Friday, August 23, 2019

Beat The Bugs: Outsmarting Sexually Transmitted Infections

By Francis Dimaano and Raymond Manahan

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Illustration of Baceria Retrieved from: https://www.needpix.com/photo/1553464/clipart-clipart-illustration-graphic-cartoon-germs-bacteria-bacterial-virus
Take self-care to the next level.

The Triangle of Self Care doesn’t only apply to HIV. It’s first point, Timely Testing and Treatment is especially relevant to a vast range of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). LoveYourself is now paving the wider road towards a healthier sex life as it offers STI testing, consultation, and treatment services.

STI Testing

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of techniques and procedures that test multiple STIs at once. This makes sure that the treatment to be prescribed completely addresses all possible infections.

Clients who get tested for HIV at LoveYourself Anglo and Uni get tested for Hepatitis B and Syphilis as well. This is because these STIs have the same modes of transmission as HIV, and are also initially asymptomatic.

Hepatitis B is a liver infection which is also commonly transmitted through unprotected sex. Most people with Hepatitis B do not have symptoms and therefore, do not know that they already have it.

Syphilis is a type of STI which early stage is usually characterized by painless sores on or around the genital area, anus, or mouth. Because of its similarity to other STIs, a test is the best way to know if a person has syphilis.

Another type of STI tested at LoveYourself Uni is Gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea or tulo, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), is an STI that infects both males and females. When symptoms are present, it is usually characterized by a white, yellow, or green discharge from the genitalia. Gonorrhea can infect a person’s mouth, genitalia, and anus.

LoveYourself Uni offers free gonorrhea testing for males assigned at birth. People experiencing genital discharge can walk-in and get tested at this community center for free. This service is being done under the supervision of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) through the Enhanced Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Program (EGASP).

STI Consultation

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Bacteria illustration retrieved from:
https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/
view-image.php?image=127967&picture=germs
Self care in the context of STIs always involve a conversation with an expert. Getting the right information empowers us to make sound decisions and plans to manage our sexual health.

LoveYourself is committed to providing safe spaces for people to access the necessary information and improve their sexual health. Two of its community centers, LoveYourself Anglo and Victoria by LoveYourself, offer STI assessment services for males assigned at birth for a just and reasonable fee.

When a client tests reactive to Syphilis at LoveYourself Anglo, they are referred to the medical team for a scheduled consultation. This is where a treatment plan is established, and the medication is prescribed.

You can schedule an appointment at LoveYourself Anglo on Thursdays and Fridays, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. by visiting us at the community center. Six slots are available on each day. The center accepts clients who tested reactive to an STI in other clinics or diagnostic centers, as well as those who suspect they have been exposed to an STI. Consultation for other STIs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes simplex virus are also offered here.

Victoria by LoveYourself also offers STI consultation for clients who have been diagnosed with an STI, and those who suspect they have been exposed.

Consultation fee at LoveYourself Anglo and Victoria by LoveYourself starts at PHP 300.
Victoria by LoveYourself accepts walk-in clients from Saturdays to Wednesdays between 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Dr. Ryel of LoveYourself Uni consulting on Gonorrhea testing
Treatment
STIs grow smarter as more people misuse medication. Medical researchers are now on the move to get ahead of the race against drug resistance, but we all have a role in the fight against STIs.
If a person tests positive for an STI, getting professional medical help and taking medications as prescribed not only effectively manages the infection; it also helps prevent STIs from developing resistance against existing medications and treatment.
Along with consultation and testing, treatment packages are also offered in LoveYourself community centers:
LoveYourself Anglo
For those who tested reactive to Syphilis, once medication has been prescribed, the treatment will be administered according to the schedule set during the consultation. Treatment packages are offered at this community center as well.
Treatment for clients with other STIs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes simplex virus is also offered, in accordance to the consultation done with the doctor.
Treatment schedules are also available on Thursdays and Fridays, from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Victoria by LoveYourself
According to the management plan established during the consultation, treatment will also be administered. Medication will be obtained by the client from an external source.
Treatment schedules are also from Saturdays to Wednesdays between 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
LoveYourself Uni
If a client turns out positive for gonorrhea infection, they are prescribed with medication, and treatment is administered once the medication is purchased from a pharmacy.
LoveYourself, through its core values, “Iniingatan, Inaalagaan, at Inaasikaso”, aims to empower people, especially MSMs, in outsmarting STIs by consulting, getting tested, and accessing treatment.
Taking care of yourself should not be too difficult. There are safe spaces you can visit to get basic information about sexually transmitted infections. Take a step in giving yourself the love you deserve. Visit one of our community centers today. Learn more by clicking here.