Questions about your sexual health may not seem a topic for polite conversation, but it certainly is one to consider. Sexually transmitted diseases and infections are more common than you might think and can cause irreversible harm if left untreated.
To differentiate between these two terms STD (sexually transmitted disease) and STI (sexually transmitted infection), an STD refers to the disease itself, which is usually when symptoms occur, whereas an STI refers to the infection which may be present even without any symptoms. HIV is an STI and there are more than 25 other STI’s that can be transmitted through sexual contact. Globally, the WHO estimates that more than one million people get an STI every day.
Left untreated, STI’s can cause serious health problems including cervical cancer, liver disease, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility and pregnancy issues. Some of the most common STI’s are chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital warts, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, herpes, HIV, and syphilis.
STD’s & STI’s – A Subject Highly Stigmatized
One of the biggest barriers to testing for these infections and diseases is the fear of being judged by our peers and those around us. Disease, in a word, has always gone hand in hand with stigma, just like the recent pandemic of COVID-19 where some people have lashed out at certain populations in blind belief they are doing what is right for public health.
Shame and stigma is a powerful weapon of control that has been used throughout history to marginalize people. The language we use surrounding the topic of disease and infection, particularly STI’s and STD’s, in this case, should be non-judgmental. Words such as “clean” when referring to a negative test result should be refrained from use, as “clean” on the flip slide infers those with a positive result are “dirty”.
Changing our own view and opinions on this subject and shifting terminology away from “purity” language of clean and dirty can not only remove the sting of stigma, but help those find the courage to talk honestly with a medical professional and get the help they need.
When & How Often Should you get Tested?
The Center for disease and Control, CDC, recommends:
We would also recommend those sexually active, both men and women, to undergo more comprehensive STI testing not only for HIV, but also other diseases, helping maintain your own health and that of your partner.
Reasons to get Tested:
+ Symptoms are not always presents.
+ Testing is quick and easy.
+ Consult openly with your physician, not all STD screenings may be necessary.
+ STD tests are readily available and results are fast.
OASIS is a certified HIV antibody testing center, certified since 2013 by the Beijing Municipal Health Commission. Our in-house laboratory is accredited by the NCCL EQA since 2018 and is in full operation 24/7.
*STI screening may be covered by insurance. Contact OASIS to query your insurance benefits.
*For corporate and individual memberships, discounts apply.
Human Papillomavirus, HPV, is a colossal viral system with over 130 subtypes identified. Each strain has a different virulence and can be divided into low-risk and high-risk types that can cause warts in mild cases and cancer in severe. For example, HPV-6 and HPV-11 can cause abnormal growths in the genital areas, such as warts, these are not carcinogenic, however, HPV-16 and HPV-18 are the main pathogenic types of cervical cancer.
This highly contagious virus lives dormant in males and females and is most commonly spread during sexual intercourse. The rate of infection increases rapidly past a persons first experience, and has a cumulative rate of infection increasing annually.
Most HPV infections clear without any intervention within 2 years and are medically referred to as "transient infections". A small proportion of infections with certain types of HPV can persist and progress to cervical cancer. Although low-risk HPV strains are almost never cancerous, prolonged infection can lead to genital warts or very subtle changes in cervical cells, thus, are still dangerous regardless with persistent infection.
The Main Reason to Vaccinate against HPV is to Prevent Infection,
Screening is to Treat Early Infection.
OASIS provides vaccination services for HPV.