How Aware are Africans of STDs? Take a Look At This Recent Survey

How Aware are Africans of STDs? Take a Look At This Recent Survey Image

STDs are a massive health burden, particularly in low-income regions like the African continent. They’ve also had massive economic and social consequences. 

Recently, however, more countries and organizations have organized courses, centers, and volunteers to educate the African population on STDs’ importance, like syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, etc. In some areas, the infection rates have been dropping. But, there is still a huge number of people infected.

The question is, have these efforts paid off? How many Africans are actually aware of STDs? We’ve decided to take a closer look at rural communities and poorer African regions. Here is what a recent statistical survey has to say. 

HIV Awareness in Africa

Over 68% of people infected with HIV live in Africa. In 2018, 800,000 new infections were registered in the southern and eastern parts of this continent. Does that mean not many people are aware of the infection?

Researchers asked over 1 million Africans from 35 countries, whether they think condoms will reduce the chance of contracting HIV. 66.8% of the participants answered “yes.” But, when they were asked whether sex will expose them to HBV, just 42.5% answered “yes.” 

In South Africa, researchers asked a different question. They gathered over 11,000 participants between the ages of 15 to 25. They were asked whether they understand the risk of HIV. Only 42.5% answered, “yes.” 

Another topic covered in the survey was mosquito bites. When asked whether they think a mosquito bite can get them infected with HIV, 16.8% of the 95,856 Nigerian citizens answered “yes.”

Based on reports, when a mosquito bites, only the saliva is injected into the human blood. Not the HIV positive cells. Compared to other mosquito-borne diseases, HIV is not one of them. The insect’s gut can’t replicate the HIV cells, which means it gets broken down before it can actually get transmitted. 

STDs Awareness in Africa

The African population is still not fully aware of the impact of HIV, let alone STIs. 

It seems there is still a place to implement the need to share knowledge. When asked if they are familiar with gonorrhea, only 22.8% of the 1,123 people evaluated in Madagascar and Nigeria answered “yes.” 

Their main sources of information came from friends or colleagues. But, in regions such as these, awareness should be enforced, experts recommend. By highlighting the impact of infections like STIs and HIV, we can reduce the gap of weakness and lack of knowledge and increase the quality of life.

References:

https://www.avert.org/global-hiv-and-aids-statistics

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0213224

https://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/viruses101/why_cant_mosquitos_transmit_hiv/

STDs Rates Appear To Be Quietly Skyrocketing As Fewer People Get Tested And Treated During The Pandemic

STDs Rates Appear To Be Quietly Skyrocketing As Fewer People Get Tested And Treated During The Pandemic Image

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) cause a greater health risk and economic burden to the masses. Millions of people are infected with this problem every year. In 1995, STDs were accounted for to be around 87 percent of all cases among the main ten illnesses in the USA.

Now, the years have passed, but not much change is there. The rates of STDs are quietly skyrocketing, especially during these challenging times of the pandemic. People are refraining themselves from going to hospitals for checkups due to the risk of infection. With this, very few people get tested and treated during corona times.

The STD Infection

When a person comes in contact with STDs, he/she starts feeling troubling changes in their bodies. It includes a burning sensation while peeing, painless, but firm rashes and sores on the skin. While some people are infected yet, they do not see any of these symptoms.

Whether people believe it or not, but most of the victims of Sexually Transmitted Diseases also suffer from diseases like syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, etc. These people must go through screening to prevent them from spreading the infection, knowing or unknowingly to other people. 

People who are prone to developing an infection due to sexual contact or needle-sharing must go for checkups. They need a proper test for STDs and HIV. If they turn out to be positive, they must admit themselves to the health care center for proper treatment. If the treatment is left unchecked, it can lead to issues like infertility or even death. 

How Does It Spread?

STDs always spread from one person to another person through sexual intercourse. They spread mainly from anal and vaginal intercourse, and less from oral intercourse. Some other blood-borne pathogens like hepatitis B virus, Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I, and HIV can spread through genes as well. 

Children usually inherit this infection from their parents and then have to live along with it for the whole life. Similarly, pregnant women with STDs can pass this infection to the infants while they are still in their womb, during the birth of the baby, or while breastfeeding.

