AROUND 40 per cent of babies born to women who have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as syphilis can be still-born or die from infection, a sexual and reproductive health expert says,
Juliana Lunguzi from the United Nations Population Fund said women not practicing safe sex and contracted an STI could be exposing themselves to birth complications. “Babies born with congenital syphilis can have bone damage, severe anaemia, enlarged liver and spleen, jaundice, nerve problems causing blindness or deafness, or skin rashes,” she said.
She said STIs were related to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), so people with an STI were more likely to contract HIV.
“HIV-positive women often have increased rates of random early abortion, babies born underweight, still-births, pre-term labour or even early rupture of membranes,” she added.
“The only way to prevent contracting an STI is to avoid sexual contact with another individual unless you are using protection.”
She urges sexually active people to use condoms which reduces the chances of getting STIs.
According to the Department of Health demographic health survey, 11 per cent of women and 9 per cent of men surveyed who had sexual intercourse reported having an STI during the 12 months after the survey.
Results from the survey also show that men are more likely to report symptoms of an STI compared to women.
“Women are less likely to seek medical treatment or advice.
“If you should experience pain when peeing, notice lumps or rashes around sensitive areas, unusual discharges or bleeding, then you should seek medical advice, as there is no shame in talking to a doctor,” she said.
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