Sexual Health

What are RTI and STI? 

RTI stands for Reproductive Tract Infection. It refers to infections that affect the reproductive tract and are caused by an overgrowth of organisms that are normally present in the vagina or when bacteria or micro-organisms are introduced into the reproductive tract during sexual contact or through medical procedures. STI stands for Sexually Transmitted Infection, refers to infections transmitted through sexual contact.


How can one know if one has a sexually transmitted infection?

As the name suggests, an STI is transmitted through unsafe sex with an infected person. Symptoms of STIs vary and can appear within 1 week of exposure to 3 weeks. Symptoms of STI for men are quite easy to spot, usually appearing in/around the genital area. In women, many STIs may not manifest symptoms initially. In men, symptoms include yellow/white discharge from the penis, inflammation of the testicles and prostate gland. A common symptom in women is a change in vaginal discharge - it may increase, become yellow or greenish, or develop a foul smell. Other symptoms common to all include boils/ blisters/ rashes, burning during urination and irritation and/or discharge from the anus. You can get a blood test for STIs at any government hospital or Marie Stopes Centre. Untreated STIs can cause cervical and other cancers, chronic hepatitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and other complications. However, when diagnosed and treated early, almost all STIs are completely curable.


How is HIV transmitted?

There are four routes of transmission for HIV:

1. Unprotected sex with an infected person.

2. Infected mother to child, either during pregnancy, delivery or through breast feeding.

3. Through contaminated blood and blood products (including organ and tissue transplants)

4. Sharing of unsterilized used infected needles, syringes and other medical equipment like dentists’ instruments.



The procedure is simple. The health care provider simply swabs vinegar, i.e. acetic acid on the cervix and looks for areas that change color. Normal cervical tissue remains unaffected by the acetic acid, but damaged tissue- such as that found in pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions- turns white. The provuder can then remove the damaged tissue on the spot using cryotherapy or other techniques, or they can perform a biopsy for further follow-up. 

Visual insception of the cervix using acetic acid means looking at the cervix with a naked eye a detect abnormalities after application of dilute (3-5%) acetic acid or vinegar or 19 ml of normal/distill water and 1 ml acetic acid. The area that is abnormal turns acetowhite, which shows that it may have precancerous lesions. VIA is recommended practive for low resourse settings compared to other screening test such as Pap smear. 

Since screening and treatment are done ar the same visit, there is no need to wait for results and return to the doctor/providers

  • It is safe, inexpensive and easy to perform. 
  • The test performance is similar to other tests used for cervical cancer screening.
  • It is non-invasive and effectively identifies many precancerous lesions.
  • It can be learned and provided by almost all health professionals at all levels of the health care system.
  • it provides immediate results on which decisions about management 9treatment or referral) based.
  • Most equipment and supplies for this service are locally available
  • Instant treatment (cryotherapy) can be linked to this type of screening to offer women screening and treatment in a single visit.
  • VIA and treatment by cryotherapy as a SIngle Visit Approach (SVA)

Target population: Women aged between 25-60 years (this is as per the Nepal Government)

All women will be screened who attend the health centres/who are in target group (This is as per government).

Regardless of HIV status all women will be screened for cervical cancer. 

To know more about VIA & Cryotherapy services in our Marie Stopes Centres, call our Meri Saathi Free Helpline Numbers on 16600119756 or 9801119756. 



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