STI’s are common – Get checked!
The impact of sexually transmitted infections on public health remains an issue of concern. We now face the resurgence of syphilis across the globe, HIV infection at relatively high levels in select groups, a diminishing efficacy of gonorrhoea treatment, and astronomical levels of chlamydia infection among youth.
We have a poor condom culture.
Condom use among people who inject drugs is reported to be low. This increases the risk of transmitting or contracting an STI. Factors including injecting drug use, hepatitis C, poor nutrition and concomitant STI increase all the risk of acquiring an STI.
The prevalence of STI people who inject drugs is reported to be higher those who use or inject amphetamines (or as ATS). Indeed plausible international research shows a direct link between methamphetamine use and poor sexual health, including a higher incidence of HIV and other STI. This is in part due to the libido stimulating effects of amphetamines.
Sexual health is pervasive. Sex and sexuality intermingles with many facets of life. When considering tackling this issue it may be important to consider the effects of:
Drug use generally on sexual health
Amphetamines on sexual health
Methadone on sexual health
Nutrition on general health which leads to susceptibility to STI
Both vaginal and anal sex (in particular, men who have sex with men)
Transmission vectors which include anal sex, rough sex, sex with blood present
The impact of many sexual partners and new sexual partners (check-ups)
The impact of no or infrequent condom (dental damns) and lubricant use
Some of the best advice to give about condom use is to ‘try out different condoms until you find one that fits. Like gloves, you need to find a good fit.’
Woodbridge, M. 2012. The Assessment of Men’s Risk of STI and HIV in the General Practice Setting. Department of Primary Health Care and General Practice University of Otago, Wellington
Woodbridge, M., Dowell, A., Gray L. (2015). ‘He said he had been out doing the traffic’: general practitioner perceptions of sexually transmitted infection and HIV testing strategies for men.Journal of Primary Health Care. 2015 Mar 1;7(1):50-6.