Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can come with a lot of burdens on the patient. The challenges include both social and economic ones. However, living with STIs should not stop people from living healthily. With the right approach in terms of care and treatment, you should expect to live as long as anyone who does not have STIs.
Without healthy practices, people living with STIs can develop and/or experience a lot of health complications such as having multiple STIs and infertility if not treated in good time. These are the practices and daily habits that can help you leave happily long with the STIs by maintaining a strong immune system for overall wellbeing and health:
Practicing safe sex at all times
STIs and/or STDs are transmitted through sexual contact between sex partners. A person living with STIs should use condoms correctly to avoid spreading the infections to another person with no STI.
Also, a person living with STI needs safe sex to avoid getting another type of infection. Even sexual intercourse between people living with STIs can lead to multiplication and buildup of the infections among partners. Safe sex should be practiced at all times.
Regular testing for other STIs or STDs
Most STIs have zero symptoms, therefore, testing for the possibility of having another STI is key to leaving healthily. For instance, having different infections such as syphilis can worsen the HIV status of an individual who is HIV-positive by making it progress rapidly.
Also, a syphilis-infected person who has HIV but is not aware can also get some complications as HIV makes it difficult to treat other STDs. To keep good health on track, getting frequent testing is the best way to know and maintain a healthy life.
Avoid any other form of STI or illness
STIs such as HIV is a great burden by themselves. Adding another burden of infections/STIs would deteriorate your health further. For example, HIV makes the immune system so weak making the patient more susceptible to every bacteria, germ, and virus.
Additional infections such as gonorrhea can easily kill an HIV-positive person than a person who is HIV-free. Avoid other forms of illness when already having infections because of the weak immune system. Wash your hands regularly to avoid water-borne diseases such as cholera.
Always go for any necessary vaccinations to reduce the chances of getting the preventable illness.
Follow medication guidance and medical prescription
When living with STI, strictly follow the doctor’s instructions and the prescriptions given to you. Skipping taking drugs can worsen your health wellbeing as the infections (virus or bacteria) can become resistant to the drug thereafter making your immunity weak to protect the body. Ensure you adhere to the doctor’s instructions and prescription given.
Avoid drug and alcohol abuse
Abusing drugs can lead to a number of social challenges and irresponsibility. A person living with STIs when under the influence of excessive alcohol can easily engage in unsafe sex. Some illegal drugs can also weaken the immune system.
Avoiding drug abuse will help you to remain sober and make sound decisions before engaging in sex or making personal health-related actions.
Also, certain anti-STD drugs can react with illegal drugs and alcohol to cause some serious side effects such as dizziness. Excessive alcohol is dangerous, and if you have to take alcohol while having STI, have a candid conversation and consultations with your doctor or health professional for further guidance.
Too much alcohol can influence your medication behaviors as you can start skipping anti-STI drugs such as ARVs for HIV/AIDS.
Quitting cigarettes and tobacco is a great benefit to your health as it reduces a number of health problems and risks such as lung cancer, heart attack, and stroke.
Smoking has several impacts on health and persons living with STIs who smoke are more likely exposed to the following health problems than people with STIs who do not smoke:
- Develop different kinds of cancers such as lung cancer, cervical and anal cancers, and head and neck cancers among other cancers.
- Develop heart diseases and bacterial pneumonia.
- Develop health problems affecting the mouth such as oral hairy leukoplakia and oral candidiasis.
- Reduced lifespan.
- Develop a poor response to STI and or STD treatment
- Attract other infections more easily.
Manage physical, psychological, and emotional wellbeing
People living with STIs are usually facing distress and depression. Accepting STIs as any other health condition can help you avoid stress-related STD infections. Usually, stress and depression can deteriorate physical health conditions like heart diseases.
Always ensure you maintain psychological and emotional wellbeing through psychosocial and mental health support. Consult a mental health professional for counseling.
Regular physical activity
Excise your body and mind to keep your entire body system strong. Regular exercise such as running, digging, walking, and games keep you fit, keeping off both depression and stress at bay.
Physical exercise is also a good immune system booster. Exercise your mind through video games enhances your memory, concentration, attention, and critical thinking. Other benefits of regular exercise include: increasing your endurance, strength, fitness, and energy levels; improving mood while reducing risks of depression.
Physical exercises are key. And people living with STIs can do the same exercises as people who do not have STIs. It is good to come up with a physical activity schedule and commit to it.
Healthy diet is key to managing your STI conditions and overall health and wellbeing. For a well-balanced diet, you can consider consulting a health professional to guide you whenever possible. They can even refer you to a nutritionist or dietitian who can provide a comprehensive guideline on your nutrition uptake.
Adopting a healthy eating schedule and habits has several benefits such as:
- Provide sufficient energy and needed nutrients to the body in order to effectively fight infections.
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
- Managing the signs and symptoms for those STIs that can show signs.
- Helps in the effective absorption of medicines and also any side effects that might surface thereafter.
HP Thoughts: Raising your awareness will give you a better understanding of good health care and self-maintenance. View our article for more information — Factors to Raise Health Awareness.
The choice of living healthy and long with STIs is solely within your control. Enjoy a healthy lifestyle and you will keep the STIs under your full control and authority. It all lies with your daily activities, diet, and mindset.