What are STI carriers?

You’ve probably heard people use the term STI carrier before and wondered what it really means. Could you be an STI carrier? Let’s unpack this term to find out.

Not all STIs are the same

Sexually Transmitted Infections are all caused by different types of organisms. Some are caused by viruses, like HIV and HPV, while others are caused by bacteria (Chlamydia) or parasites (pubic lice). This means that different types of STIs will show up differently when someone’s infected with them and others, like HPV, HIV and herpes, may not have any visible symptoms – making it more likely for people to infect others without even knowing.

What is a carrier?

The word carrier simply means someone who already has a certain Sexually Transmitted Infection (whether they’re aware or not).

When it comes to certain STIs, people who have the disease for a long period of time without experiencing any symptoms, are called carriers. For example, in many instances a woman can be infected with gonorrhoea and not have any symptoms. I’ve also spoken about how some people can live with HIV for up to 15 years without knowing or showing symptoms.

Prevent infection

If you’re sexually active, then the best way to prevent getting infected with any STIs, is to make sure you use condoms every time you have sex. Having multiple sexual partners at the same time increases the risk of contracting Sexually Transmitted Infections, Choma, so I really advise against it. It’s also important to make sure you use condoms even during oral sex as some infections can be passed on this way.

Get tested

The issue with unaware carriers is that they’re more likely to transmit (pass on) whatever infection they’re carrying. This is why it’s very important for you and your partner to get tested for HIV and screened for other STIs frequently. Remember, someone who cares about you will also care about your health.

A lot of people carry STIs without knowing, which means that they can also pass them on to their sexual partners. It’s important to always get tested so that you can get treated if you do have an infection. Protect yourself from STI and HIV infection by using condoms every time you have sex, and not being afraid to have the difficult conversations with your partner. Your health is your responsibility, Choma, take care of it.

Remember if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).