Today we are going to talk about something very important: Sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).

Did you know that approximately 80% of women sexually active with men have contracted an STI at least once in their lives?

Yes, just as they read it! And the statistics are even more complicated for LGBTQ+ women. Lesbian, bisexual and trans women, and trans men with vaginas, are often ignored in STI research due to marginalization by the medical community and incorrect prejudices and stereotypes about risks.

However, many STIs can have serious health consequences. From those that are simply annoying, such as genital warts, to those that are more serious, such as infertility or cancer. And something that is rarely mentioned is the increased risk of contracting HIV from exposure to an STI. Therefore, it is essential to reduce the spread of STIs as a key strategy in the global fight against the spread of HIV.

Have I ever been at risk for an STI?


If you are sexually active or have had vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone, the answer is yes! Some STIs can be spread even through non-penetrative activities, such as genital rubbing.

But in addition to that, there are other factors that can increase the risk of contracting an STI. If you are under twenty-five, you are more susceptible to certain STIs and the cervix may be more vulnerable in younger women. If you have multiple sexual partners or have recently changed partners, your risk also increases. Not using barrier protection, such as condoms or dental dams, is also a risk factor.

Additionally, if you have bacterial vaginosis, your chances of contracting gonorrhea or HIV are four times greater if exposed. If you have receptive anal sex, you are also more likely to contract an STI due to the microtrauma that occurs. If you partner with a bisexual man or a trans man with a vagina who takes testosterone and has penis-in-vagina sex, there is also an increased risk of contracting an STI.

Furthermore, although race may be a risk factor in some cases, this is largely due to socioeconomic factors that can affect access to health care. As we learn more about the different vaginal microbiomes, we may discover other reasons.

Be careful friends! Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are on the rise

increase in STIs

It is important that we are informed about the factors that are favoring them. There is no single reason for this increase, but several factors are contributing:

Lack of funding for public health departments is reducing the number of free or low-cost screening tests, as well as assistance with partner notification and treatment for notifiable infections.

Dating apps may also be influencing this increase, as the real name is not always used and it can be difficult to find someone after the sexual encounter to tell them about an STI. Additionally, apps can create a false sense of intimacy, making people feel more comfortable ditching the condom on the first date.

Condom use is declining, possibly due to alcohol consumption or use of other contraceptive methods. However, it can also be the result of overreliance on the condom as a foolproof method of protection, like the IUD.

Removing pubic hair can increase the transmission of some STIs due to the microtrauma that occurs during hair removal.

And finally, early access to porn can influence misperceptions about condom use, since condom use is minimal in heterosexual porn.

It is important that we take steps to protect ourselves, including proper condom use and regular screening tests. Let's take care of ourselves!

What STI tests should I have?

Testing for STIs

Well, the truth is that there is no standard list of tests, it all depends on your age, where you live, and your doctor's judgment. Tests may include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, HIV, hepatitis B, and herpes. But don't worry, there are different types of tests to detect these infections!

The nucleic acid test is super accurate, it works like you're looking for a needle in a haystack, but with a magnet to make it more visible. Culture tests are very effective if the bacteria or virus is growing, but can sometimes give negative results even if you have an infection. With the microscope test, a sample is taken and the infection is looked for under the microscope, it is ideal for detecting trichomoniasis. Antigen tests are used to identify proteins on the surface of the bacteria or virus and can be done with blood or a smear of the infected area. Antibody tests identify the body's immune response to an infection, but can take 1 to 6 months to give positive results.

What is a notifiable STI?

This means that if your test result is positive, health departments and epidemiological surveillance networks must be informed to prevent and control outbreaks. In Colombia, notifiable STIs include HIV/AIDS, gestational and congenital syphilis, and hepatitis B, C, and Delta. Don't worry! The important thing is to get the necessary tests to stay healthy and prevent the spread of infections.

Which is the message? That STIs can affect any woman, regardless of age, marital status or sexuality. The good news is that there are many screening tests available and STIs can be successfully treated if diagnosed early. It is also essential to remember that prevention is the best option, and that we can take steps to protect ourselves and our partners. These measures include the use of condoms and open communication with our partners or sneaky encounters. Let's remember that our sexual health is fundamental and that we must always take care of it!

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The Importance of Vaginal Health in the Prevention of STIs

Vaginal health plays a crucial role in the prevention and health promotion of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Maintaining a proper vaginal pH balance and a healthy bacterial flora is essential to avoid infections that can be facilitated by imbalances or alterations in the vaginal environment. In this sense, the adoption of practices that promote a healthy vaginal environment, such as the use of menstrual panties, can be an ally in promoting vaginal health.

Menstrual panties , designed specifically for comfort during menstruation, offer a menstrual hygiene option that respects the sensitivity and health of the intimate area. Being breathable and capable of capturing moisture, these panties can help keep the area dry and reduce the proliferation of bacteria and fungi that thrive in humid environments, thus preserving the natural acid balance of the vaginal pH.

Although it is crucial to understand that, while menstrual panties can support vaginal health, they do not offer direct protection against STIs. Effective prevention of these infections is achieved through the use of barrier methods, such as condoms, during sexual relations. However, maintaining optimal vaginal health can indirectly contribute to reducing the risk of certain secondary infections, thereby strengthening the body's natural defenses.

Artemis menstrual panties


Preventing STIs not only depends on safe sexual practices and condom use, but also on maintaining optimal vaginal health. Menstrual panties can be a complement to this care, helping to maintain a healthy environment that indirectly contributes to protection against infections. However, it is crucial to combine this care with sexual education, regular STI testing, and open communication about sexual health to ensure comprehensive well-being.

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