STIs in India: An interview with Dr Madke
mDhil chats with Dr Bhushan Madke, Mumbai-based dermatologist and venereologist about STIs, its prevalence in India, complications and more.
Use q condom, protect yourself!
mDhil: What are some of the most common STIs in India? What is the rate of prevalence?
Dr Madke: At present, the most deadly incurable STI is HIV, and the World Health Organisation in 2007 estimated that there are about 2 to 3.1 million people living with HIV in India. As per the latest data on viral STIs in India, genital herpes and genital warts are the most common. Bacterial STIs like chancroid (soft chancre), gonorrhea and syphilis are less common as compared to viral STIs.
mDhil: Which are the five most common genital infections found in our country?
Dr Madke: The most common STIs are herpes genitalis (20%), chancroid, viral warts (11%), syphilis (11%), and gonorrhoea (9%). There also some parasitic diseases like scabies and pediculosis pubis, which can also be transmitted by close physical contact as seen during sexual intimacy.
mDhil: Are all genital infection contagious or transmittable?
Dr Madke: Genital infections are transmitted via unprotected sexual route. Anal sex puts one at a higher risk of STIs as it is more prone to tearing of the tissue in comparison to vaginal sex.
mDhil: When should one consult a doctor?
Dr Madke: Some common symptoms of genital infection are ulcer, white discharge, burning sensation while passing urine, swelling in the inguinal area, rectal discharge or bleeding. Visit the doctor at the earliest sign of genital infection. Your treating physician can order a few laboratory tests, which can confirm the presence of genital infection. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of genital infection is very important, as a genital infection increases the likely hood of acquiring HIV infection by 100 folds. Adequate and correct treatment of genital infection will prevent complications and also prevent transmission of infection to your partner.
mDhil: Are there any preventive measures that you could share?
Dr Madke: Frankly speaking, at present there is no fool-proof way to prevent STIs. Condoms are, however, provide some protection against STIs. But, one must remember that condoms too can rupture and put one at risk of pregnancy and STIs.
Sticking to a faithful partner or sexual abstinence is the surest way of avoiding STI. As it is rightly said, prevention is the only cure.
Always seek counseling from your physician before embarking on a sexual journey.
Photograph via sxc.hu
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