just because you have an STI doesn’t mean you are irresponsible.
- Couples in serious monogamous relationships can still contract STIs.
- There is no reason to feel ashamed, all sexually active people will contract an STI at least once in their lifetime.
- Any low self esteem you are feeling is down to the stigma that STIs have. Public opinion of STIs is often non-educated and out-dated. Thrush a common fungal infection that nearly all women contract at some point, through non-sexual methods, is classed as a sexually transmitted disease if it is passed from one couple to another.
- An STI doesn’t take away all of the positive attributes and qualities that define you. They are still there and you are the same person you were before the STI.
- Anyone that rejects you because of your STI is not worthy of your attention.
How do you become confident again?
Firstly, you need to forgive yourself and try to put the infection behind you, learn from your mistakes and make sure you always practice safe sex. Have a serious talk with your partner. If you are in a committed relationship and they love you, they will accept the incident as a mistake and move on.
Don’t rush things in your sexual relationships, start with small steps, buy some sexy underwear and feel good about yourself again. Rediscover the pleasure of foreplay. Just concentrate on giving and receiving pleasure and everything will be fine.