Sexually transmitted infections (STI) were previously called sexually transmitted diseases. The term now reflects the fact that these diseases are infections caused by bacteria, viruses or protozoans and are transmitted by mucous membrane contact during sexual activity. STIs are not transmitted by hand shaking, from toilet seats, sauna benches or bed sheets. The most common STIs in Finland are Chlamydia, genital warts and genital herpes.
What symptoms should make you worried?
- Symptoms related to urination: Burning sensation during urination, frequency and difficulties to urinate
- Abnormal discharge from the urethra or vagina
- Itch, burning sensation, nodules, sores or blisters in the genital region
- Lower abdominal pain and fever
- Lacking symptoms does not exclude the possibility of a STI.
Examinations and treatment
It is important to know when and how the possible STI was contracted, because the tests to identify the cause are based in this information. STIs are diagnosed by testing the urine and/or blood or by swabs taken from the involved mucous membranes. It takes about one week from the time of transmission of the infection for the tests for Chlamydia and gonorrhea to become positive. STIs which spread with the blood (HIV and hepatitis) become positive by blood testing 3–6 months after transmission of the virus. The incubation time of herpes and genital warts (papilloma virus) varies and the infection may often be diagnosed only when symptoms appear.
Usually, STIs are treated with antibiotics or antiviral medicines taken by mouth. Occasionally, intravenous antibiotics are needed, at least initially. If a STI is diagnosed the partner/s must be informed, as stated in the Communicable Diseases Act, because they need to be examined and treated, as well. If the person is in a permanent relationship, it is best to treat all involved partners at the same time to avoid repeat infections. Also, a condom should be used during intercourse at this time until both parties have been found to be healthy at a control visit one month after diagnosis of the infection.
The Aura Klinikka can provide you with a doctor’s appointment at short notice for examinations and treatment.