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AYURVED AND SEX

Silent Frontiers a word on Sexually Transmitted Diseases …a word on Sexually Transmitted Diseases …

                          Even amidst all possible modernization and spread of education…a long silence follows if a question related to Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) is raised. Lack of knowledge is emerging as a leading cause of these STDs, infections that can be transferred from one person to another through sexual contact. There are over 15 million cases of Sexually Transmitted Disease cases reported annually in our country and this problem is spreading like an epidemic with each passing day. Adolescents and young adults (15-24) are the age groups at the highest risk for acquiring STD, 3 million becoming infected each year. According to senior sexologist Dr Jai Prakash, most STDs are treatable. However, even the easily cured gonorrhea cases have now become resistant to many of the older traditional antibiotics. Other STDs, such as Herpes, AIDS, and Genital Warts, all caused by viruses, have no cure. Some of these infections are very uncomfortable, while others can be deadly. Syphilis, AIDS, Genital Warts, Herpes, Hepatitis, and even Gonorrhea have all been known to cause death. Many STDs can lead to related conditions such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Cervical Cancer and complications in pregnancy. Therefore, education about these diseases and prevention is important. Dr Prakash maintains that sexual contact has much more than just mere intercourse and it also includes kissing, oral-genital contact and the use of sexual "toys" such as vibrators. There really is no such thing as "safe" sex. The only truly safe sex is, he states and adds, sex in the context of a monogamous relationship where neither party is infected with any STD is considered "safe". A Word of Caution l The most prevalent myth among people is that kissing is a totally safe act, but the fact is that Syphilis, Herpes and other diseases can be contracted through this apparently harmless act. l Condoms are commonly thought to protect against STDs. Condoms are useful in helping to prevent certain diseases, such as HIV and Gonorrhea. However, they are a less effective protection against Herpes, Trichomoniasis and Chlamydia. Condoms provide little protection against HPV, the cause of Genital Warts. Chlamydia Caused by bacteria, this disease spreads through vaginal and anal sex. No symptoms come to fore, around 75% of cases in women and 25% of cases in men are without symptoms. General signs include abnormal genital discharge and burning during urination, in both men and women. The latter may also experience lower abdominal pain or pain during intercourse while the former may experience swelling or pain in the testicles. However, infection can be cured with antibiotics but damage caused prior to treatment cannot be undone. If untreated in women, up to 30% will experience Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which in turn often leads to ectopic pregnancy, infertility and chronic pelvic pain. In men, if untreated, Chlamydia can cause epididymitis, an inflammation of testicles (where sperm are stored), which may result in sterility. Infected individuals are at a greater risk of contracting HIV if exposed to the virus. Abstaining from vaginal and anal sex with an infected person is the only 100% effective means of prevention. Latex condoms can reduce but not eliminate the risk of contracting the disease. Gonorrhea Caused by bacteria, it spreads through vaginal, anal or oral sex. In some cases of infection, the patient may be asymptomatic. When symptoms do appear, they are often mild and usually appear within 2-10 days after exposure. The symptoms include discharge from the penis, vagina or rectum and burning or itching during urination. Infection can be cured with antibiotics. However, it cannot undo the damage done prior to treatment. Untreated in women, the disease is a major cause of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. It can also lead to Ectopic pregnancy, infertility and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). It can cause sterility in men. Untreated Gonorrhea can infect the joints, heart valves and / or the brain. Gonorrhea can cause blindness and systemic diseases such as Meningitis and Septic Arthritis in infants infected during delivery. To prevent blindness, all newborns delivered in hospitals have their eyes treated with medication specific for Gonorrhea. Abstaining from vaginal, anal and oral sex with an infected person is the only 100% effective means of prevention. Latex condoms can reduce but not eliminate the risk of contracting the disease during sex. Hepatitis B (HBV) Caused by Virus, it is transmitted through vaginal, oral and especially anal sex; sharing contaminated drug needles; piercing the skin with contaminated instruments such as those used in dental and medical procedures; receiving contaminated blood or blood products through transfusions. About one-third of people with HBV are asymptomatic. When symptoms are present they include fever, headache, muscle-aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea. Symptoms of liver involvement include dark urine, abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin and the eyes. There is no known cure. Most infections clear up by themselves within 4-8 weeks. Some individuals become chronically infected. For those individuals who are chronically infected, the disease can lead to cirrhosis of liver, liver cancer and immune system disorders. Pregnant women can transmit the disease to their unborn children. Some 90% of infants infected at birth become chronic carriers and are at risk of liver disease and liver cancer. They are also capable of transmitting the virus. Infants of infected mothers can be given immunoglobulin and vaccinated at birth, potentially eliminating the risk of chronic infection. Abstaining from sex with an infected person, especially anal sex, where body