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Let’s talk about sex, or more specifically sexually transmitted diseases

This article published by Today Online in conjunction with some feedback that we have been getting from IMC has made it clear to our team at Expat Insurance that it’s time that we had a chat. Let’s talk about sex, or more specifically sexually transmitted diseases. They are on the rise in Singapore, especially among younger age groups. This spike has been attributed to dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble. It also indicates that a younger demographic who are single and don’t have families are moving to Singapore. Whatever life stage you are at, make sure that you have medical insurance if you are living here. Let us know today if you need any help with that.

Can I claim for treatment of my STIs on my insurance?

If you catch one of these nasties, it can put you in a difficult situation when it comes to what you can claim on your health insurance. Using contraception does not guarantee that you will not contract any STIs and the oral contraceptive pill will only stop you from getting pregnant. If you aren’t monogamous, do the right thing by all your partners and make sure that you are going for sexual health check-ups regularly and that you use condoms. If you have any shadow of a doubt about what you should be doing, please contact your GP and have a chat to them. IMC has some amazing doctors from all over the world, so contact them here if you need to book an appointment.

What are the most common STIs in Singapore?

Let’s run through some of the most common STIs in Singapore, how dangerous they are and how they can be treated. We also understand questions about this can be a bit sensitive, so we’ll advise at this juncture to check your policy and book an appointment with your GP if you need to.

Syphilis

Primary syphilis occurs 9 – 90 days after infection and can be detected by a rash or sores around the genital area. It can be treated very easily with penicillin and/or antibiotics if caught early. Treatment to full recovery is easy if caught in the primary or secondary stages (up to about two years) but anything after that, the disease can cause irreparable brain and organ damage. Make sure that you have adequate medical cover and call your GP if you have any sneaking suspicions at all.

Chlamydia

This is the most ‘popular’ STI in Singapore with the last available statistics advising that around 3000 people contracted it in 2106. This is a tricky one because it can be symptomless, particularly in women. It can cause pelvic pain and difficulty urinating for both sexes. These symptoms, if any, can start to appear weeks after it has been contracted and can be treated with antibiotics. Because it can be passed between both partners without symptoms, make sure anyone that you have slept with knows if you have it. Chlamydia can be catastrophic for women causing inflammation of the reproductive organs and infertility. Very subtle, but very scary especially for the ladies. Make sure that you have your health insurance sorted and give IMC a call if you have any worries.

Genital Herpes

There are two types of the herpes simplex virus – HSV -1 and HSV -2. HSV -1 is commonly known as ‘cold sores’ which appear on the lips and face. More than half of the population have come into contact with the virus at some point in their lives. The HSV -1 virus can spread to the genitals through oral sex and most genital infections are caused by the HSV -2 virus. While Genital herpes can be uncomfortable and sore, it is only dangerous to newborn infants. Most people have been exposed to the virus – most likely the HSV -1 – at some point in their lives without it flaring up. Using condoms can reduce the risk, but it isn’t 100% effective. If you have HSV 1 or 2, don’t have sex or oral sex until the symptoms have gone away and be honest with your partner if you suspect anything so that they can get tested. See your GP if you have any questions at all.

HIV and AIDS

There were just over 300 new cases of HIV reported in Singapore last year. Sexual intercourse remained the largest mode of infection. 93% per cent of the cases are male, with 62% aged between 20 – 49. Breaking that down further, 43% per cent of these men were heterosexual which accounts for straight, male sex among young men being the highest carriers of HIV in Singapore.

HIV is deadly, easily transmittable, expensive to manage and there is no cure. If you have had unprotected sex, book yourself in for a sexual health check with your GP.

We hope this has been helpful and if you have any questions about what is covered on your plan, give us a call. The most important thing to remember is that if you have multiple partners, get a regular sexual health check and make sure that you have a comprehensive health insurance policy. If you have an STD, make sure you come clean and tell your partners.

Be safe!