FAQ – Sexually Transmitted Infections/Reproductive Tract Infections

Q.1 Why no reduction has been noticed in the prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infections in India even though the STD Control Programme has been in operation since 1949 ? Which activities are provided under STD Control Programmes?
Ans: Precise data about the prevalence of STIs in India is not available. However, from the limited number of studies conducted among the ‘High Risk Population’ or ‘Hospital Based Studies’, prevalence rate of STIs in has been quoted to be about five percent. Now, NACO has planned to ascertain the prevalence of STIs and also health seeking behaviour of persons suffering from this group of diseases by undertaking a country wide community based STI Prevalence Survey. STD Control Programme is based on early diagnosis and prompt treatment of STIs and relies on the health seeking behaviour of individuals with STD. Health seeking behaviour of those suffering from STDs is directly related to the stigma attached to the disease, because of which individuals with STI desire anonymity. As a result, they seek alternate source of medical aid including self-medication and only a small proportion report to public sector medical set-up. Because of this attitude and behaviour of those suffering from STIs, they continue to transmit infection to their multiple sex partners. This is the main obstacle in converting infectious pool into non- infectious. Under the STD Control Programme, the government has established STD clinics in each district hospital, all over the country. The STI drugs are provided free of cost by the Government of India and adequate confidentiality is ensured for those attending these clinics. Such clinics are managed by experts trained to treat STIs. Another major activity of STD Control Programme is Targeted Intervention under which, special facilities are made available easily to commercial sex workers, truckers, migrant workers and other marginalised segments of society. Partner notification, condom promotion and imparting IEC activities through peer-educators are the interventions organised as a part of the programme. STI management through syndromic approach has been now practiced by trained medical officers at peripheral, middle and even at tertiary levels of healthcare where adequate lab facilities are not available.

Q.2. What are STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases )?
Ans. STD are different type of diseases which one may contract during sexual contact, STD can affect both men and women.

Q.3. How are STD transmitted and how can they prevented?

  • Most important route of transmission is through vaginal , oral or anal sexual intercourse.
  • By transfusion of infected blood,
  • From infected mother to her baby during pregnancy or delivery. One can keep away from STD by avoiding multipartner sex, by correct use of condoms and by avoiding transfusion of infected blood.

Q.4. What are the most common STD?
Ans. Syphilis, chancroid, herpes progenitalis, lymphogranuloma venereum, granuloma, inguinale, gonorrhoea, non-gonococcal urethritis and venereal warts are the most common STD.

Q.5. what are Reproductive Tract Infections? How are they caused?
Ans. A group of infection caused by various micro-organism , affecting the reproductive tract, which can be caused by improper hygiene, use of unsterile instruments, many of the Reproductive Tract Infections are sexually transmitted.

Q.6. What are the symptoms of STD?
Ans. An individual infected with an STD could suffer from:

  • Genital ulcer/Genital sore.
  • Burning sensation while urination.
  • Pus discharge/white discharge per urethra
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Boils on /near the private parts
  • Itching on/near the private parts
  • Growths on the genitalia
  • Swelling in the groins
  • Fever, skin rashes
  • Lower abdominal pain.

Q.7 Why is early treatment of STD important?
Ans: High rates of STD caused by unprotected sexual activity enhance the transmission risk in the general population. Early treatment of STD reduces the risk of spread to other sexual partners and also reduces the risk of contracting HIV from infected partners. Besides, early treatment of STD also prevents infertility and ectopic pregnancies.

Q.8. What must one do if one acquires a sexually transmitted diseases?
Ans. If one acquires an STD one should immediately get treated from a qualified doctor or it can lead to serious complications. Never seek treatment from quacks. Get your sexual partner checked immediately.

Q.9. Does an untreated STD make you more vulnerable to HIV infection?
Ans. Yes, untreated STD increase your risk of acquiring HIV infection, through the genital sore which provide entry points to HIV. HIV infection is high in people with multiple sex partners.