Sexually Transmissible Infections

Sexually transmissible infections are infectious diseases where the primary mode of transmission is through sexual contact. They may be transmitted from one person to another through blood, semen, vaginal discharge and other body fluids. These infections may also be spread through other nonsexual modes of transmission such as mother to infant during pregnancy or childbirth, sharing of infected needles or infection through blood transfusion. Sexually transmissible diseases are a major public health concern throughout the world that may increase the risk of other life threatening conditions including certain cancers and may also cause congenital anomalies in unborn babies of infected mothers.

Causes of sexually transmissible infections

Sexually transmissible infections can be caused by various viruses, bacteria or protozoa. Common types of STI’s include chlamydia, gonorrhoea, hepatitis B, syphilis, genital warts or human papilloma virus (HPV) which may also cause cervical cancer in women, and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Sexually transmissible infection checks

Sexually transmissible infection checks are diagnostic procedures employed for the identification of the infection. Sometimes the sexually transmissible infection does not cause any symptoms and the infected person can continue to transmit the infection unaware. Early detection of the infection may be helpful for the successful treatment and prevention of further transmission. Diagnostic procedures for identification of common STIs include blood tests, urine test, body fluid sample test and specific screening tests for people prone to the infection. Blood and urine tests are helpful in identifying sexually transmissible infections such as advanced stages of syphilis. Fluid sample testing assists in confirming the type of infection and the causative agent.


Screening refers to the testing of sexually transmissible infections in asymptomatic individuals who are more vulnerable to the infection. Blood and saliva testing is a common screening test for the HIV virus in patients within the age group of 13 -64 years. Screening test for HIV, hepatitis B, chlamydia and syphilis are recommended in pregnant women during the first prenatal visit.  Pregnant women may also be at an increased risk of developing gonorrhoea and hepatitis C. Therefore screening tests for these infections are encouraged during pregnancy. Sexually active women, homosexual men and HIV positive individuals are more prone to the other sexual transmissible infections. Regular screening is advisable for early detection and appropriate management of these infections.

  • Queen's University Belfast
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Syndey
  • Kings College London