There could be more to the dangers of untreated Sexually Transmitted Infections than meets the eyes, experts have warned.
Site Coordinator of the Aids HealthCare Foundation, Dr. Kema Onu, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja that STIs refer to more than 25 infectious organisms transmitted primarily through sex.
According to him, such infections if untreated could result in long-term health and socio-economic problems in adolescent girls and young women.
He said STIs were largely preventable despite the burdens, costs and complications yet remain a significant public health problem in Nigeria due to ignorance, poverty and stigmatisation.
Onu said when compared to older women, teenagers and young women were more prone to STIs because of their tender tissues, and that early exposure to sex could bruise the fragile skin of the vagina, heightening their risks of infections.
He said: “Teenagers and young women present STIs such as HIV, Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, among others early clinically, while there are delayed presentations in men.
“This, however, can affect their ability to conceive, because poorly treated STIs could block the fallopian tubes and further result in social neglect.
“Some women smell and constantly use sanitary pads due to discharge from the vagina caused by repeated infection contracted from their sex partners or spouses.”
Onu stated that such challenges were largely unrecognised by the public and some healthcare facilities, adding that STIs cause harmful, often irreversible, and costly clinical complications.
Such complications, he said, include reproductive health problems, foetal and perinatal health problems, cancer and facilitation of sexual transmission of HIV infection.
He said education, sensitisation and prevention were essentially the primary care strategy for improving reproductive health.
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