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The Naked Truth: Real Talk About STIs!

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Hey Big Sis. Do you have any more info on STIs? There’s so much to read, and I don't know where to start!

Hey Little Sis - Yes! Let's dive deeper into these STIs. The last time we chatted, we broke down the basics.

The harsh truth is that some STIs are incurable conditions. Therefore, it’s important to get tested at least twice a year. Knowing your STI status is a power move, neh!

What Does Incurable Mean?

Okay, this part sounds scary, but we can talk through this together, chom.

Incurable means that a condition cannot be cured or healed. The affected person will have to manage it for the rest of their life. But lifelong means that there is still a life to live. You can have a full and happy sex life as well as healthy relationships if you take care of yourself and your body.

Chlamydia:

This one doesn't always have any particular symptoms but can include genital discharge (a fluid coming from the penis or vagina), pain when peeing, and pelvic pain.

Chlamydia is treated with lekker strong antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare professional.

If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, which can cause infertility (being unable to have a baby).

Gonorrhoea:

Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia have some of the same symptoms. Gonnorea is also sometimes called ‘the clap ’or ‘the drip’. Gonorrhoea patients sometimes suffer from genital discharge, pain when peeing, and pelvic pain - but it can also cause throat or rectal (butt) infections. Eina.

Treating Gonorrhoea is a bit tricky, but not impossible. Sometimes, patients don't respond to one round of antibiotics, but there are many different treatments you can try with your doctor to find what fits you!

HPV (Human Papillomavirus):

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STI. The Government of South Africa also has a vaccination program against HPV.

Its symptoms include genital warts that look like tiny cauliflowers (I know, that sounds gross), but most people with HPV don’t even know they have it until they get the symptoms. While there is no cure for HPV, the vaccination is a game-changer to ensure you don’t get it at all.

HPV is linked to cervical, vaginal, anal, and throat cancers, and the only way to find out if you have HPV is through a PAP-SMEAR scan that can be performed by nurses or doctors.

Genital Herpes:

Most people have heard of this one! Genital herpes cause painful blisters or sores in the genital area. Sjoe! The thing about herpes is that the blisters can be dormant for years. This means you can have long periods without seeing any blisters or pain. But stress, poor diet etc can cause flare-ups (the time when blisters can be seen and felt).

BUT, Genital herpes can be transmitted to sexual partners even when you have no symptoms yourself!

Pregnant women with genital herpes can pass the virus to their babies during childbirth, which can be dangerous for the newborn. Genital herpes while not curable can be easily managed with the right medications.

The Low-down On Getting Tested!

Let’s say if you do get infected, it doesn’t mean the end rather you can have a safe sex life and make sure that your partner is not affected, by regularly getting tested. You can get tested at your local clinic, most pharmacies, or a private doctor or sexual health clinic in Mzansi. Both public and private STI testing places can get busy, so it’s a good idea to make an appointment so that you know you’ll get the test you need. For a detailed deep dive, check all the test info here, gurl.

We stan an informed queen.

Till next time,
Big Sis.