The task of motivating others to get properly tested and treated for existing STDs has proven to be quite the difficult one, over the past couple of years. This has proven to be an even greater problem when there are feelings of fear and shame involved, as it is the case with most individuals living in Africa.
Lack of proper testing and treatment leads to a continuous increase in new STD cases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), each year in Africa, there are around 3.5 million syphilis cases, 15 million chlamydia cases, and 16 million gonorrhea cases, among other common STDs. It is Sub-Saharan Africa that ranks first with the highest STI incidence compared to the rest of the world.
But it is not only the high number of cases that are worrying us. It is the high number of deaths that are causing by these very same STDs because of the lack of proper testing and treatment. That is why we thought about using something else as the number one motivational method today. Today, we will guide you through the potential complications of leaving an STD untreated – from the mildest ones to the most severe ones that will seriously harm you and the people around you.
The potential complications of leaving an STD untreated
For you to better understand these complications, we will list the most common STDs and the complications that they could potentially lead to.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) – In women, untreated chlamydia can cause PID by spreading to the fallopian tubes and/or uterus. 10-15% of women with untreated chlamydia are diagnosed with PID;
- Problems linked to pregnancy and birth – In pregnant women, untreated chlamydia has caused pre-term delivery, low birth weight, and pneumonia in the newborn;
- Infertility – Infertility can occur in both men and women due to untreated chlamydia;
- Infections – Untreated chlamydia can lead to infection of the testicles, urethra, and/or prostate gland.
- AIDS – Without treatment, HIV can quickly progress to AIDS which is a life-threatening and deadly disease.
- Damage to the internal organs – Leaving syphilis untreated can lead to damage to multiple body organs including the heart, blood vessels, eyes, bones, joints, liver, etc.;
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) – Like chlamydia, gonorrhea as well, if left untreated, can lead to PID;
- Infections of the testicles, urethra, and/or prostate gland.
- HPV (human papillomavirus)
- Cancer – While not all strains of HPV lead to cancer, certain strains such as HPV 16 and HPV 18 have been identified as the cause of 70% of all cases of cervical cancer.