Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): General Information

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Key Facts

Anyone who has had sexual contact can get an STI. Men and women of all ages, regions, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels can get STIs.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are about 20 million new STIs diagnosed every year in the United States and people between 15-24 years of age have half of them.

Anyone at any age can get an STI; however, young people (male and females) who have sex with multiple partners, or have sex with a partner that has many sexual partners, and gay and bisexual men are at a greater risk than others. Additionally, teen girls are more ly to become infected with chlamydia than adult women are.

STIs include:

What are the symptoms of an STI?

Many STIs may not cause any symptoms.

Symptoms vary for each STI, but they include sores or blisters on or around the genital area or in the mouth, pain or burning during urination, unusual discharge from the vagina or penis, itching, swelling, pain in or around the vagina or penis, pain in the pelvic area or abdomen (sometimes with fever and chills), or bleeding other than your menstrual period. If you have any of these symptoms, you could have an STI, but they might also not mean anything serious. Talk to your health care provider right away and get checked out to be safe.

How are STIs spread?

Many STIs are spread through contact with infected body fluids such as blood, vaginal fluids, or semen. They can also be spread through contact with infected skin or mucous membranes, such as sores in the mouth. You may be exposed to infected body fluids and skin through vaginal, anal or oral sex.

Anal sex is very risky because it usually causes bleeding. Sharing needles or syringes for drug use, ear piercing, tattooing, etc. can also expose you to infected fluids. Most STIs are only spread through direct sexual contact with an infected person.

However, pubic lice and scabies can be spread through close personal contact with an infected person, or with infested clothes, sheets, or towels.

How can I prevent getting an STI?

The best way to prevent getting an STI is to not have sex. Some STIs can’t be cured, so you should always practice safer sex, or find ways to be intimate in a romantic relationship without having sex. This means preventing the passing of body fluids such as blood, semen, and vaginal fluids, and avoiding direct oral, anal, or genital contact (by using a latex condom).

If you do decide to have sex, you should:

  • Use condoms 100% of the time. Make sure that you use a new latex condom (or dental dam) correctly every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex. If you are allergic to latex, use a polyurethane male condom or female condom.
  • Use a water-base lubricant with condoms. The lubricant will keep the condom from breaking. Never use lubricants that contain oil or fat, such as petroleum jelly or cooking oil. These products weaken “latex” and can cause the condom to break.
  • Limit the number of people you have sex with. The more partners you have, the greater your risk of being exposed to an STI.
  • Choose partners who have not had sex with many other partners, and who will have sex only with you while you’re together. You should ask your partner(s) if he/she has an STI, has been exposed to one, or has physical symptoms of an STI.
  • Do NOT have sex with anyone that has signs of an STI (sores, rashes, or discharge  from the genital area).
  • Have your partner get checked out for STIs before you have sex. Keep in mind that tests for sexually transmitted infections don’t pick up all STIs.

Other ways to prevent getting an STI include:

  • Don’t inject drugs or have sex with someone who has injected drugs
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs, since they can make you more ly to take chances with sex
  • Don’t douche, since this can cause different germs in your vagina and increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Get the Hepatitis B and HPV vaccinations

What should I do if I think I have a STI?

If you have any symptoms of an STI, any unexplained problems, or you think you may have been exposed to an STI (even if you don’t have symptoms), see your health care provider right away and get tested. You can’t correctly test or diagnose yourself with an STI.

Only your health care provider can do that. Most STIs can be treated. The earlier you get treatment, the better. More serious problems can develop if you wait.

Whenever possible, treatment is given in a single dose, but sometimes you need to take medication over a period of time.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that if you are a sexually active woman younger than 25, or have risk factors including new or multiple sex partners, you should ask to have a yearly chlamydia and gonorrhea test. If you are pregnant and a teen, make sure that your health care provider tests you for syphilis, HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea and hepatitis B as soon as possible.

What should I do if I have an STI?

  • You need to tell all sex partner(s) who may have been exposed.Try to get them to get tested. If you feel that you can’t tell your partner(s), talk to your health care provider. He/she will help you tell your partner(s) or will help you find another way to let your partner(s) know they have been exposed.
  • If there is a treatment, you and your current sexual partner(s) need to get treated at the same time to prevent passing the infection back and forth.
  • Take all of your medicine, even if you feel better right away .
  • Schedule a follow-up exam with your health care providerafter you’ve finished treatment.
  • Don’t have sex again until your health care provider says you’re cured.
  • Consider meeting with a counselorif you’re concerned or upset about having an STI. Your health care provider can help you find a counselor.

