Know what they are, the risks, protection and treatment.
Between what you read online and talk about with your friends, family and maybe even your pet – there is a lot of info about STIs that can be very overwhelming. But don’t get lost in the things you hear, learn the facts for yourself.
What even is an STI?
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections spread by oral, vaginal or anal sexual contact. No matter what anyone tells you, there is no way to know if someone has an STI without getting tested for one.
Many STIs don’t show signs. When left untreated, some STIs can lead to health problems. For example, untreated chlamydia can lead to infertility. If you have herpes or gonorrhea, your chances of getting HIV are higher.
The good news? All STIs, even HIV are treatable.
How many different STIs are there?
There are many different kinds of STIs but the most common include:
How can I get an STI?
You can get an STI:
- By having any unprotected sexual contact – oral, vaginal or anal
- By having unprotected sex with anyone who has an STI
How can I protect myself?
The best ways to protect yourself from getting an STI are:
- Using a condom the right way from start to finish every time you have sex or use sex toys with a partner, even if you are using other birth control methods to prevent pregnancy. Condoms are the only method to protect you from an STI, but condoms can’t prevent STIs that are transferred by skin-to-skin contact.
- Talk to your partner about your sexual history. Tell them the number of partners you’ve had and what kind of protection you used, when you were last tested and suggest getting tested together before having sex.
What should I do if I think I might have an STI?
Contact your healthcare provider or go to your local STI clinic to get tested. STI tests are quick, simple, painless and kept private. Some tests are even free. Rapid HIV tests can provide results from just a swab inside the mouth in only 20 minutes. And remember: all STIs are treatable.
Find a local healthcare provider near you to learn more about STIs and get tested today.