Sexual Health

STIs/STDs - Sexually Transmitted Infections and Diseases

Are You at Risk?

  • Are you sexually active?
  • Have you or your sexual partner had other sexual partners?
  • Have you changed sexual partners since you were last tested for STI’s?
  • Have you ever had oral or anal sex?

Did You Know?

  • 19 million new infections occur each year.
  • Half of all STI’s occur in people ages 15-24.
  • One in four teenage girls has an STI.
  • STIs often have no symptoms.
  • Infection with an STI is possible without intercourse.
  • When you have sex with someone, you are exposing yourself to their sexual history and the sexual history of all their partners for the past ten  years.
  • It takes only ONE sexual partner to be at risk if that partner has had one or more other sexual partners.

What Causes STIs?

  • STI’s can be caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites.
  • Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STI.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral STI.

How Do You Get STIs?

  • Any sexual activity including vaginal sex, oral sex and anal sex.
  • HPV and herpes can be spread by contact with infected skin.
  • You can get STI’s from a person who has no symptoms.

What Are Some Symptoms of an STI?

  • STIs often have no visible symptoms, so you or your partner may not even know you are infected.
  • Some common symptoms include: pain or burning while urinating, rashes, sores, blisters, itchiness, unusual discharge from the penis or vagina and pain during sex.

What Are Some of the Possible Complications?

  • Pelvic Inflammatory disease
  • Ectopic Pregnancy (pregnancy somewhere other than the uterus)
  • Infertility
  • Cervical Cancer or Penile Cancer
  • Miscarriage or Stillbirth
  • Preterm delivery
  • Death

What are the Available Treatments?

  • Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics and cured.
  • Treatment does not reverse any damage that may have already occurred.
  • Viral STIs can be treated for symptoms, but not cured.
  • An HPV vaccine has recently become available and is recommended for young women but it does not protect against all types of HPV that cause cancer and warts.

How Can I Prevent Myself from Getting an STI?

  • The only way to be 100% safe from STIs and HIV/AIDS is to abstain from all sexual activities until you and your uninfected partner can remain faithful to each other for life.
  • Correct and consistent condom use can reduce, but will not eliminate, your risk of getting most STIs.
  • Consistent and correct condom use during vaginal sex reduces your risk for:
        -  HIV by 85%
        -  Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes and Syphilis by about 50%
        -  HPV by 50% or less

 For more information:

Center for Disease Control  CDC STD Pages

If you think you may be infected with an STI see your healthcare provider right away.

Sources:
The Medical Institute for Sexual Health  http://www.medinstitute.org (Accessed March 2, 2009)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  http://www.cdc.gov/std (Accessed March 2, 2009)

National Institutes of Health http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/sexually_transmitted_diseases.cfm (Accessed March 2, 2009)

 We do not provide or refer for abortions.

If our Center is closed and you need help right away or to find a pregnancy center near you, go to PregnancyDecisionLine.org or call 1- 877-395-HELP