– Firstly, if you are HIV-negative and on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or HIV-positive and the virus is undetectable HIV transmission is indeed very unlikely, but there are other stubborn and even dangerous sexually transmitted infections (STIs) out there that should be on your radar.
– Drug-resistant forms of the STIs chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis are on the rise, and they are not responding to antibiotic treatment as they should.
– The World Health Organisation (WHO) has noted an alarming global increase in multidrug-resistant STIs, and this is because they often go undiagnosed and are becoming more difficult to treat, with some antibiotics now failing because of misuse and overuse.
– The WHO reports that 131 million people are infected with chlamydia, 78 million with gonorrhoea, and 5.6 million with syphilis, each year.
– Many people with STIs are infectious, but they show no symptoms at all. There is often no way to tell if someone has an STI just by looking at them.
– WHO guidelines stress the importance of treating these STIs with the right antibiotic, at the right dose, and the right time to reduce their prevalence.
– Gonorrhoea is a common bacterial STI that can cause infection in the genitals, rectum, and throat. Syphilis is spread by contact with a sore on the genitals, anus, rectum, lips or mouth and chlamydia is the most common bacterial STI and people with this infection are often also infected with gonorrhoea. Symptoms of chlamydia include discharge (leaking a substance from your genitals) and a burning sensation when urinating, but most people don’t show any symptoms. Even when chlamydia displays no symptoms, it can damage the reproductive system.
– Using condoms and water-based lubricants are still a highly effective way to protect yourself and others from the spread of unwanted STIs.