Think you won’t get one? Think again. Did you know that by age 25, half of all sexually active people will get a Sexually Transmitted Infection or STI? That’s frightening, isn’t it?
So what can you do to not get an STI? The BEST way to keep yourself safe, according to the CDC, is to practice Sexual Risk Avoidance. In other words don’t have any sexual contact with the anus, vagina, or have oral sex while single. If you marry, make sure your partner is not infected with an STD by getting tested and remain mutually monogomous (both only having sex with each other).
If you think that you may have an STI, please read the information below and see your health practitioner, or schedule an appointment at The Hope Clinic to get tested. If you have any questions or concerns our nurse can give you accurate information and referrals to receive the help you need.
Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the United States and is caused by bacteria. Sexually active females 25 years old and younger need testing every year, and if left untreated, can impact a woman’s ability to have children. Individuals get chlamydia by having sex with someone who has the infection. “Having Sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
Click here for more information on Chlamydia.
Genital Herpes is a common STD, and most people with genital herpes infection do not know they have it. Genital Herpes is caused by a virus. There is no treatment that can cure herpes, but medications can shorten and prevent outbreaks. Individuals get genital herpes by having sex with someone who has the infection. “Having Sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
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Gonorrhea is a common STD and is caused by bacteria. Symptoms may vary depending on what area of the body is affected. Gonorrhea can affect the anus, eyes, mouth, genitals, or throat. In women, gonorrhea is a common cause of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Individuals get gonorrhea by having sex with someone who has the infection. “Having Sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
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HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). The only way to know if you are infected with HIV is to be tested. You cannot rely on symptoms because they are similar to those of many other diseases. This virus may be passed from one person to another through sexual and blood-to-blood contact. “Sexual Contact” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
Click here for more information on HIV-AIDS.
HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is the name of a group of viruses that includes more than 100 different types. More than 40 of these viruses are sexually transmitted and infect the genital areas of males and females. HPV can cause serious health problems, including genital warts and certain cancers. Individuals get HPV by having sex with someone who has a strain of the virus. “Having Sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
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Syphilis is an STD caused by a type of bacteria. It can be easily treated in its early stages, but if left untreated can cause long-term complications and/or death. However, it is difficult to recognize signs and symptoms because they are exactly like those from other diseases. Syphilis is transmitted from person to person by direct contact with syphilis sores, especially during vaginal, anal, or oral sexual contact. Pregnant women with this disease can pass it to their unborn children.
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PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) is a general term that refers to infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and other reproductive organs. PID occurs when certain bacteria, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, move upward from a woman’s vagina or cervix into her reproductive organs. Untreated PID can lead to serious consequences including infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. Signs of PID include lower abdominal pain, fever, unusual vaginal discharge, painful intercourse, painful urination, and irregular menstrual bleeding.
Click here for more information on PID.
While condoms do provide a barrier and reduces STI transmissions, they do not prevent all STDs. According to the CDC, “condom use cannot provide absolute protection against any STD. The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of STDs are to abstain from sexual activity, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.”
There is a difference between typical use and perfect condom use. Perfect use means using a condom during intercourse consistently and correctly every single time, and reflects the effectiveness of condoms themselves. Typical use gets at the reality that people may use condoms incorrectly or may not use them every single time they have sex. That is, the “typical use” condom effectiveness rates you see include the possibility of human error or omission. It follows that typical use condom effectiveness would be lower than perfect use — if someone uses a condom 60 percent of the times they have sexual intercourse there is a higher chance of pregnancy than if they use a condom 100 percent of the time.