STD Awareness in a Digital World – Jamaica Observer

Sexually active people are encouraged to get tested every six months, whether or not they have symptoms. Screening for STDs doesn’t have to be a difficult and inconvenient task.

ACCORDING to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than one million sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STDs) are contracted worldwide every day. It is crucial for those who are sexually active to understand the the importance of safer sex and how to protect yourself from the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

What is an STD?

By definition, a sexually transmitted disease or infection is transmitted from one person to another through sexual contact. The type of sexual contact can be vaginal, oral or anal. The only way to completely protect yourself from STDs is to completely abstain from sexual activity. Condoms are a reliable way to protect yourself from contracting and/or transmitting an STD to a sexual partner. Practicing safer sex doesn’t just mean using a barrier method when having sex, it also means making sure you know your status and getting tested frequently while you’re sexually active.

The most common STDs are chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Each infection has its own symptoms and treatment methods, on which you can consult your doctor for more information. Some of the more common symptoms that should raise STD issues include:

• Sores or bumps on the genitals, rectum or mouth

• Sensation of pain or burning when urinating

• Unusual and/or excessive discharge from the penis or vagina

• Unusual vaginal bleeding

• Pain during sexual activity.

If you have one or more of these symptoms, you should contact a doctor – either in person or virtually – for advice on your next steps. This will most likely include getting tested and then moving forward with a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms and eradicate the infection for those that are curable.

Telemedicine and STDs

Consulting a doctor online through telemedicine services is a secure and reliable first step in the diagnosis and management of STDs. With a topic as sensitive as STDs, patients may want a little more privacy when inquiring about their risks or symptoms. Telemedicine provides exactly that. You can get medical advice on how to protect yourself against STDs and explain some of your symptoms to your doctor if you think you have been exposed or are at risk. Also, if there is a sore or lump that worries you, you can use online services to send pictures to your doctor for advice on whether it should be cause for concern or not. Finally, if you already know you have an STD and may face lifelong symptoms or flare-ups, online services can allow you to access fast prescriptions without having to deal with the inconvenience of going to a doctor every time.

Consulting a doctor online through telemedicine services is a safe and reliable first step in the diagnosis and management of STDs

It is important to understand that online health services are completely secure and confidential, and any information you share through these platforms will not be shared with anyone outside of you and your doctor. However, there are huge limitations to using telemedicine services to treat STDs. The main limitation is that in order to confirm that your symptoms are the result of an STD, you will need to perform lab tests, although your symptoms may tick all the boxes for the diagnosis.

STD screening

Sexually active people are encouraged to get tested every six months, whether or not they have symptoms. Screening for STDs doesn’t have to be a difficult and inconvenient task. Many sites offer quick STD tests that get you your results in 30 minutes, rather than waiting days with traditional testing methods.

MDLink adds extra convenience for STD testing by offering rapid testing services at their drive-thru location in Kingston, located at 168 Old Hope Road. Not only will you be able to maintain the privacy you want for these tests, you’ll be able to get results fast – all from the comfort of your car and without the anxieties of crowded waiting rooms.

You are responsible for your sexual health

During STD Awareness Month, and every month after, you need to track your sexual health not only to protect yourself, but also to protect your sexual partner(s). Today’s world of technology gives you access to various conveniences including professional healthcare advice from the comfort of your home as well as rapid tests to master your treatment as soon as possible. Although no shame should be attached to protecting your sexual health, it is extremely important to ensure that you feel safe and comfortable enough in the spaces where you have access to health. Talk to your doctor today about ways to access STD information and treatment, and learn more about how telemedicine can help you as a private and convenient starting point for treatment.

Dr. Ché Bowen, digital health entrepreneur and family physician, is the CEO and founder of MDLink, a digital health company that provides telemedicine options. Visit the Company’s website at www.theMDLink.com. You can also contact him at [email protected]

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