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Sexual Health: Why aren't we talking about it?

What stops people from having a conversation about sexual health: Taboo related to it. The World Health Organization defines sexual health as a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. When it comes to conversations about sexual health, a positive and open-minded approach is required. Even in the 21st century, it is considered taboo in many places and societies to speak about sex, sexual health and sexual health problems. 

In India, having a conversation about sex, especially with the elders of the society, is considered embarrassing and immoral. Such a mindset leads to a lack of interaction and knowledge about sexual health and related problems. Such ignorances have a horrendous effect on society. When faced with a problem, youth and women don't communicate or express themselves; the sexual health problems never get addressed, and the patient suffers in isolation. Let’s talk about them.

High-risk sexual behaviour: Indulging in high-risk sexual behaviour leads to various sexual diseases. It is therefore imperative to be aware of these behaviours so that we can protect ourselves and others. 

Unprotected Sex: Indulging in sexual activities like vaginal, anal, or oral sex without a condom increases the chances of getting and HIV and other STD such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis. In the absence of protection, like condoms, the body fluids like blood and semen pass unrestricted from one partner to another during sex. So does the virus and other infections.

Unprotected sex makes you prone to STDs

When it comes to lowering the risk of such transmissions, condoms are your best option. Even though they are not 100% effective, they minimise the risks to a great extent. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is another measure that acts as a guard against HIV. It is a preventive medication consumed by people at risk for HIV. 

Multiple Sexual Partners: It's simple math: the more sexual partners, the more are the chances of getting infected with HIV and other STDs. An individual needs to know the sexual history of the people he is getting involved with. If a person himself is infected with a sexual disease, he/she needs to be exclusive with his / her partner. 

Anal Sex: Anal sex involves inserting the penis, fingers, or a foreign object such as a vibrator into the anus for sexual pleasure. Anal sex is the riskiest form of sex because the lining of the anus is much thinner than the vagina and can be damaged easily. Proper use of latex-based condoms coupled with enough water-or silicone-based lubrication helps in lowering the risks. 

Professional Sex Work: Many people indulge in sexual activities in exchange for money, drugs and even food. Many a time, these workers are offered more money or coerced to give sexual service without condoms. In such a scenario, the chances of getting infected escalate. The only way to lower the risks is not to get involved in such paid sexual activities.   

Treatments for Sexual health problems: Even if one gets infected with STDs there are many forms of treatment available. These treatments cure most of the STDs except HIV where long-term treatment is required. Antibiotics can treat many types of STDs. As a preventive measure, one needs to get tested for STDs regularly at a hospital near them.

Many forms of treatments are available for STDs

To maintain sexual wellness, sex education must break the impediments of ignorance and taboos associated with it. Only then can an individual enjoy a pleasurable sexual life.