Venereal diseases are those diseases that can be transmitted during sexual activities of various kinds. For this reason they are also known as STD, an acronym for Sexually Transmitted Diseases. This category also includes pathologies that – although normally acquired in different ways (parenterally, orofecally, etc.) – can be transmitted sporadically or occasionally through sexual contact.
Around the middle of the last century, in the most industrialized countries, the improved socio-economic conditions and the post-war therapeutic achievements have greatly reduced the incidence of the classic venereal diseases (syphilis, gonorrhea, etc.), to the point of suggesting their gradual disappearance in the years to come. Subsequently, however, the group of sexually transmitted diseases has gradually emerged and enriched with pathologies of different characteristics compared to those previously known. On the one hand, in the developing countries there has been a spread of the most feared venereal disease, AIDS, while on the other hand, in more industrialized nations sexual promiscuity and globalization have helped to keep attention focused on this problem , which – far from being solved – continues to absorb huge financial resources for public health each year.
Currently, the group of venereal diseases recognizes over 30 different etiological agents, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. Among these, only some microorganisms are transmitted mainly by sexual contact:
- Neisseria gonorrhea: bacterium responsible for gonorrhea (also called drain or blenorragia);
- Treponema pallidum: bacterium responsible for syphilis;
- Chlamydia trachomatis: bacterium responsible for urethritis, cervicitis and pelvic inflammatory disease;
- Trichomonas vaginalis: flagellated protozoan (unicellular organism) responsible for trichomoniasis;
- HPV (Human Papilloma Virus): some types (16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58) can cause cervical cancer, while other strains are responsible for the condylomata acuminata;
- Papilloma virus is another of the most widespread sexually transmitted diseases, but it can be prevented by a special vaccine. The efficacy and safety of the HPV vaccine has recently been confirmed. In Australia, after an extensive vaccination campaign in the decade between 2005 and 2015, the rate of HPV among women aged 18-24 has increased from 22.7% to 1.1% “.It is recalled that it is precisely the papilloma virus that increases the risk of contracting even serious diseases such as cancer of the uterine cervix, vulva and vagina, tumors of the anus, penis and oral cavity.
- HSV (Herpes Simplex Virus): some types (one and in particular the two) are responsible for genital herpes.
- The infection occurs during sexual intercourse of various kinds (genital, oro-penile, oro-vaginal, anal) with direct contact of infected fluids, such as sperm, vaginal secretions and blood lost from small lesions. Particularly risky is anal coitus, often responsible for modest lacerations that become entry gates for germs. As far as petting is concerned, there is a certain risk of transmission in case of contact of the genitals or ejaculation in the vicinity of them.
- Some microorganisms responsible for specific venereal diseases are instead transmitted with a certain frequency both by sexual means and by parenteral route; this is the case, for example, of AIDS and hepatitis B virus, both common in some categories of drug addicts. In addition to the exchange of syringes, these venereal diseases can also be transmitted through the mixed use of razors or not-sterilized cutting objects (for example for surgery or tattoos).
- Other microorganisms recognize predominantly non-sexual modes of infection; this is the case, for example, of the hepatitis A virus, the Shigella, Campylobacter and Salmonella bacteria, as well as of the parasites Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium, all transmitted mainly via fecal gold (ingestion of contaminated food), but also during sexual intercourse of oro-anal and genito-anal nature (including sharing sex toys that are not adequately sterilized or protected by a condom). Cytomegalovirus and Epstein barr virus can be transmitted both through sexual contact and through a simple kiss (saliva is a vehicle of infection).
In general, therefore, the etiological agents responsible for venereal diseases recognize different modes of transmission which, although rarely, can also include the promiscuous use of underwear, towels or infected toilet articles. Outside of very few exceptions (we have seen mononucleosis for the kiss), venereal diseases are not transmitted by kissing another person, much less by drinking from the same glass or shaking her hand; the use of public sanitary ware is generally considered a low-risk practice, since most of the microorganisms responsible for venereal diseases do not survive long outside the body.
Unfortunately, over the recent years sexually transmitted infections have been on the rise inside of Australia.
In recent studies, in the past decade, the cases of syphilis have gone triple fold and chlamydia has been increased by 43 per cent.
The reasoning for these is increases in online dating and better testing, which will be discussed further inside of this article
Starting with the first reason given, online dating has had a major effect on sexually transmitted infections in Australia because dating has gone digital. Since dating has gone digital, apps like Tinder and others encourage casual sex way more than before it was so easy to meet and hook up with strangers over the internet. Given that it is much easier to have sexual relations with strangers, it is much more likely for people to have unsafe sex because they are either uneducated or just do not care because, usually, people have sex with people that they trust so they do not realize the difference when it is with the stranger.
When having sex with a stranger or someone you do not fully trust, always wear a condom!
This prevents you from getting and diseases and from you giving your sexual partner any diseases. Having an active sex life is not a bad thing, but without the proper safety precautions, it can result in a lot of pain or the possibility of something that you did not initially want. This is a consequence of the digital age, because sex has become more casual over time, as it is a more modern way of thinking, and has resulted in more sexually transmitted infections being spread across Australia. This is why it is best to take precautions. The other case as to why sexually transmitted infections are on the rise in Australia is the fact that there is more accurate testing that can pin point whether you have a disease or not. This is great for people that are unsure of what certain symptoms mean and help people more quickly feel better.
This also shows how you can never be too careful with statistics and other scientific studies, as there may always be something better that can come out and change the facts
As with the better testing, the rates of chlamydia and syphilis were much lower before better and more effective testing came out. This is why it’s best to play it safe and have safe sex anytime that you are not one hundred percent sure of whether a person is clean from any sexually transmitted infections, even if they have had testing, not all tests are accurate which could mean that the infection could transfer to you as well.
This is why doctors always recommend having safe sex as it prevents the possibility of this at all!
Another reason for sexually transmitted infections being on the rise in Australia is that there are more visitors and travelers that are coming to Australia, which in turn leads to more people engaging in sexual activity with people from other origins that have a higher chance of these infections
Though there’s nothing wrong with having sexual relations with a person from another country, there are chances that you are not adapted to the bacteria and conditions in those countries.
This results in you having a higher change in contracting an infection because you do not have the antibodies to protect yourself from such bacteria. This closely relates to why when people from other continents than Africa visit Africa, they have a much higher chance to contract malaria from mosquitoes. This is because your body is not adapted to the conditions that the natives of the continent are adapted to.
Thus, more bacteria from around the world is getting on your skin and possibly harming you
This is why everyone recommends to have safe sex when engaging in sexual relations with a person that has not been fully tested or someone that is not fully trusted. You never know what bacteria could by lying on or in somebody’s body so it is best to take precautions and avoid the chance of getting a sexually transmitted infection at all.
For safe sex practices, condoms are the only guaranteed way to prevent bacteria from reaching your genitalia and other vulnerable extremities when having sex.
Nobody wants to feel burning when they pee or be uncomfortable all of the time, so save yourself and others and use safe sex practices.
I am self employed. General Practitioner in Melbourne, VIC. My special interest: male reproductive system.