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)
- Cervical Cancer or Penile Cancer
- Miscarriage or Stillbirth
- Preterm delivery
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.
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)
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