Sexual health is a responsibility

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — More than just an expression of romance, making love is also a responsibility.

CNN Philippines anchor Angel Jacob, along with Dr. Freddie Gomez, sat down with Dr. Jose Vicente Prodigalidad, a urologist from the Asian Hospital and Medical Center, and Dr. Airen Sigue, an OB-gynecologist from St. Luke's Medical Center, during an episode of MedTalk on Thursday (February 11) to discuss issues concerning sexual health.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), almost 7,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in the country in the first 10 months of 2015, compared with the 174 people diagnosed with the virus in 2001.

Related: DOH data show HIV cases up in 2015

Prodigalidad said, according to the World Health Organization, sexual health is the physical, mental, and social well-being when it comes to one's sexuality.

Women, Sigue said, were generally more open about discussing issues concerning sexual health especially in social settings where they sit down and talk with other female friends.

She added that when patients come to consult with her, they are usually well-informed when it comes to their health.

In preventing sexually transmitted infections (STI), Sigue cited the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by saying that everyone who engages in sexual intercourse is at risk of contracting an STI.

She said, "Once you're sexually active, be aware that you might it. And the very important factor that will keep you safe from this is being in a monogamous relationship."

She added that choosing the right partner and being aware of his or her sexual history, as well as not indulging in intravenous drugs decreases the risk of an STI.

Among women, Sigue said a most common STI is chlamydia – a bacterial infection that can cause pelvic inflammatory disease that will affect the a woman's reproductive tract and her long-term fertility.

In men, Prodigalidad said the most common STI is gonorrhea – a urethral infection which causes yellowish or greenish discharge.

These bacterial infections are treatable, unlike viral infections that last a lifetime.

However, both physicians say that even after treatment, it is possible for a person to be reinfected.

Practicing protected sex by using condoms, for instance, reduces the risk of contracting an STI.

Sigue said the vaccine for the human papillomavirus (HPV) can be administered to women as young as nine years old to prevent the virus which can cause cancer.

"It gives lifetime protection," Sigue said.

Prodigalidad said simply using a condom is not enough to protect yourself from an STI. Knowing your partner and having a monogamous relationship is also key to sexual health.