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STDs – Bombs behind the bait

Dr. Victor Ti / Khmer Times Share:
When sex overwhelms one’s mind, remember it’s better to be safe than to sob later. Reuters

It’s always due to a reason that things happen.

They usually start off with step No. 1, then to 2, 3 and 4. By the time they reach step No. 10, and when things turn out too bad, one may ask, “Oh my gosh, why did I do that? And now I am so worried about many things. Am I going to get STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)? What are they? Which one?

“Can the disease be cured? Am I going to pass it on to my wife? What is now going to happen to her, and my precious baby, now growing, in her? Will the disease be also passed on to my baby?

“I already have had sex with my wife after my contact with the stranger. How can I be sure that the viruses and bacteria are not in my partner? How am I going to tell her? How is she going to react? What tests should I do? And what is the least that I can do now? Doc, please help me, advise me and do all you can.”

Hidden behind the lure of sex is a gamut of diseases with their horrendous physical, emotional and social torments that should be handled meticulously by an experienced doctor who is understanding, emphatic and non-judgmental. Getting some antibiotics over the counter, popping them into one’s mouth and keeping one’s fingers crossed is far from being adequate. For me, it is gross negligence of the health and well-being of oneself and others.

If for some reason one’s mind is plunged into the realm of hell, then it is time to see your doctor to find a way out as soon as possible. Not doing so may prolong one’s hellish state of mind and suffering for an unnecessary long period of time. That immense stress can lead to the over production of noxious damaging free-radicals in one’s body that may cause the deterioration of one’s immune system and general health.

Perhaps, one may even get a heart attack suddenly if the body’s coping mechanism is overwhelmed. What may happen, often happens. Thus, as far as health is concerned, my professional advice is, “It is better to be safe than to sob later.”

The common STDs in Cambodia are:

Gonorrhoea and chlamydia: Gonorrhoea and chlamydia are mostly transmitted through sexual intercourse, including oral sex. Those infected may experience pain on urination or greenish milky discharge from their genitals. Female carriers who harbour the pathogens of gonorrhoea or chlamydia may not experience any of the symptoms. Failure to treat can result in permanent damage that eventually lead to consequences such as infertility.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) / Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS): HIV infection is the most fearsome of all STD infections. The human immunodeficiency virus causes HIV infection and over time AIDS in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening infections and cancers to thrive. Without treatment, the average survival time after infection with HIV is estimated to be 9 to 11 years.

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV): There are two types: Oral herpes is commonly caused by Type I HSV, a very common disease that affects between 30 percent and 90 percent of the population by the time they reach adulthood. They are usually not transmitted by sex. Genital herpes is usually caused by Type 2 HSV.

Both present with a group of pox-like lesions that rupture easily to form painful shallow ulcers. Herpes ulcers on female genitals often cause excruciating pain. Once infected, the Herpes Simplex Virus remains permanently in the infected person. Please note that some of the HSV tests commonly done by laboratories are now obsolete. The results are inaccurate and often lead to unnecessary severe anxiety among the infected.

Syphilis: Syphilis is a STD that can have very serious complications if left untreated. At the very early stage it manifests as one or more painless sores on the genitals. Later, it may reappear as skin rashes. Also, the person’s lymph nodes might be swollen and s/he could also suffer headaches, muscle aches, weight loss and fatigue. If left untreated for many years, the disease may damage the internal organs such as the brain, eyes, heart, etc. leading to numbness, paralysis, dementia, blindness and heart failure. It can result in death.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): There are about 100 species of HPV viruses. Some cause warts on the skin or genitals. The notorious ones are the No.1 cause of cervical cancer among females in Cambodia. There are vaccines, now available, to prevent infections by certain types of HPVs – the ones that cause warts and cervical cancer.

Hepatitis B and C: Hepatitis B and C are often transmitted through other means such as from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy or delivery, or drug addicts using injectables and sharing contaminated needles, or through blood transfusions. Infected individuals often become lifetime carriers and may suffer chronic liver inflammation that could lead to liver cancer at a later stage of their life.

It is important to note that all individuals infected by one STD should also be screened for other STDS, as they are already exposed to the risk of getting them.

Cambodia, the Kingdom of Wonder, offers cheap beers, massages, night entertainment and good gaming facilities with money falling frequently from heaven for the lucky ones. All these foster a very lively nightlife business that facilitates the transmission of STDs. Indeed, happy hours to mankind are also happy hours for the STD microbes.

Man’s strongest desire is his weakest defense. So beware!

Tons of sandbag barricades may melt with a few extra drops of whisky that tip the balance between one’s tough discipline and the disinhibiting potential of ‘The Elixir of Life’.

Alcohol is a potent disinhibitor of our brain function and control. When the thin line of danger is crossed, the disinhibition potential of ‘The Elixir of Life’ can put one on top of the world for the night and plunge him into hell thereafter.

When sex overwhelms one’s mind during a social event with a new acquaintance, remember my most important professional advice: “Safety first. Wear a ‘safety helmet’.” But it’s not 100 percent safe though. If the ‘safety helmet’ breaks or leaks, or slips, and for some reason one develops signs and symptoms later that suggest an STD infection, it is time to pay a visit to your trusted doctor.

My next column will be on “Hypertension – The No. 1 cause of stroke”.

Dr. Victor Ti, MD, MFAM (Malaysia), FRACGP (Australia), Dip P Dermatology (UK), Dip STDs/AIDS (Thailand), Dip. AARAM (USA), LCP of Aesthetic Med.(Malaysia) is an experienced expat specialist generalist (Family Physician) of BH Clinic, Phnom Penh. As a specialist generalist, he is skillful at diagnosing all general diseases and excluding the sinister ones. Apart from the general diseases, Dr. Victor is also known for his skill in skin diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, minor surgery and aesthetic medicine. He can be contacted via messenger m.me/bhclinic1, Tel: 023900446 or Whatsapp: +60164122977

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