Tips to avoid and fight sexual health diseases in men and women
By being informed about sexually transmitted diseases and taking steps to protect oneself, one can help reduce the spread of STDs and improve overall sexual health. Here are a few tips for both men and women to fight sexual health diseases
While it is important for people to be aware of AIDS and take necessary precautions to avoid it, it also becomes important for people to know about their overall sexual health, which means being aware of different sexually transmitted diseases, how they are contracted and how to protect oneself from them. There are a variety of STDs and some of them can be deadly if left untreated hence, it is important to be screened for STDs on a regular basis and to get treatment if necessary.
In addition, it is important to practice safe sex, which includes using condoms during sexual activity and also important to know about different methods of contraception, as well as how to have healthy and safe sex. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Yajvender Pratap Singh Rana, Associate Director- Urology and Uro Oncology at BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital, explained, “Sexual health diseases are a full spectrum of diseases including disorders of sexual desire, sexual dysfunction and sexually transmitted infection and they are interrelated.”
Insisting that positive sexuality is a measure of the overall health status of an individual, be it physical health or emotional health, he said, “The first and foremost tip to avoid sexual health diseases is to control your sexual emotions and be aware of the risk of being casual in your sexual acts. Prevention is the key to sexual happiness.” He suggested these tips to avoid STD infection:
- Have a single partner and a stable sexual relationship.
- Use a latex condom (male or female condoms) at the time of having vaginal /oral sex.
- Avoid any unnatural sexual activity, it may give genital trauma, and the risk of infection is high.
- Delay having a sexual relationship as long as possible. Physical maturity is not the criteria for starting a sexual activity in teens. Wait for mental and emotional sexual maturity. The younger a person is when they start to have sex for the first time, the more susceptible they are to getting various sexually transmitted infections or probably other sexual health and relationship problems.
- Get vaccinated: Vaccines are available to help protect against hepatitis B and the human papillomavirus. HPV vaccines are given at age of 11-12 years.
- Don't mix the two, like there is a warning don't drink and drive, it's equally applicable don't drink and have sex as under the influence it is difficult to control sexual behaviour.
- Don't hesitate to discuss your issues with the doctor because early use of post-exposure prophylaxis can prevent you from getting infected.
According to him, the signs and symptoms that might indicate an STI are:
- Sores or bumps on the genital/oral area
- Painful urination in women
- An unusual smelly vaginal discharge or itching in the vagina
- Painful colitis
- Discharge from the penis
If one develops any of these symptoms after sexual intercourse please consult a doctor.
Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr Sarika Gupta, Senior Consultant, Oncology and Robotic Gynecology at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi, elaborated, “Sexually transmitted infections are spread by sexual contact between people. In the current times, the spread of STIs is very common and can be easily spread. In the 21st century, STIs can be treated and cured completely. However, it can be prevented. Any patient, post coming into sexual contact with another person, has an equal risk of getting infected with an STI. Research states that STIs can infect other people via coming in through contact with skin, genitals, mouth, rectum, and body fluids. STI can also be infected via contact through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.”
Following are some tips that she advised can help avoid sexual health diseases:
- Avoid sexual contact if the person is carrying some symptoms
- Use of latex or polyurethane condom during vaginal, oral, or anal sex can help reduce the risk of infection.
- Both partners should get vaccinated which will help protect against hepatitis B, and human papillomavirus (HPV).
- Avoid sharing towels
- Wash before and after intercourse.
By being informed about sexual health, people can make better choices about their sexual activity and protect themselves from both HIV and other sexual health diseases. Nilay Mehrotra, Founder and CEO of Kindly, revealed, “According to data released by the National AIDS Control Organization, unprotected sexual contact was the cause of the HIV infection of over 17 lakh people in the nation over the course of the previous ten years. HIV targets the immunological system of the body. AIDS can develop from HIV if it is not treated. Contact with contaminated blood, semen, or vaginal secretions can spread the virus. There is no cure for HIV, however, it can be controlled with the right medical attention. There are many resources available to help people learn about sexual health, and it is important to take advantage of them. By being informed about STDs and taking steps to protect oneself, one can help reduce the spread of STDs and improve overall sexual health.”
He too added to the list of tips for both men and women to fight sexual health diseases and asserted -
- Practice safe sex: While sex gives us the required pleasure, it is important for both men and women to use protection. It is advised to use condoms to reduce the chances of any transmission of STDs.
- Maintain sexual hygiene: Regarding safe sex practices, sexual hygiene is very crucial. Women should wash their intimate areas from the front to the back. Men also need to be careful when washing their foreskins. To avoid embarrassment, practice good hygiene, wash your hands before having sex, take care of your mouth, control body odour, and pass urine both before and after having sex.
- Limiting the number of sexual partners: The likelihood of having a partner with uncontrolled HIV or a sexually transmitted disease increases with the number of partners you have (STD). These two elements both have the potential to raise HIV risk.
- Ensure medical hygiene: Never exchange needles, syringes, or other injection tools for drugs. Every time you administer an injection, use fresh, clean syringes and equipment. However, not injecting drugs is the best way to prevent getting HIV.
- Stop smoking and consuming alcohol: When you have HIV, alcohol affects your immune system even more. It can make your symptoms worse and make you feel weak. Additionally, it may conflict with the HIV treatment drugs you are taking. It may impair your thinking and capacity to make sound decisions, which may result in harmful behaviours like unsafe sex. Additionally, studies show that smokers with HIV have shorter lifespans, a poorer response to HIV treatment, and a higher risk of developing AIDS.
- Get yourself tested: One of the best methods to prevent sexual health diseases is to get tested. Ensure to get your partner tested before having sex to prevent HIV. It is also important to ensure getting tested for overall sexual health. The tests could include erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, libido, semen test, fertility test, PCOS test, and more.