By Ana Theresa Williams,BSN,RN
Dr. Jordana Ramiterre, head of the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) at the Davao City Health Office said stigma, discrimination and violation of human rights in relation to sexually transmitted infection (STI) are still hampering a supportive and energetic response. These are among the major constraints and obstacles when treating an infected patient, she said.
She said the prevalence and incidence of untreated STI in the general population indicated that these are high especially for asymptomatic ones or with no symptoms manifested such as chlamydia.
“STI is a high risk factor in HIV transmission,” Ramiterre said.
Reliable baseline data on STI in youth is not available though. But there are strong indications that majority of STI cases is treated in the private sector or through self-medication, she said.
Knowledge on HIV/AIDS is relatively high but has not been translated into less risky sexual behavior.
Unfortunately, Ramiterre said compliance to treatment tends to be a problem and increases the risk for resistance to certain medications.
Casual or commercial sex including child prostitution is alarmingly increasing, she warned the public.
There is also a considerable amount of sexual activity among the youth which increases the risk of getting sexually transmitted infection.
Despite the realistic sexual education by health authorities, there is still much opposition by some large groups in society and the church.
Problems seen during the campaign awareness that the head of RHWC mentioned included access to information and adequate sexual or reproductive health services is extremely limited to unmarried young people; the majority of the population do not perceive themselves at risk to STI, HIV and AIDS infection; and health workers do not feel comfortable to discuss sexuality.
“STI training is not harmonized and quite technical. Minimal attention is given to issues on sexuality, gender and counseling,” she said.
STI and HIV
The sexually transmitted infection (STI) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remain to be the major public health problem.
One of the major causes of acute illness, infertility, long-term disability and death with severe medical and psychological consequences for millions of men, women and infants.
There’s an interplay between the two contagious diseases: presence of STI increase acquisition and transmission of HIV.
Relationship of STI and HIV
Ramiterre said STI and HIV have the same modes of transmission. Presence of STIs increase the transmission risk for HIV and vice versa.
She said the same prevention and control messages like the steps for ABCDE are being applied; likewise with the prevention and control services.
STI service is the entry point for referral to HIV services by offering HIV testing, she concluded.
MISHMASHING: Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. HEBREWS 13:4