The term STDs stands for sexually transmitted diseases with the term being self-explanatory referring to diseases that are transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse including oral, anal, and vaginal sex. There are many STDs and even more complications than they could potentially lead to if left untreated, however, the following STDs are marked as the most common ones – HIV/AIDS, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and herpes.
The number of new STD cases is increasing, despite the hardest efforts of doctors and researchers to raise awareness among the people. However, it is countries like Africa that are marked as high-burden countries in the fight against STDs. For example, 9.1 African adults have been affected by chlamydia back in 2008, whereas genital herpes has affected around 118 million adults (HSV-1) and 19.2 million adults (HSV-2), and with that Africa has been marked as the country with the highest prevalence of genital herpes.
The risk groups that are more likely to get infected with an STD
Over the years we have been able to understand that there are simply some groups of people that have an increased risk of getting infected with an STD as compared to the general population. In the following we will share the potentially high-risk groups of people:
- Women – African women are more likely to get infected with an STD as compared to be, as research has shown back in 1992;
- Children – Unfortunately, in Africa, both adults and children are affected, with children and adult women being the most common victims of the different STDs. 91% of the HIV-infected children worldwide are living in Africa;
- People who have more than one sexual partner – Being in a monogamous relationship is considered to be an effective prevention method for STDs;
- People who engage in unprotective sex – Practicing unsafe sex is the number one risk factor for STDs;
- People who live in rural areas – Rural areas have been marked as high-burden, with most of the STD-infected people living there;
- People who engage in the fish-for-sex phenomenon – In the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya, mostly women, but also men, engage in sexual intercourse, most commonly unprotected sex, in exchange for fish that they later use as food or sell for money. This phenomenon has led to a continuous increase in new STD cases;
- Married people – A study has shown that married people in Swaziland have a higher risk of getting infected with an STD as compared to single people. Researchers suggest that engaging in unprotected sex with a regular partner, or the spouse, in this case, may explain this risk factor.
- People with a history of STD – A 2009 study has demonstrated how having a medical history that includes one or multiple STDs increases the risk of the infection reoccurring. The focus of the study were women with a past HIV infection who had an increased risk of chlamydial infection.