Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo, Programme Manager for the National AIDS/STI Control Programme, has urged the public to seek medical treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) as failure to do so increases their risk to contract the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Dr Ayisi Addo who was speaking at the Ghana News Agency’s Tema Regional Office’s monthly Stakeholders’ meeting, said 2020 HIV prevalence rate among people with STIs was high at 10 per cent, an indication that not treating them served as a catalyst to being infected with HIV.
He therefore advised the public to immediately seek medical attention to treat the STIs such as syphilis, and gonorrhoea among others, adding that both partners must receive the needed treatment and complete the treatment.
According to him, symptoms to consider for STIs included abnormal vaginal or penis discharge, blisters and swellings at genitals, ulcers, severe pain in use of genitals either during urination or sex.
He said, “we are not seeing increase in the use of condoms this is leading to an increase in STI and its subsequent result in HIV contraction.”
He added that most young people often relied on emergency contraceptives after having unprotected sex, and cautioned that “emergency contraceptives do not prevent HIV and STIs, therefore there is the need for condom use.”
He expressed worry that many young persons were contracting HIV and therefore there was the need for stakeholders to protect them especially the females who were most vulnerable.
Dr Ayisi Addo called for empowerment of the females to make them less vulnerable and be protected saying, “we need to protect the young people to secure our future as a country.”
The National HIV/STI Control Programme Manager said rape and defilement was a high-risk activity for females as through the struggles their vagina could be bruised as it was very delicate.
He noted that the female reproductive system especially the vagina was a receptacle that retains fluid and could therefore easily receive the virus.