The importance of sexual health checkups

Updated: Sep 19, 2019

Sexual health is commonly regarded as a taboo topic yet one that affects our health and wellbeing. The importance of sexual health is profound and awareness needs to be raised of the evidence that shows that earlier testing will lead to faster and possibly more effective forms of treatment. Seeking tests for STIs, as with any condition, will lead to the best possible results. If you have even the slightest inkling that you may have been exposed to an STI, it is important that you get checked, as many STIs do not show symptoms due to the fact that they lay dormant. Dormant STIs often lay unchecked and unknown leading to the disease progressing meaning that treatment cab not only be more expensive but more extensive. But more importantly could have a more serious effect on your health.


Many people move or travel to Bangkok when they are quite young where it is easy to get caught up in this vibrant city that is so saturated with possibilities. Quite often when we are younger we are more complacent when it comes to using protection and being careful. However, by being safe, you save regrets further down the line. Being in a new large city is exciting and naturally people engage in sexual relationships, nevertheless, it is important to stay informed when it comes to sex. If you are worried that you may have contracted an STD it is important that you put the embarrassment aside and seek the appropriate medical attention. Even if it turns out to be nothing, it is better to be safe than sorry. Often a sexual health check is just a simple blood test or swab that produces result within a day/week.


HIV/AIDs

HIV can be spread through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex due to an exchange of bodily fluids such as semen and blood from any tissue tears. With the presence of an STD, the chance of contracting HIV increases. The highlights how important regular checkups are. There are effective anti-viral drugs that are available these days making it possible to have HIV and lead a normal full life. Therefore the common misconception that once you have contracted HIV, you’ve contracted a death sentence is simply untrue. If you are worried that you have been exposed to HIV, it is very important to seek medical attention immediately as a post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) may be able to be performed. This procedure involves taking anti-HIV drugs as soon as possible after being exposed. The time frame to perform a PEP is within 72 hours of exposure. This is before the virus has time to rapidly replicate in the body and spread. PEP consists of 2-3 antiretroviral medications which need to be taken for 28 days. PEP can be received from MedConsult Clinic. We offer PEP as well as HIV and STD testing.


Chlamydia

Chlamydia can also be a disease that you may contract and not realize. In women, chlamydia quite often doesn’t present any noticeable symptoms but can leave a woman infertile. This is what makes it such a devastating disease as it has a profound effect on you future. If Chlamydia is diagnosed early on then the disease can be treated without any long term effects. However, this relies on the immediate seeking of medical attention. Therefore, if you have even the slightest worry that you may have chlamydia, it is better to check and be wrong then leave it and have a lifetime of lasting effects. Testing for Chlamydia may either consist of taking a vaginal swab or a urine sample. . For people who are sexually active, it is important that they have STD screenings annually. This is due to the silent nature of the disease that it should be tested routinely as symptoms may not present. Living in Thailand with medical clinics on practically every corner puts us in a very fortunate position as screenings are readily available and inexpensive compared to other countries.


Herpes

Another common disease is herpes which is known to be painful and distressing for both men and women who contract it. Herpes is a viral infection meaning that antiviral treatment must be used to fight the virus. Like Chlamydia, Herpes has symptoms that can often be mistaken for skin conditions. This is misleading and people often believe they have blisters around their mouth and genitals when in fact they will break out into painful sores accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Herpes has no cure but with the anti-viral treatments that are available, the length of outbreaks is shortened significantly or even prevent them from occurring altogether.


Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is another STD which is often silent, meaning there might not be any symptoms. But when symptoms do occur, it can be described as a burning sensation when urinating, discharge from vagina or penis, anal itching and painful bowel movements. It is possible to stop the infection, but it is not possible to undo any permanent damage caused by the disease, including infertility.


Genital warts

90% of genital warts are caused by HPV 6 or 11. Treatment of genital warts should be guided by the preference of the patient; common treatments are aldara cream, duofilm, collomack, cryothereapy and curettage. In 2009, Gardasil was approved for use in males ages 9 through 26. Gardasil is used to prevent cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers and pre-cancers caused by HPV 16 and 18, as well as genital warts caused by HPV 6 and 11.


Furthermore, it doesn’t matter what kind of lifestyle you live, if you are sexually active you must make sexual health a priority. This is not only important health wise for you but also for any partners you may have. Spreading an STI to your partner without even knowing you have an STI can be devastating. To avoid this occurring, make sure you keep up to date with your annual pap smears. Also, if you suspect even in the slightest that you may need a sexual health checkup, don’t wait! The problem will only get worse the longer you wait. At MedConsult we see a variety of sexual health cases each day, each one we treat with ease and confidentiality. There is absolutely no need to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable at MedConsult Clinic, we even have a clinic downstairs for use by sexual health patients which will leave you feeling healthier and confident whilst putting your mind at ease!



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