Welcome to your Problematic Sexual Behavior Consequences Inventory
The consequences of poor sexual health are complex and poor sexual health can have many effects on an individual as well as a relationship.
Unintended pregnancies can lead to poor education and a lack of social and economic opportunities for teenage mothers.
STIs, including HIV
STIs are often asymptomatic and can therefore lead to further transmission.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks the body's immune system, therefore becoming more susceptible to opportunistic infections. HIV has a long asymptomatic period that can vary between a few years and more than 10 years. Thismeans that people often do not realize that they are infected and this can increase transmission rates.
Hepatitis B is spread via sexual contact and contact with body fluids. Infection with hepatitis B can be asymptomatic meaning that the disease may be transmitted unknowingly because individuals are unaware that they are infected.
Hepatitis C is primarily transmitted through coming into contact with the blood of a carrier of the virus. Although sexual transmission rates are lower than for Hepatitis B or HIV, sexual contact is a risk factor.
Cervical and other genital cancers
The most significant risk factor for cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus, which is a sexually transmitted virus. The greater number of sexual partners a woman has without the use of condoms, the greater her risk of coming into contact withthis virus and of later developing cervical cancer.
Recurrent genital herpes
Genital herpes is a common viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. Genital herpes infection occurs through the exposure of the genitals to the virus from a partner with active herpes (through either genital or oral contact). Antibodiesproduced by the body to fight the infection mean that recurrent symptoms are milder than the first episode.
Bacterial vaginosis and early delivery
Bacterial vaginosis is a common condition of the vagina caused by an overgrowth of various bacteria (germs). It is not sexually transmitted, and can affect women who do not have sex. Untreated bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy canincrease the risk of early labor, miscarriage, and infection of the uterus (womb) after childbirth.
Chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, leading to infertility. As Chlamydia is asymptomatic, it is often left undiagnosed and untreated for some time. This can then mean that infertility is a real risk.
Impact on relationships
STIs can have an effect on sexual health within a relationship. Sexual intercourse can become painful or uncomfortable, as well as there being a risk of transmission of the STI. It can also trigger a lack of trust due to confusion ofwhere the infection came from.
If a partner is not informed of infection by their infected partner, this can lead to unknown transmission of infection, potential legal implications, and a lack of trust within the relationship.
As well as the immediate implications of the infection on the individual, and discomfort, STIs can have other effects such as stigma. Stigma against STIs, particularly HIV, can prevent people from seeking testing for the infection, or frominforming future partners of the infection, both of which can lead to further transmission of the infection.
Poor sexual health can also mean psychological consequences, for example through coercion and abuse.
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