Are STI tests always accurate?

No test for any STI is 100% accurate. Some STIs don’t show up right away and some STIs don’t have tests, so they may be missed.

It could take an infection anywhere from a couple of days to a few years to show up in testing. If you think you have an STI, get tested.

If you test negative, you may have to go back to your provider  to get re-tested. Even if you test negative, keep practicing safe sex.

What about confidentiality?

What you tell your health care provider about your sexual behavior and exposure to STIs is confidential.

For STIs, your health care provider can’t talk about anything you tell him/her, unless he/she seriously believes that you are a danger to yourself or others, or that you aren’t able to make decisions on your own.

So your parents, teachers, partners, or friends can’t find out any information from your health care provider about STIs.

Unfortunately parents do find out sometimes because the insurance company may send an EOB (Explanation of Benefits) statement to a parent who is the subscriber (of the health insurance). So discuss this issue with your primary care provider. In any case, you may find it very helpful to talk to your parents about your health and your worries. This can be a scary time for you and it’s always good to have an adult to talk to.

If I’ve had an STI, can I get it again?

Yes. You can get the same STI again if you have sex – especially if you have sex without a condom. You can also have more than one STI at a time. Also, some STIs aren’t curable, so you can still have the STI even if you’ve received treatment.

What serious problems can STIs cause?

If STIs aren’t treated, they can have serious side effects, such as:

  • Pain
  • Worsening infection
  • Infertility (unable to have children)
  • Increased risk for some types of cancer
  • Brain damage
  • Heart disease
  • Birth defects
  • Death

What is the relationship between STIs and pregnancy?

Pregnant women with STIs may miscarry or may pass on their STI to their baby. STIs can also cause low birth weight and premature babies. Babies with infected mothers can have problems such as pneumonia, eye infections, and brain damage.

When should I get a Pap test?

A Pap test is usually done when you turn 21 or earlier if you have other risks for abnormal Pap tests, such as problems with your immune system.

A Pap test doesn’t check for STIs directly, but problems on the Pap test may mean that you’ve gotten the STI human papillomavirus – HPV. The Pap test is the only way to check the cells on your cervix for changes that can lead to cervical cancer.

If you think you might have an STI, your health care provider will check you (for an STI) and explain to you when to begin Pap testing.

The only way to prevent getting an STI is by not having sex. The next best ways to prevent an STI are by using a condom every time you have sex and choosing partners who are at low risk for an STI.

Seeing a health care provider regularly is important to learn more about how to prevent STIs and to be checked to see if you’ve gotten an STI. Definitely see a health care provider if you think you might have an STI.

Additional Resources

condoms, healthy sex, STI

Source: https://youngwomenshealth.org/2013/01/16/sti-information/

9 Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) In Women: Treatment & Prevention

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

More than 40 types of HPV, which are the cause of genital warts (also known as condylomata acuminata or venereal warts), can infect the genital tract of men and women. These warts are primarily transmitted during sexual contact.

Other, different HPV types generally cause common warts elsewhere on the body.

HPV infection has long been known to be a cause of cervical cancer and other anogenital cancers in women, and it has also been linked with both anal and penile cancer in men.

HPV infection is now considered to be the most common sexually transmitted infection in the US, and it is believed that at a majority of the reproductive-age population has been infected with sexually transmitted HPV at some point in life.

HPV infection is common and does not usually lead to the development of warts, cancers, or specific symptoms. In fact, the majority of people infected with HPV have no symptoms or lesions at all. The ultimate test to detect HPV involves identification of the genetic material (DNA) of the virus.

Of note, it has not been definitively established whether the immune system is able to permanently clear the body of an HPV infection. For this reason, it is impossible to predict exactly how common HPV infection is in the general population.

Asymptomatic people (those without HPV-induced warts or lesions) who have HPV infections are still able to spread the infections to others through sexual contact.

Diagnosis of HPV and genital warts

A typical appearance of a genital lesion may prompt the physician to treat without further testing, especially in someone who has had prior outbreaks of genital warts.

Genital warts usually appear as small, fleshy, raised bumps, but they can sometimes be extensive and have a cauliflower- appearance. They may occur on any sexually-exposed area.

In many cases genital warts do not cause any symptoms, but they are sometimes associated with itching, burning, or tenderness.

HPV can sometimes be suspected by changes that appear on a Pap smear, although Pap smears were not really designed to detect HPV.

