What are Sexually Transmitted Infections?
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over one million (1,000,000) Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are acquired daily worldwide, with half of these amongst those aged fifteen (15) to twenty-four (24) years. STIs, as the name suggests, are spread predominantly through sexual contact including vaginal, anal, and oral sex; as well as blood products and in pregnancy from mother to child. Sexual contact includes non-penetrative methods as well.
Figure 1: Most Common STI’s Worldwide
However, for the vast majority of persons, there are no symptoms, or the symptoms are very mild, and may not recognized as an STI.
STIs can have significant effects on reproductive health, beyond the impact and discomfort of the infection itself. These include infertility, congenital birth defects, cancer and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Therefore, if you are sexually active, you must know your STI status!
This will ensure that you remain healthy, and prevent the spread of these infections.
Figure 2: Common Symptoms of STIs
Where can I get tested?
STI Testing and counselling is available free of charge in Trinidad and Tobago. HIV Testing is available at all Health Centres, with STI Testing being done at the Queen’s Park Counselling Centre and Clinic (QPCC&C). Appointments are not necessary, and all staff are trained to maintain the utmost respect, privacy, and confidentiality. Treatment and follow up is also given free of charge. In these pandemic stricken times, these services continue, with all COVID protocols kept in place, to ensure your safety.
How can I prevent the spread of STIs?
Figure 3: Modes of Transmission and Prevention
Your sexual health is your responsibility!
Preserve the health of your sexual partner and your family!