Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
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Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are a group of infectious diseases that can be transmitted through sexual activity. These infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites and are spread to another person during physical contact in sexual encounters. STIs can lead to various symptoms, including but not limited to discomfort in the genital area, discharge, pain, itching, ulcers, fever, and more.

Itroduction

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are severe medical conditions that can have a profound impact on the sexual organs and reproductive system, and they can even spread to other organs in the body, affecting the immune system and leading to complications, including pain, infertility, and potentially life-threatening conditions. They can also be transmitted to infants through the mother during childbirth. Many STIs have subtle or even asymptomatic symptoms, especially in women, making them easy to overlook. If symptoms such as sores, blisters, frequent urination, or a burning sensation occur, seeking prompt medical attention is essential. Treatment for STIs should be followed as prescribed by a healthcare professional, and sexual partners should also undergo testing and treatment to prevent mutual transmission. It is advisable to abstain from sexual activity until the condition is entirely resolved to avoid the spread of the disease.

Types of STIs

SyphilisCaused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum, it presents with symptoms in different stages and can be transmitted through sexual contact or from mother to foetus. Untreated, it can lead to severe complications.
GonorrhoeaCaused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, common symptoms include urethral inflammation and discharge of pus. Untreated, it may lead to complications in the reproductive system.
Non-Gonococcal Urethritis/Non-Specific Genital InfectionsSymptoms are similar to gonorrhoea but milder and can be caused by various pathogens.
Genital HerpesCaused by the herpes simplex virus, it manifests as blisters and ulcers in the genital area and may recur.
Genital WartsCaused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), it forms small growths around the genital or anal area.
Pubic LiceTransmitted through sexual contact or sharing personal items, parasitic lice cause it and lead to itching in the genital area.
Chlamydial UrethritisPrimarily caused by Chlamydia, it can result in urethritis and severe complications in the reproductive system.
HIV/AIDSCaused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), it damages the immune system and can be transmitted through sexual contact, blood, and from mother to child during childbirth.

Treatments

The treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) varies depending on the specific disease:

  • Syphilis: Typically treated with antibiotics, especially Penicillin. Treatment plans are adjusted based on the stage of syphilis.
  • Gonorrhoea: Treated with antibiotics such as Cephalosporins, but there is increasing antibiotic resistance, necessitating more precise drug selection.
  • Non-Gonococcal Urethritis/Non-Specific Genital Infections: Treatment may involve antibiotics, commonly drugs like Azithromycin or Doxycycline.
  • Genital Herpes: It cannot be cured, but antiviral medications like Acyclovir can alleviate or prevent symptoms.
  • Genital Warts: Treatment options include topical medications, cryotherapy, laser therapy, or surgical removal.
  • Pubic Lice: Treated with topical solutions or cleansers containing insecticides.
  • Chlamydial Urethritis: Typically treated with antibiotics like Azithromycin or Doxycycline.
  • HIV/AIDS: Managed with Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), which cannot cure HIV but can control the virus and maintain health.

STIs & Pregnancy

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) not only affect the reproductive system, leading to infertility, but they can also impact the next generation. However, in general, circumstances, if detected and treated early, some STIs do not affect fertility or transmit to the next generation.

  • Syphilis: Currently, every pregnant woman undergoes blood testing for syphilis as part of prenatal screening conducted by the Department of Health or the Hospital Authority. Early detection of latent syphilis infection during pregnancy, followed by prompt treatment, can prevent the transmission of syphilis to the next generation, eliminating the need for induced abortion.
  • Gonorrhoea, Non-Gonococcal Genital Infections, Herpes, and Genital Warts: Correct diagnosis requires specific tests. Therefore, during pregnancy, if there is a suspicion of these STIs or sexual contact with a partner suspected of having these STIs, it is essential to inform the obstetrician or doctor in the Department of Health for further examination, early diagnosis, and treatment to ensure the health of the pregnant woman and the baby, preventing transmission.
  • HIV/AIDS: HIV can be transmitted from an infected pregnant woman to her child. Anyone who suspects HIV infection should seek counselling from a doctor and undergo HIV antibody testing before planning pregnancy.

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1331, 13th Floor, Central Building, 1-3 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong
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