The Corona Impact

These days the main issue is that most of the public health departments deal with the coronavirus treatment. They are not available to pay due attention to diseases like STDs and HIV. However, if not taken care of, the negligence poses greater risks to the sexual health of the larger audience. 

The rates of STD are increasing every day, and if the situation remains the same, we would have to deal with a big health issue and economic burden in the coming years. The issue deserves national attention. 

References:

https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/understanding-stds-basics#:~:text=STDs%20are%20sexually%20transmitted%20diseases,syphilis%2C%20and%20trichomoniasis%20are%20STDs.

https://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/stds-hiv-safer-sex

COVID-19 Has Interrupted STD Screenings; Sexual Health Centers Are Concerned

COVID-19 Has Interrupted STD Screenings; Sexual Health Centers Are Concerned Image

When the cases of COVID-19 started increasing at a faster rate, most of the countries announce lockdown. With the interest of the public, and proper obedience, the stay at home order came into action. During this sexual health centers in some places were allowed to keep their operations going on. 

  • The decision taken was not to cause any negligence and delays in STD screenings, which can lead to further problems. 
  • Sexual health centers had an order to remain open under a few conditions that they stop elective procedures and follow social distancing norms. It was to be taken care of by both the patients and staff.

However, things didn’t go as easy as it sounds. The safety measures involved to prevent coronavirus interrupted the walk-in testing for STDs in some of the health centers. Most of the centers were those that served patients without any health insurance. 

  • People were scared of getting exposed to the risk of COVID-19 by going for check-ups. So, this led to fewer people getting tested. It is a worrying fact as it may lead to an increase in the rates for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea
  • In Philadelphia, a survey conducted by the National Coalition of STD Directors, came out with an estimate that 83% of STD programs have stopped, and no community visits are happening. 
  • Around 66% of clinics reported that STD screening and testing had been decreased due to the pandemic. 

Importance of STD Screenings

It is important to undergo STD screening, if you are sexually active, especially with multiple partners. It is to prevent the risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and stay protected. To take care of this, usually, people go to clinics and health care centers to get tested. However, there’s another option.

  • Nowadays, screening kits are gaining popularity to deal with this problem. 
  • The use of at-home screening kits is available for STIs like HIV, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea. 
  • To test STI at home, you need to collect a urine sample, an oral, or a genital swab. This sample will then go to a lab for analyzing purposes. 

To conduct certain tests, more than one sample is required. The benefit of screening kits is that you get the privacy to collect your samples without the need to visit a health care center or doctor.  

However, the samples collected through the screening kits don’t always provide accurate results. So, you need to contact your doctor or visit a public clinic to get the results confirmed, in cases where your test result was negative, but you are experiencing symptoms.

Final Words

The concern of sexual health centers regarding STDs is fair. However, in these challenging times, the best possible solution seems to be in the use of screening kits by most of the people.

References:

https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/staying-in-hiv-care/other-related-health-issues/coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/930983

https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/covid-19/index.html

Top Most Popular Plants for Treating STIs in Africa – Do They Work?

Top Most Popular Plants for Treating STIs in Africa – Do They Work? Image

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a widespread problem and a serious global issue. But, for the African population, these treatable and easily avoidable infections pose an even bigger threat. 

Out of the 37 million people living with HIV, 66% are in the sub-Saharan African region. 

Since not many families have the funds to get treatment, more and more are getting infected. Some even transfer their infection to their unborn child. 

In recent years, however, rural communities, particularly in South Africa, have taken interest in medicinal plants to cope with the rise in STIs. We’ve compiled all the research on this alternate medicine, and whether or not it can be effective. 

Medicinal Plants for Treating STIs in Africa

According to the South African Journal of Botany, there are 33 plant species and 23 combinations of herbal medicine used for treating STIs and other similar infections. Roots are the most popular addition to a soothing concoction. 

The sheer number of these plants shows just how important medicinal plants are in rural African communities. The truth is, people prefer plants over conventional medicine. They believe in their therapeutic properties and potent compounds. 

