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What Are Sexually Transmitted Infections? What are STIs?

A sexually transmitted infection caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites is called a sexually transmitted infection or STI. Its symptoms usually start in the genital area and may spread throughout the entire body. 

Also Read: What are the 10 Major Sexually Transmitted Diseases – STDs

How Does a Person Acquire STIs?

Sexually transmitted infections are spread mainly through unprotected sex. STIs have a profound impact on health. If left untreated, they can lead to serious consequences including neurological and cardiovascular disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, and increased risk of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). They are also associated with stigma, and domestic violence and affect the quality of life. (Source)

Also Read: All About Pubic Lice: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, Facts


  1.  Unusual discharge from the vagina or penis.
  2. Pain or burning feeling during urination.
  3. Unusual lumps or skin growths around the genitals or bottom (anus)
  4. Itchy genitals or rash on the anus.
  5. Blisters, warts, or sores around genitals.

7 Less common STIs that you don’t know about

Now, let us check out the 7 less common STIs that have a high chance of being spread among individuals: 

1. Lymphogranuloma Venereum

It is a chronic infection that affects the entire lymphatic system. It is caused by three strains of bacteria, one of which is the strain that causes genital chlamydia.

The symptoms begin with lower abdominal pain, diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes, and painful bowel movements. It is important to consider a doctor right away as it spreads fast and just keeps getting worse. 

2. Trichomoniasis

Worldwide, trichomoniasis is the most common non-viral STI, with millions of cases in the world each year—more than chlamydia and gonorrhea combined. It is most common in black ethnic people than in other populations.

Trichomoniasis can infect the genital area and cause a greenish-yellow, “foamy” vaginal discharge, penile discharge, painful urination, genital itching, and abdominal discomfort. However, as with many STIs, there are usually no symptoms. It can be fully cured with antibiotic treatment.

Also Read: Trichomoniasis: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

3. Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Antibiotics do not work for CMV. It is a virus that is related to the virus that causes chickenpox, herpes simplex, and mononucleosis. It starts to spread from person to person through bodily fluids such as blood, saliva, urine, semen, and breast milk. It can also spread through sexual contact, breastfeeding, organ transplants, and the placenta.

Most people have no symptoms. But in acute cases, CMV can cause monotype symptoms such as fever, sore throat, loss of appetite, fatigue, and enlarged lymph nodes.

4. Chancroid

This infection causes sores to start as small bumps and can grow into ulcers that can be two inches wide within two days. Painful sex or bleeding during intercourse are the two main symptoms. Trouble during urination and bleeding while not being on period are other symptoms. In order to diagnose it, most doctors can see ulcers, but sometimes they need a test.

5. Shigella

Shigella is the name given to a group of bacteria that cause gastroenteritis, a common condition that causes diarrhea and vomiting, and dysentery. It spread through infected feces, especially caused by contaminated food or water. Gay men are particularly at risk because it can be sexually transmitted through anus contact or contact with sex toys, fingers, or genitals that may have infected fecal material on them.

6. Cystitis

Cystitis causes inflammation of the bladder. It affects more women than men and can occur at any age. This is the most common type of urinary tract infection (UTI), especially in women.

Cystitis in children can be serious. If your child has any symptoms, take them to the doctor as soon as possible. If left untreated, cystitis can lead to a serious kidney infection.

Women with diabetes are at higher risk to get cystitis.

7. Donovanosis

This infection causes painless and treatable sores. The most common type of sores caused by this STI is fleshy and red and bleeding when touched.

Donovanosis has been shown to be a risk factor for HIV transmission due to ulcer bleeding. Mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions, males are affected twice as often as females. Kids are least likely to be infected by donovanosis. 

Protection Methods:

  1. Use condoms correctly and consistently.
  2. Screening with early diagnosis of people with STIs and their sexual partners offers the best opportunity for effective treatment.
  3.  Avoid sexual activities as much as possible during treatment and for some days after treatment for your and your partner’s health’s sake. 

These are 7 common sexually transmitted infections

Also Read: What is Bacterial Vaginosis? How it is caused; its symptoms and treatment