STI’s are becoming more common with many still nonchalant when it comes to its dangers. From infertility, to compromised immune system and even cancer; ignoring the symptoms could cost a person dearly. Dr Manoj Malu, Director of Clarewell Clinics spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk
All STIs have a common feature in that they can produce silent infection, and whilst an infected person has no symptoms, they may unwittingly continue to transmit the infection to their partners, who may develop long term side effects.
These might range from affecting fertility, or even causing infertility in women, as well as in men, this is much more common than most people think.
Similarly, the direct role of STIs as a cause of cancer is not that well-known amongst the general population.
“Normally cancers and the STIs are not associated. But most people would be surprised to know how STIs are fuelling cancers,” warned Dr Malu.
He continued: “High risk strains of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) can cause abnormal cervical smears which in some women may progress to cervical cancers.
“This is why the UK government has been offering routine HPV jabs to boys and girls in their secondary schools to reduce the risk of HPV related cancers.
“HPV can cause cancers not only in the genitalia (cervical cancer in women and penile cancer in men), but they can also cause cancers in the mouth and in the back passage.
“Lesser-known infection called Hepatitis B which can also be transmitted sexually is a preventable cause of liver cancer, HIV predisposes.”
When asked how the process of a STI can cause a compromising effect on the immune system, Dr Malu answered: “Unlike high-risk strains of HPV and Hepatitis B infections where the virus particle itself is the cause of cancer, HIV predisposes to development of cancers by suppressing the immune response of body.
“A normal functioning immune system is essential to prevent rogue cells developing in our body.
“AIDS is an advanced stage of HIV infection where the immune system has become ineffective in dealing with threats from infections and cancer cells.
“The good news is that the advances of HIV therapy assures us that someone getting the correct treatment will not only have the virus in control, but the immune system also recovers to a great extent, and thus reduces the risk of cancer.”
Dr Malu added: “Sexual health is at the core of your reproductive health, seek advice if you have any concerns that you may have been exposed to STIs, or have vague abdominal, pelvic or genital symptoms you are not sure about.
“Every STI can be managed, and people can live a normal life, so don’t bury your head in the sand.
“We can detect infections within three hours and deliver treatment the same day.”