Dr. Rachna Pande
She was a young woman of 36 years old, coming to consult for an ulcer on the genitals which was persistent for almost a year now. I demanded that her husband be brought here for counseling as he was the most likely source for transmitting this infection. The information which I got was as expected, as it happens in most places with a male dominated society.
This woman after becoming sick, refused to have sex with the husband till he used a condom as he was the one to infect her. Out of spite, he married another woman who died of HIV/AIDS later. Then he married twice again, and all the women are suffering from some sexually transmitted disease. Net result of his marital endeavors is, he is himself sick and has made his wives also sick.
S.T.D. or sexually transmitted disease as the name implies, are diseases which are acquired and transmitted predominantly by sexual activity. It can be of any kind, but the germs are passed on from the infected to non-infected partner. Severity of the disease depends on load of the microbes entering the body and overall health status of the individual.
Women are vulnerable to acquire S.T.Ds through their infected partners. Many men consider the use of condoms to be reducing their manliness in some way. If they are not loyal to their partners, they tend to acquire the disease from some outside source and then infect the wife at home.
Women suffer from these diseases in more than one way. It is not only the immediate sickness but the sequel which is more troublesome for them.
When a woman acquires a sexually transmitted disease, like syphilis, gonorrhea, bacterial vaginosis, e.t.c., she suffers from painful urination, itching over private parts and a vaginal discharge. Sexual intercourse also becomes painful. Depending on the disease, there can be an ulcer on the genitals or discharge which may be scanty or profuse curd like, depending on causative germs. The adjoining inguinal lymph nodes become enlarged and painful.
Owing to the S.T.D. a woman acquires chronic pelvic infection. Because of this she suffers from chronic pain in the lower abdomen and back and painful intercourse. Chronic pelvic infection can cause carcinoma of cervix in later life. She is also prone to develop urinary tract infection as the germs easily enter the urinary system through the small urethra of women.
This causes painful urination and she has to pass urine many times every day. These problems can be recurrent. Because whatever treatment is taken will help clear the infection that time but does not provide any immunity for future. Thus she keeps on getting recurrent infections.
HIV/AIDS is the lead infection acquired and transmitted through sexual activity. Women are at greater risk for acquiring the infection as vaginal fluid is more suitable source for HIV virus to enter.
The fallopian tubes can get blocked due to the infection leading to ectopic pregnancy which is a potentially fatal condition and needs urgent medical intervention. Blocked fallopian tubes are also one of the causes for sterility.
When the lady fails to conceive, it is a big stigma for her and also a mental torture.
If she conceives, several diseases like HIV/AIDS, syphilis, genital herpes, e.t.c. can pass from mother to the baby in utero. The baby can also be infected during vaginal delivery as he passes out via the infected vagina. Thus an innocent child suffers for no fault of his.
One can easily see how many problems can occur in women due to a S.T.D. Men also suffer but the symptoms are more severe with more long lasting sequel and complications in women.
All this can be simply prevented by using a condom. Ideally one should avoid intercourse with an infected partner.
Men should be educated about S.T.Ds and the risks to which they expose themselves and their partners. In this way we can avoid many innocent women and children getting infected from S.T.Ds and its sequel.
Dr. Rachna Pande
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