Module 6 – 10 Sexually transmitted diseases (STD´s)

10 Sexually transmitted diseases (STD´s)

In most Muslim societies, HIV /Aids, STIs and STDs (sexually transmitted infections and diseases), sexual abuse as well as illegitimate sex are, according to the traditional rules and Muslim sexual morals, absolute taboo subjects (even if they occur from time to time)!  About those subjects must not be spoken about and it should never be directly asked about them!

  • Nevertheless, cautiously and sensitively should be explained:
  • What are STIs/STDs?
  • How will STIs be transmitted (e.g. a STI may be transmitted by sexual contact, but also in other ways, as by exchanging body fluids while kissing).
  • How do I protect myself from STIs/STDs ? (e.g. vaccination against Hepatitis A and B, as well as HPV, condoms).
  • Treatment options of STIs

10.1        Figures and facts about STIs/STDs

10.1.1          What are sexually transmitted Infections?

  • are caused by more than 30 different viruses, bacteria and parasites
  • are predominantly spread through sexual contact
  • some are also spread through skin-to-skin contact
  • some through blood or tissue
  • Chlamydia, gonorrhea, Hep B, HIV, HPV, HSV2 and syphilis can be spread during childbirth
  • frequently present without symptoms

STIs are caused by more than 30 different bacteria, viruses and parasites and are spread predominantly by sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Some STIs may be spread via skin-to-skin sexual contact. The organisms causing STIs can also be spread through non-sexual means such as blood products and tissue transfer. Many STIs, including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, hepatitis B, HIV, HPV, HSV2 and syphilis, can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth. A person can have an STI without having obvious symptoms of disease. Therefore, the term “sexually transmitted infection” is a broader term than “sexually transmitted disease” (STD).

10.1.2  Many STI´s are curable

STIs are among the top five diseases for which health care services are sought. With the exception of viral STIs (HIV, herpes and HPV), STIs can be cured, if they are detected early and treated. Globally, it is estimated that as many as 333 million new cases of curable STIs occur each year. 65 million of these new infections occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Rates of STIs vary considerably from region to region and among specific groups within a country.

The majority of curable STIs in women cause subclinical or asymptomatic infection. For example, gonorrhea usually causes symptoms in men, allowing them to seek treatment, whereas women often have minor symptoms, if any. In women between 15 and 44 years of age, the morbidity and mortality due to STIs, not including HIV, are second only to maternal causes. The prevalence of curable STIs in women is highly variable by region and risk behaviour.

1.1.3  Prevention

  • Comprehensive sexuality education
  • Standard precautions (Hand washing, wear gloves, wear protective clothing, safe handling of sharps, safe waste disposal, decontaminate instruments)
  • STI and HIV pre- and post-test counselling
  • Safer sex/risk-reduction counselling
  • Condom promotion
  • Early detection/recognition of symptoms/treat symptoms of STIs
  • Interventions targeting high risk groups
  • HIV spreads fastest in conditions of poverty, powerlessness and social instability. These conditions are often compounded in situations of forced migration. During civil strife and flight, refugees, especially women and girls, are at increased risk of sexual violence, including rape. The disturbance of community and family life among refugees may disrupt social norms governing sexual behavior. Adolescents may take sexual risk and face exploitation in the absence of traditional sociocultural constraints. Women and children may be coerced into having sex to obtain their survival needs. Vulnerability to HIV increases when human rights are violated.