Categorized | National News

STI Cases Increase

The 15 to 24 age bracket is the most sexually active in The Bahamas and also accounts for the highest number of sexually transmitted infections, according to Coordinator of the Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Committee Larrie Williams-Ferguson.

Mrs. Ferguson added that there has also been a rise in syphilis infections among this particular group between 2008 and so far for 2014.

She was unable to provide a percentage for the rise in syphilis as the data is still being calculated.

However, Mrs. Ferguson said the number of gonorrhoea cases has decreased and that there was also a decrease in chlamydia infections by 23 per cent.

Despite the drop, she said chlamydia cases remains prevalent.

“Chlamydia is really prevalent in The Bahamas, throughout the United States and in the western world,” she said.

“Reason being, in about 75 per cent of females, chlamydia will have no symptoms and you may have 50 per cent of males not having any symptoms. If you have no symptoms there’s not need to go for care, hence the reason we have this awareness for people to talk about screening. If you’re under 25 and you’re sexually active by all means get screened.”

The Bahama Journal met with Mrs. Ferguson during the official opening of the first annual sexually transmitted disease awareness ceremony, held at the Royal Victoria Gardens yesterday.

She said stigma and discrimination from society continue to discourage Bahamians from getting tested and seeking care.

“Quite often they are afraid, especially young people, they may have something wrong but they’re afraid to say it to their parents and may be afraid to say to healthcare providers for fear of them being judged,” she said.

“Part of this awareness is to encourage and to tell them that we’re not here to judge you. The same way you get your blood pressure and diabetes treated, we want you come in and deal with your sexual health.”

Ms. Ferguson said education is the key to empowering Bahamians towards protecting themselves and in order to guard oneself from STI’s, one must abstain, use protection and most importantly know their partner because condoms simply cannot protect an individual from everything.

“Looking at genital warts and herpes, the lesions are not always in the genital tract,” she said.

“You put the condom over the penis but normally with genital warts and herpes it can be a skin to skin contact. Just by foreplay or simply rubbing you can contact the STI.

The STI Committee with the Department of Public Health have planned a number of events to heighten STI awareness this month.

These include conducting presentations at a number of schools, erecting educational displays in clinics, hosting a symposium and weekly radio talk shows among other initiatives.

There are at least 25 different sexually transmitted infections including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV, and hepatitis B just to name a few.

STI’s are some of the most common infections around the world and affect people of all ages, races, and sexuality.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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