If you’ve beenfollowing me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen my post about a Post-Graduate Course in Dermatology that I attended a few weeks ago. It was actually a lecture series covering various topics — one of which I think is a very relevant issue, the infamous sexually transmitted infection. We know that Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach is an advocate of HIV-AIDS awareness, hence writing this blog post makes me feel like a legit beauty queen as well. Haha! You know I had that pageant stint when I was a kid, right? I was a chubby girl and I won the crown, how about that? Haha
The lecture was entitled “Skeletons Under the Blanket” (because having this type of infection is something people are not proud of). The speakers were dermatologists Dr Francisca Roa and Dr Winlove Mojica, who are also experts in sexually transmitted diseases. You may be wondering why there’s an overlap in these two specializations. This is because most sexually transmitted diseases present with signs involving the skin, i.e. warts, ulcers.
The lecture was presented in a question and answer manner, like a talk show. It was a nice and lively approach if you ask me. Please excuse the quality of the photo. Trust me, I used the maximum zoom capability of my phone.
Without further chika, here are the things EVERYONE MUST KNOW about sexually transmitted infections (note that these were mostly lifted from the said discussion):
1) Aside from HIV, what are the worst sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that a Filipino can have?
- Herpes (cause by the Herpes simplex virus)
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), because it is non-treatable, with recurrence of symptom like genital warts, and it can cause cancer (like cervical and vaginal cancer in women and penile cancer in men — yes, the penis).
- Syphilis (caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum)
- Hepatitis B and C viral infections
2) Are sexually promiscuous people the only ones who can get STIs?
NO! STIs do not discriminate based on race, social class, age, or sex/gender. Anybody who has had sex (once, twice, or a thousand times) can get STIs.
3) Can I get an STI through oral sex?
Yes. “Oral sex can be dangerous; don’t be fooled.” The bacteria or virus can enter through your oral mucosa (the surface inside your mouth or oral cavity). Kissing can also be a way to transmit the infection.
4) I don’t have any symptom, no skin signs at all. Does this automatically mean that I am negative for STI?
No. Although HIV presents with chracteristic skin signs, other STIs are asymptomatic (the person feels normal, the skin looks totally normal).
5) If I suspect myself to have STI, what should I tell my doctor?
Just be honest to your doctor. He/she vowed to patient secrecy and confidentiality. Initially, a thorough history and physical examination would be done. Lab tests would then be requested. If you consulted a primary care physician, he/she may refer you to a specialist.
6) How can I avoid STIs?
There are many ways but the most effective would be ABSTINENCE. NO SEX. Also, choose your partner wisely. If you cannot not have sex, then use condoms CORRECTLY — check the packet for damage, do not use your teeth or sharp objects to tear the package, and make sure to put it on an erect penis.
More cases of sexually transmitted infections are detected each day while many are still left undiagnosed and untreated. Hopefully, people would be more responsible for their own good, as well as their partner’s.
You might be a virgin, a sexually promiscuous person, or somewhat in between, there’s no judging here. Knowledge is power, and sharing is caring!