How to Protect Yourself from STIs, Including HIV 347
Treatment for STIs when protection fails
It is always best to prevent STIs by practicing safer sex. But
sometimes these methods fail. Condoms can break, or clients
can refuse to use them.
Get early treatment
If you think you have been exposed to an STI, early treatment
can prevent the infection from getting worse. STIs that are not
treated quickly can lead to serious illness and even death.
If possible, have regular exams for
STIs. If you are having signs of an STI—
discharge or bleeding from your vagina,
pain or sores on your genitals, or pain in
your lower belly—see a health worker
trained to treat STIs as soon as possible.
Even if you have no signs of infection, go
to a health center or clinic at least once
a month for treatment if you have unsafe
sex often. If you use condoms every time
you have sex, you may need to visit a
health center less often.
Since you probably do not know what
STIs you have been exposed to, you
should be treated for as many as possible.
Different antibiotics can treat different STIs, so you may need to
take several medicines at once. Remember, no medicine can
cure HIV. See the chapter on “Sexually Transmitted Infections
and Other Infections of the Genitals” for information about how
to treat STIs.
Testing for HIV
If you want to be tested for HIV, see page 288. Check with
your local clinic to see if they have a National AIDS Control
Program. They may have special programs for testing sex
workers for HIV and for treating them if they have AIDS.
IMPORTANT When you take antibiotics to treat STIs, be sure to
take the recommended dose for the full amount of time. If you take
too small an amount, or do not take it for the right number of days,
your signs may go away, but the infection stays in your body and
continues to cause damage. And the next time you try to treat the
infection it will be harder to cure. Then you may need to use other,
more expensive drugs. Many medicines that once worked for STIs are
no longer effective because people used them incorrectly.
➤ STIs that are not
treated quickly can
lead to serious illness
and even death.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012