STD / STI in Singapore
STD stands for sexually transmitted disease. STI stands for sexually transmissible infection.
Conceptually, there may be slight differences between the 2 terms but in most instances, the 2 terms can be used interchangeably. Both refer to infections which a patient catches from another through various forms of sexual contact, including oral, vaginal or anal sex. Sharing of sex toys does not carry a significant risk for HIV, but may constitute a risk for other STDs.
In Singapore, the more commonly encountered STIs include:
- Gonorrhoea ( sometimes spelled ‘gonorrhea’ )
- Chlamydia ( not all types of chlamydia are considered STIs )
- NSU ( non-specific urethritis ), which may be caused by Mycoplasma hominis or Ureaplasma urealyticum, amongst others.
- Syphilis / Venereal disease
- Herpes / Genital herpes
- Genital warts ( caused by HPV, human papillomavirus )
- Molluscum contagiosum
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
Parasites / Protozoa
- Pubic lice ( ‘Crabs’ )
Other conditions sometimes associated with sex or intimate contact ( but are not necessarily considered STDs ):
- Oral Herpes / Cold Sores
- Urinary tract infections
- Candidiasis / Thrush
- Bacterial vaginosis ( female )
- Prostatitis ( male ) – inflammation or infection in the prostate
- Epididymo-orchitis ( male ) – inflammation in the testes and male tubes
- PID / pelvic inflammmatory disease ( female ) – inflammation in the Fallopian ( female ) tubes
Some infections, such as HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and syphilis, may also be transmitted through non-sexual routes. These may include mother-to-child ( vertical ) transmission, occupational exposures from contact with blood ( eg. laboratory personnel, police or prison officers, healthcare workers ), infections in recipients of blood transfusions or organ transplants and infections amongst intravenous drug users who share needles.
So, how would I know if I have an STD or STI?
Symptoms of STDs, such as painful urination or discharge from the urethra or vagina, may alert you to the presence of infection. However, many patients with STDs do not have any symptoms. These carriers are still capable of passing the infection on to their partners.
Getting a screening test done will be a more reliable way to tell if you have been infected after sexual exposure. The list of available tests can be found here.
Of course, preventing yourself from getting an STD or STI is still the best plan. Here’s what we suggest.
What happens if I have an STD?
Majority of STDs can be treated. It is important to get treated early to reduce the chances of spreading the infection and to minimise the risk of complications and long term problems. A write up on available treatments can be found here.