STIs/STDs

So what’s the big deal with STIs?

Well for starters, 1 in 4 sexually active teens has an STI as reported by the Centers for Disease Control.  Stop and think; 1 in 4. Is that someone you know? Maybe they don’t even know they’ve got an STI. You can’t always tell.  

Some STI’s can make you sick today and others can cause problems later in life. Problems like cancer, infertility, or death.  Not exactly harmless or fun!

If you haven’t had sex your chances of getting an STI are small. If you’ve already had sex, get checked for STIs.  

How do you avoid getting an STI? Plain and simple, abstinence from sexual activity is the best bet for avoiding STIs.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are infections spread through sexual activity. Sexual activity refers to mutual masturbation, oral, anal or vaginal sex. STIs can spread rapidly due to the fact that most individuals with STIs have minimal symptoms or no symptoms at all; therefore they do not realize they are contagious or possibly infecting others. STIs can lead to physical damage being done to the body, especially when left untreated. 

Before you have sex take plenty of time to consider all the risks. Think about what’s best for your life and your future. Consider what’s best for you. It is your life at stake. 

All information on this website regarding STIs is from the Center for Disease Control — the leading experts on STIs. To see the affects of STIs on the body, or for more information check out the CDC website at www.cdc.org

Chlamydia

  • People get Chlamydia by having sex with someone who has the infection. “Having sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
  • Most infected people have no symptoms. Some infected men and women have a burning sensation when urinating. 
  • Chlamydia can impact a woman’s ability to have children if left untreated.
  • Tests to diagnose Chlamydia: Urine sample for men and cervical swab for women. 
  • Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. 

Gonorrhea

  • People get gonorrhea by having sex with someone who has the disease. “Having sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
  • Most infected people have no symptoms. Some infected men and women have a burning sensation when urinating. 
  • Gonorrhea can impact a woman’s ability to have children if left untreated.
  • Gonorrhea can be diagnosed by a urine sample for men and cervical swab for women.
  • Gonorrhea is treated with injected antibiotics. *Drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea are increasing, and successful treatment of gonorrhea is becoming more difficult. 

Syphilis

  • Syphilis is transmitted from person to person by direct contact with syphilis sores. Sores occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum.
  • Signs and symptoms of syphilis in the primary stage include a firm, round, and painless sore on the genitals, anus, or mouth; the secondary stage is marked by a rash on the body; the late and latent stages can include difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, and dementia.
  • A blood test is the most common way to determine if someone has syphilis.
  • Syphilis is treated with antibiotics. 

Trichomoniasis

  • Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite. The parasite is passed from an infected person to an uninfected person during sex. 
  • About 70% of infected people do not have any signs or symptoms. Men may feel itching or irritation inside the penis, women may notice itching, burning or soreness of the genitals. 
  • Without treatment, trichomoniasis can increase a person’s risk of acquiring HIV.
  • Trichomoniasis is diagnosed with a doctor’s exam and laboratory test. 
  • Trichomoniasis is treated with antibiotics. 

HPV

  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are more than 40 types of HPV that can infect the genital area. These types can also infect the mouth and throat.
  • HPV is passed through genital contact, most often during vaginal and anal sex. HPV may also be passed on during oral sex and genital-to-genital contact.
  • Potential health problems include genital warts and cervical cancer. Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or group of bumps in the genital area. Cervical cancer usually does not cause symptoms until it is quite advanced.
  • There is no general HPV test for men or women. A PAP smear test is available to help screen women for cervical cancer. 
  • There is no treatment for the virus itself, but there are treatments for the health problems that HPV can cause. 

Herpes

  • People get herpes by having sex with someone who has the disease. “Having sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
  • You can get genital herpes even if your partner shows no signs of the infection.
  • Most individuals infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2 experience either no symptoms or have very mild symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth.
  • Herpes is diagnosed by visual inspection. Doctors can also take a sample from the sore and test it. 
  • There is no treatment that can cure herpes. Antiviral medications can, however, prevent or shorten outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication. 

HIV/AIDS

  • People get HIV by having sex with someone who has the infection. “Having sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
  • HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that leads to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 
  • Initially, patients suffer from generic flu-like symptoms. 
  • HIV is diagnosed with a blood test. 
  • Treatment? There is no cure at this time; however scientists continue to work on finding a cure. With the proper treatment and medication HIV can be controlled.

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