Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are also commonly called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They are the infections you get from another person through sexual contact. According to the CDC, there are more than 20 known types of STDs/STIs. In addition, over 20 million people in the United States are infected each year. About half of these people are age 15-24. Luckily, most STDs can be treated and cured.

Should I be checked for STIs?

If you have had many sexual partners or have sex without protection, you should talk to a doctor. Whether or not you have symptoms, a doctor can help. Testing for STIs/STDs is very easy and routine. It’s better to take the test and get treated, than to risk health problems or infect others. HIV, HBV and syphilis testing are recommended. Cultures can be performed over time if you have unprotected sex with many partners.

How can STIs/STDs be prevented?

The only way to avoid a STI or STD is to have no sexual contact with an infected person. Other protections include:

  • Using a condom correctly, and always with sex.
  • Having a sexual relationship with only one, long-term partner who has no infections.
  • Limiting the number of sexual partners you have.
  • Using clean needles if you are injecting drugs 

Using latex condoms the right way helps to protect you and your partner. Still, condoms don’t cover everything. It is possible to get or spread infections even when using a condom.

Talk about STIs before you have sex with a new partner. This way you can make informed choices about risks you want to take with your sex life. The only way to truly prevent STIs/STDs is to avoid having sex.

If you or someone you know has symptoms like unusual discharge, burning during urination, or a sore in the genital area, please talk with a health care provider. You can get treatment and help.

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