fluids, blood, semen or vaginal secretions are likely to be exchanged, is the only 100% effective means of preventing the sexual transmission of Hepatitis B. Latex condoms can reduce but not eliminate the risk of contracting the disease during sex. Avoid illicit I.V. drug use and sharing drug needles. Discuss with Health Care Providers the precautions that are required to be taken to avoid transmission of Hepatitis B, especially when receiving blood products or blood transfusions. A vaccine is available and is recommended for those at risk of contracting Hepatitis B. Genital Herpes (HSV-2) Herpes is spread by direct sexual skin-to-skin contact with the infected site during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Another strain of the virus, Herpes Simplex Type 1 (HSV-1) is most commonly spread by nonsexual contact and usually causes sores on the lips. However, HSV-1 can also be transmitted through oral sex and can cause genital infections. Symptoms are often very mild and may include an itching or burning sensation, pain in the legs, buttocks or genital area or vaginal discharge. Blisters or painful open sores may appear, usually in the genital area, buttocks, anus and thighs, although they can erupt anywhere. Sores heal after several weeks but may recur. There is no known cure. An anti-viral drug is usually effective in reducing the frequency and duration of HSV-2 outbreaks. An infected person with sores present has an increased risk that exposure to HIV will lead to infection because the sores provide an entry point for the AIDS virus. Abstaining from vaginal, anal and oral sex with an infected person is the only 100% effective means of preventing the sexual transmission of Genital Herpes. Latex condoms can reduce but not eliminate the risk of contracting the disease during sex. However, it is still possible to contract Genital Herpes, even though using a condom, via sores in the genital area. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Painless, fleshy, cauliflower-like Warts develop on and inside the genitals, anus and throat. There is no known cure of Human Papilloma. Warts can be suppressed by chemicals, freezing, laser therapy and surgery. HPV is the virus that causes Genital Warts. Some strains of the virus are strongly associated with cervical cancer as well as cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis and anus. In fact, HPV is the cause of more than 90 percent of all cervical cancers, which kills about 5,000 American women every year. Infants exposed to the virus in the birth canal can develop Warts in the throat, which can obstruct the airway and must be removed. Abstaining from vaginal, anal and oral sex with an infected person is the only 100% effective means of prevention. Condoms provide almost no protection against contracting the disease during sex. Syphilis It is caused by “Treponema Pallidum” bacteria. The most common way of contracting Syphilis disease is through vaginal, anal or oral sex. However, it can be spread by non-sexual contact if the sores (Chancres) rashes or mucous patches caused by syphilis come in contact with the broken skin of a non-infected individual. In the initial phase, the disease produces painless sores or "Chancres" that usually appear on the genitals but can appear anywhere on the body. If untreated, the disease progresses to other stages of infection, which include a rash, fever, sore throat, hair loss and swollen glands throughout the body. The disease can be cured with penicillin; however, damage done to body organs cannot be reversed. If untreated, Syphilis may cause serious damage to the heart, brain, eyes, nervous system, bones & joints, and can lead to death. A person with active Syphilis has an increased risk that exposure to HIV will lead to infection because the sores (Chancres) provide an entry point for the AIDS virus. If untreated, a pregnant woman will usually transmit the disease to the fetus. Stillbirth and death within the neonatal period occur in 25% of these cases. 40-70% deliver an infant with active Syphilis. If undetected, damage may occur to the infant's heart, brain and eyes. Abstaining from vaginal, anal and oral sex with an infected person is the only 100% effective means of preventing the sexual transmission of Syphilis. It is still possible to contract Syphilis, despite using a condom, via sores in the genital area. It is also important to avoid non-sexual physical contact with the infectious sores (Chancres), rashes or mucous patches caused by Syphilis. Trichomoniasis It is caused by a protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis. Trichomoniasis is the most common curable STD in young, sexually active women. An estimated 5 million new cases occur each year in women and men. It spreads through sexual contact. Trichomania can also survive on infected objects such as wash-clothes and could possibly be transmitted by sharing those objects. Excessive, foamy, diffuse, yellow-green vaginal discharge is common in women. Difficultly or pain on urination and / or intercourse is common. There may be vaginal pain and itching or there may be no symptoms at all. Men may experience inflammation of the urethra, glans or foreskin, and / or lesions on the penis but most infected men have no symptoms. The disease can be cured with antibiotics. Sex partners should also be treated. The genital inflammation caused by Trichomoniasis might also increase a woman's risk of acquiring HIV infection if she is exposed to HIV. Trichomoniasis in a woman who is also infected with HIV can increase the chances of transmitting HIV infection to her sex partner. Abstaining from vaginal sex with an infected person is the only 100% effective means of preventing the sexual transmission of Trichomoniasis. Latex condoms and other similar barrier devices can reduce but not eliminate the risk of contracting the disease during sex. Avoid sharing towels and wash-clothes with others to prevent non-sexual transmission of the disease.




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