In fact, medicinal plants are the go-to choice in Africa for treating all kinds of diseases. From skin conditions to flu-like symptoms. But, when it comes to treating STIs, only a couple of the plants stand out. Some of the more popular options are:

  • African potato (Hypoxis hemerocallidea) 
  • The Weeping wattle (Peltophorum africanum), 
  • Senecio (Senecio serratuloides)
  • Rosemary

How Effective Is Alternative Medicine for STI Treatment

People use these remedies for treating genital warts, syphilis, gonorrhea, external, and internal sores, including AIDS symptoms. Based on clinical studies, these plants do contain some therapeutic properties. 

They are packed with anti-oxidant and phenolic compounds, which can serve as an effective antiseptic. They have potent anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial benefits that can soothe the symptoms. In the case of a parasitic disease, like STIs, it makes sense to use such types of plants. 

However, the full extent of their properties, effects, and mechanisms remain unknown. The anti-fungal compounds can reduce the activity of infectious diseases, but there is not much research on how well will their compounds work. 

While the bioactive properties in these plants can come in handy in complementary medicine, they might not be enough to treat these diseases completely. Especially if the infection has already built up a resistance. That’s why proper, more powerful antibiotics will come in handy. 

Final Thoughts

For a long time, people have been relying on medicinal plants to treat a range of different illnesses. But as the environment changes, so do these infections, eventually becoming more difficult to treat. Medicinal plants can be useful, but there is a limit to what they can do. Sometimes it’s best to rely on both natural and conventional sources to treat more serious infections. 

References: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6742237/

https://knepublishing.com/index.php/SJMS/article/view/4691/9300

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236010860_MEDICINAL_PLANTS_FOR_THE_TREATMENT_OF_SEXUAL_TRANSMITTED_DISEASES

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0254629911000512

Find Out Which STDs Can You Get Through Kissing

Find Out Which STDs Can You Get Through Kissing Image

We have all been told about the most common ways in which a dangerous sexually transmitted disease (STD) is usually transmitted. The primary transmission path is through having unprotected sexual intercourse, including oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Sharing needles is also a common transmission path that leads to a high number of STD cases in drug addicts. But did you also know that kissing is one of the common ways through which many dangerous STDs are transmitted? 

STDs that are easily transmitted through the innocent act of kissing

Compared to the previously mentioned transmission paths, such as unprotected sexual intercourse and sharing needles, kissing is considered to be a low-risk, but the risk is still there and you should not ignore it. Kissing someone for the first time can be pretty awkward. However, it is not only your feelings for this new person that you need to consider, but you also need to consider their reproductive health and any history that they might have with STDs.

The truth is that there are a few STDs that can be potentially transmitted through the act of kissing since there is still a skin-to-skin contact and the exchange of saliva. Herpes, cytomegalovirus, and syphilis can all be transmitted through kissing with an infected person. 

Herpes and cytomegalovirus can be transmitted through the saliva, whereas syphilis is more likely to be transmitted in the presence of sores in the mouth that can easily transmit the bacteria to someone else. French kissing increases the risk of transmission even more since you and your partner are touching your tongues and there is an exchange of a larger amount of saliva.

Over the years, there have been some misconceptions when it comes to the potential transmission of STDs through kissing. Here are the STDs that cannot be transmitted through kissing and we will tell you why:

  • HIV – HIV is a viral infection, and so, the saliva is not capable of carrying the virus within it. But HIV can be transmitted through the exchange of other bodily liquids such as semen, blood, vaginal fluid, anal fluid, and even breastmilk;
  • Chlamydia – Although Chlamydia is a bacterial infection, it cannot be transmitted through kissing. However, it can be transmitted through oral sex and other forms of sexual intercourse – vaginal and anal;
  • Gonorrhea – Gonorrhea is another bacterial STD that cannot be transmitted through kissing;
  • Hepatitis – Hepatitis cannot be transmitted through kissing since it requires unprotected sexual intercourse or the exchange of blood with an infected individual, to be transmitted;
  • Trichomoniasis – Trichomoniasis is one STD that cannot be transmitted through oral or anal sex since vaginal sex is the only path of transmission, so understandably, kissing would not be an option either.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5856484/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19828260

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4998817/