Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or venereal diseases (VD) occur when infections (STIs) pass from one carrier to another through sexual contact. However, some of the diseases can be transmitted through blood transfusions, unsterilized drug needs, and breastfeeding (from mother to infant). STIs represent a challenge because they lead to the occurrence of acute illnesses, infertility in both men and women, long-term disability, death, and psychological consequences. Even though such infections are more prevalent in countries with poor quality healthcare and low income, its adverse impact requires attention from the global healthcare sphere.
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In the United States, STI prevention has taken the form of government policies that regulate the interventions, laws, and other administrative actions or practices. Such policies focus on the assessment and evaluation of a present situation regarding STI and the subsequent implementation of therapeutic and prevention actions (Leichliter, Seiler, & Wohlfeiler, 2016). For instance, expedited partner therapy (EPT) has been used as one of the main tools for delivering treatment to partners diagnosed with an STI. Policies that support EPT implementation have been enforced in more than forty jurisdictions. STI screening policies also play a role in the management and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
Researchers have conducted numerous studies on STI prevention as well as reviewed literature pertinent to this topic. For instance, Low, Broutet, and Turner (2017) collected data on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of STIs. They concluded that STI prevention procedures range from behavioral modifications (abstinence, monogamy, safe sex practices) to extensive education starting from schools. The basis behind effective STI prevention relies on the combination of government-enforced policies and individual practices that can significantly reduce the chances of STI occurrence in the population. While the policies depend on healthcare industry stakeholders, individual procedures are a matter of conscious choice and caution. For instance, when engaging in sexual activities, it is imperative to use contraception, ask potential partners about their history of STIs and STDs, and avoid risky sexual partners and behaviors. As identified previously, testing for STIs is another preventative and treatment measure that will help individuals identify possible infections and treat them immediately.
Leichliter, J. S., Seiler, N., & Wohlfeiler, D. (2016). Sexually transmitted disease prevention policies in the United States: Evidence and opportunities. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 43(2 Suppl 1), 113-121.
Low, N., Broutet, N., Turner, R. (2017). A collection on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of sexually transmitted infections: Call for research papers. PLoS Med, 14(6), 1-23.