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    Kveta Kopecká Registered Nurse

    Intimate health is a topic that needs to be talked about

    On a subject like health, we need to ask more and more questions, as we have in the past. Why take responsibility for your health into your own hands? What all goes into building a relationship with your own health? Why is prevention important? What is the role of self-education?

    It is not only with all these questions that one comes to confront during one’s lifetime. But in order to be able to ask the right questions at all, it is important to realise that we need to have a certain level of knowledge about the functioning of our own body.

    If we look objectively, nothing is happening to advance sex education or to expand health education in Slovakia. And this is a common problem we encounter in everyday practice. People don’t know how their own body works, how the different organ systems work and how they are interconnected. Of course, we do not expect expertise in the anatomy and pathology of the organism, but often these are deficiencies at an elementary level.

    What is health anyway? Health is defined by the WHO as: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Already with this definition we can notice that it is the interconnection of all aspects of the body’s functioning with regard to health. In today’s 21. century, we increasingly need to realise that a holistic, that is, a holistic view of health must be a given, and that each individual has health in his or her own hands. It is only then that we can see prevention in the area of our own health as a benefit to ourselves.

    Prevention, i.e. the avoidance of disease, is divided into:
    • Primary, i.e. a set of activities to reduce exposure to risk or reduce the incidence of new diseases (e.g. vaccination, health education, self-examination, …),
    • secondary, a set of activities that serve to catch the disease and prevent its further spread (collection of biological material, various types of testing methods, …)
    • tertiary, it is already a set of activities aimed at preventing complications and worsening of the disease.
    So, since we know what prevention is, let’s take a closer look at it from the perspective of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) – as the name suggests, these are diseases whose mode of transmission, i.e. infection, is unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sexual intercourse. The prevention of sexually transmitted diseases can be divided into the following points:
    • genital and breast self-examinations, this is the fastest and most effective way to find out the level of our intimate health (breast and testicular examinations can be done regularly in the natural environment of the home without unnecessary stress),
    • Genital and breast examinations by a doctor, regular preventive gynaecological, urological and venereological check-ups play an important role in the prevention of cancer, sexually transmitted diseases and we must not underestimate their importance,
    • HPV vaccination (HPV virus – causes an increased likelihood of developing various types of cancer),
    • the use of condoms, also as a tool to protect your own health.
    It is often forgotten that we can also have a targeted preventive examination by a dermatovenerologist or a venereologist. Dermatovenerology, more commonly known as “dermatology,” is a medical specialty concerned with skin diseases and their treatment, but is not often known for its focused attention on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Every preventive, but also targeted examination (i.e. when the individual already has some symptoms) consists of taking a medical history (i.e. a thorough interview with the patient) and then taking biological material. Subsequently, the collected material is examined in the laboratory for various types of jaundice, HIV, syphilis, gonorrhoea, HPV virus and various types of other microorganisms that cause various symptoms and discomforts. But we cannot forget that these symptoms may not even appear at all at the beginning of a possible disease.

    So let us always remember that we have the responsibility for our health in our own hands and let us link our sex life and prevention in it as one of our priorities. After all, even Maslow, in his pyramid of needs, included sex life among our basic needs, so let us also include prevention among our basic priorities.