STI diagnosis and treatment

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are diseases passed on from one person to another through unprotected sex (sex without a condom) or sometimes through genital contact. The infections are caused by bacteria, parasites or viruses from infected semen, vaginal fluids or blood during sexual activity. Some STI’s can also be spread by skin-to-skin contact or by unclean needles used for injecting drugs. Anybody who is sexually active is at risk for getting an STI. More than half of all people will have an STI at some point in their lives.
The methods of diagnosis for the different STIs are not the same.  When you go to a doctor to be tested for an STI, they should start by asking you questions about your risk factors. After assessing what diseases you are at risk for, they will test you for those conditions, either by taking a blood sample or a vaginal/cervical swab.
Anyone with a new partner or multiple partners should be screened for HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea. HIV and Syphilis screening, is recommended for pregnant women and is currently common practice throughout the Caribbean as part of the Elimination Initiative.  
In the Caribbean, STI screening is mainly available through government run health centres, clinics and hospitals, Family Planning Clinics and private clinics and hospitals
Treatment for STIs, including the use of antibiotics, varies according to the disease and its symptoms.  Only a health provider is qualified to provide treatment, which should be taken following their instructions.

For more information visit the following websites:
 www.usaid.gov/caribbean
www.unaidscaribbean.org
www.caribcas.org
www.unicef.org/lac/Regional_Monitoring_Strategy
www.paho.org