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Questions and answers about STIs

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What are STIs?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are usually caused by viruses or bacteria and are widespread. Chlamydia infections, genital warts and herpes, as well as gonorrhea and syphilis, have become more common in Switzerland in recent years.
The term "sexually transmitted diseases" indicates that the pathogens are primarily transmitted sexually, most frequently during vaginal and anal intercourse as well as oral sex. Most pathogens are transmitted to the partner during contact with ulcers or inflamed, infectious skin lesions (e.g. herpes blisters, genital warts or syphilis ulcers), even if there is no penetrative vaginal or anal intercourse.

How can I protect myself?

Condoms and femidoms protect against sexual transmission of HIV and reduce the risk of transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases, but do not completely rule them out. Vaccination offers the best protection against hepatitis A and B and HPV.

As there are often no symptoms or symptoms are not noticed, it is important to be tested and, if necessary, treated when changing partners. If an infection is diagnosed, it makes sense to inform your partner so that they can also be treated to prevent re-infection.

What complaints do STIs cause?

Sexually transmitted infections can often remain completely asymptomatic, be asymptomatic or be associated with a wide variety of symptoms. Symptoms that may indicate an STI are
Non-specific symptoms such as persistent fatigue, fever of unknown cause or a general feeling of illness are also possible.

How do I find out if I am infected? How long does it take?

Es ist sinnvoll, für Untersuchungen und Behandlungen eine Teststelle oder einen Arzt/Aerztin aufzusuchen, die mit dem Thema vertraut sind. Gewöhnlich braucht man einen Abstrich aus der Scheide oder Harnröhre (evtl vom Anus) und aus dem Rachen, sowie eine Blutprobe, um die wichtigsten Tests durchzuführen. Das Testresultat liegt in wenigen Tagen vor.

Wie kann man STIs behandeln?

Most STIs can be treated well and thus cured. Bacterial STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, mycoplasma genitalium and syphilis are treated with antibiotics. Drugs are also available for viral diseases, in particular for HIV, a lifelong effective therapy that is taken daily and under which people with HIV are no longer infectious. A cured or treated infection does not protect against re-infection (exceptions are hepatitis A and B).

Which STIs are tested at get-checked?

We primarily test the so-called 'Big 5'

From a swab (throat, genital if necessary, anal)

1. chlamydia
2. gonorrhea (gonorrhea)

And from a blood sample

3. HIV
4. Syphilis
5. hepatitis B (no test if vaccinated)

Additional tests depending on the individual situation (decided by the doctor or consultant):

– Hepatitis C
– Hepatitis A
- Ureaplasma/mycoplasma (mostly harmless genital colonizers)
- Herpes simplex virus (HSV) 1 and 2
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
– Trichomonas vaginalis
- Further infections in case of complaints e.g. ulcer according to doctor