Dr Donna’s Advice on Sexual Health In Bangkok
Living in Bangkok & Sexual Health:
Sexual health is important in fitness and well-being. Although sexual health can be viewed as a somewhat taboo or embarrassing topic, there are many sexual transmitted infections (STIs) that can be cured with a simple antibiotic if caught early enough, and while that is not the case with all STIs, receiving the earliest possible treatment for any condition will lead to the best possible results. If you have been exposed to a STI, or even if there is a chance you have been, it is important to undergo some simple medical checks. Many STIs can lay dormant, so you have no symptoms, until the disease progresses where treatment may be more extensive and expensive, not to mention there may be much more serious effects on a person's health. STI checks are safe, easy, and kept confidential at MedConsult.
HIV can be spread through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex, this is because of an exchange of bodily fluids such as semen and also blood from any tissue tears. The chance of contracting HIV increases with the presence of other STDs, so regular check ups are important. At present there are effective anti-viral drugs that are available these makes it possible to have HIV and lead a normal life.
If you have unprotected sex and fear that you may have been exposed to HIV it’s important to seek immediate medical attention, in the right circumstances a Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) can be performed. PEP involves taking anti-HIV drugs as soon as possible after being exposed. To be effective PEP must be done within 72 hours of exposure before the virus has time to rapidly replicate itself in the body. It consists of 2-3 antiretroviral medications which needs to be taken for about 28 days.
You can get PEP from most clinics or the International hospitals, in my clinic MedConsult located centrally on Soi 49 we offer PEP and also comprehensive HIV and STD testing. I feel that is it important to increase awareness about the availability of PEP as it can be a very effective treatment to prevent contracting HIV. Of course the most sure way would be to use protection- but lets face it, we all make mistakes. HIV tests cost 380 Baht and PEP treatment is approximately 1300 Baht for one month's supply of medicine.
In the most conflicting cases people can catch HIV from a trusted partner like a husband or boyfriend. Often long-term couples use another means of contraception as opposed to condom usage. This can have devastating consequences if one person in the relationship has a transgression even if it’s only short lived. Again a PEP can be used in the case of unsafe sex, or if the condom broke. If you are not sure whether your partner has been exposed to HIV then the best thing to do is come in to MedConsult International Clinic and get checked out.
As well as HIV, Chlamydia can be a disease that you may contract and never realize you have it. In woman, Chlamydia often doesn't present with any noticeable symptoms yet it can render you infertile. For this reason, it is such a devastating disease. If caught early on, the disease is treatable and there it is unlikely that there will be any lasting effects. This relies on you to be vigilant and seeking medical attention at any early stage. Chlamydia is one of the most common STDs, and because of its silent nature many people are unknowingly affected by the disease. This can be tested at MedConsult for 200 Baht.
Herpes is a common disease and can be painful and distressing for both men and women. Essentially, it is a viral infection and thus antiviral treatment is needed to combat the virus. Herpes is a disease which can have misleading symptoms that are often mistaken for skin conditions. Because of this many people who carry the virus are usually unaware of it. When symptoms do present, a few blisters around the genitals or mouth may be seen and these can break to leave painful sores. These outbreaks may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Although there is no absolute cure for genital herpes, anti-viral treatments can significantly shorten the length of outbreaks or prevent them from occurring altogether.
Gonorrhea is another STD who is often silent and symptomless. But when the symptoms do occur, they can be described as a burning sensation when urinating, discharge from the vagina or penis, anal itching and painful bowel movements. It is possible to stop the infection, but it is not possible to undo any permanent damage caused by the disease, including infertility. Testing of Gonnorhea costs 200 Baht at MedConsult.
90% of genital warts are caused by HPV 6 or 11. Treatment of genital warts should be guided by the preference of the patient; common treatments are aldara cream, duofilm, collomack, cryothereapy and curettage. In 2009, Gardasil was approved for use in males ages 9 through to 26. Gardasil is used to prevent cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers and pre-cancers caused by HPV 16 and 18, as well as genital warts caused by HPV 6 and 11.
Sexual health does not only refer to STI checks. For women, an important aspect of sexual health is having regular Pap smears. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all women who are sexually active or between the ages of 21 and 65 years of age (regardless of sexual history) have a Pap smear done annually. A pap smear can detect changes in cervical cells in precancerous stages. This means a pap smear can help to prevent the development of cervical cancer For more information on Sexual Health Checks (STI checks or pap smears) or to make an appointment please call MedConsult Clinic at 02 018 7855. We find that the Thai Red Cross Anonymous clinic offers excellent diagnositic and treatments for HIV.