In the case of an abnormal Pap smear, the clinician will often do advanced testing on the material to determine if, and which kind, of HPV may be present.

HPV can also be detected if a biopsy (for example, from a genital wart or from the uterine cervix) is sent to the laboratory for analysis.

Treatment of external genital warts

There is no cure or treatment that can eradicate HPV infection, so the only treatment is to remove the lesions caused by the virus. Unfortunately, even removal of the warts does not necessarily prevent the spread of the virus, and genital warts frequently recur. None of the available treatments are ideal or clearly superior to others.

A treatment that can be administered by the patient is a 0.5% solution or gel of podofilox (podophyllotoxin). The medication is applied to the warts twice per day for three days followed by 4 days without treatment. Treatment should be continued up to three to four weeks or until the lesions are gone.

Podofilox may also be applied every other day for a total of three weeks.

Alternatively, a 5% cream of imiquimod (a substance that stimulates the body's production of cytokines, chemicals that direct and strengthen the immune response) is wise applied by the patient three times a week at bedtime, and then washed off with mild soap and water 6-10 hours later.

The applications are repeated for up to 16 weeks or until the lesions are gone. Sinecatechin 15% ointment, a green-tea extract with an active product (catechins), is another topical treatment that can be applied by the patient. This drug should be applied three times daily until complete clearance of warts, for up to 16 weeks.

Only an experienced physician can perform some of the treatments for genital warts. These include, for example, placing a small amount of a 10% to 25% solution of podophyllin resin on the lesions, and then, after a period of hours, washing off the podophyllin.

The treatments are repeated weekly until the genital warts are gone. An 80% to 90% solution of trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or bichloracetic acid (BCA) can also be applied weekly by a physician to the lesions.

Injection of 5-fluorouracil epinephrine gel into the lesions has also been shown to be effective in treating genital warts.

Alternative methods include cryotherapy (freezing the genital warts with liquid nitrogen) every one to two weeks, surgical removal of the lesions, or laser surgery. Laser surgery and surgical excision both require a local or general anesthetic, depending upon the extent of the lesions.

Treatment of precancerous changes (dysplasia) of the cervix related to HPV infection

Women who have evidence of moderate to severe precancerous changes in the uterine cervix require treatment to ensure that these cells do not become invasive cancer. In this case, treatment usually involves surgical removal or destruction of the involved tissue.

Conization is a procedure that removes the precancerous area of the cervix using a knife, a laser, or a procedure known as LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure, which uses an electric current passing through a thin wire that acts as a knife).

Cryotherapy (freezing) or laser therapy may be used to destroy tissue areas that contain potentially precancerous changes.

What should a person do if sexually exposed to someone with genital warts?

Both people with HPV infection and their partners need to be counseled about the risk of spreading HPV and the appearance of the lesions.

They should understand that the absence of lesions does not exclude the possibility of transmission and that condoms are not completely effective in preventing the spread of the infection. It is important to note that it is not known whether treatment decreases infectivity.

Finally, female partners of men with genital warts should be reminded of the importance of regular Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer and precancerous changes in the cervix, since precancerous changes can be treated and reduce a woman's risk of developing cervical cancer.

Similarly, men should be informed of the potential risk of anal cancers, although it is not yet been determined how to best screen for or manage early anal cancer.

The HPV vaccine

A vaccine available against four common HPV types associated with the development of genital warts and cervical and anogenital carcinomas. This vaccine (Gardasil) has received FDA approval for use in males and females between 9 and 26 years of age.

Source: https://www.medicinenet.com/sexually_transmitted_diseases_stds_in_women/article.htm

What are Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) or Diseases (STDs)?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

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.

How do you know if you have one? What is the best treatment? The information here should help answer these questions.

How do the male reproductive organs work?

The male reproductive system is specialized for the following functions:

  • To produce, maintain and transport sperm (the male reproductive cells) and protective fluid (semen)
  • To discharge sperm within the female reproductive tract
  • To produce and secrete male sex hormones

The male reproductive anatomy includes external structures which include the:

  • Penis
  • Scrotum
  • Testicles (testes)

The male reproductive anatomy includes internal structures which include the:

  • Vas Deferens
  • Ejaculatory ducts
  • Urethra
  • Seminal Vesicles
  • Prostate Gland
  • Bulbourethral Glands (Cowper’s Gland)

How do the female reproductive organs work?

Female Reproductive System

The female reproductive system provides several functions. The ovaries produce the female egg cells, called the ova or oocytes. The oocytes are then transported to the fallopian tube where fertilization by a sperm may occur.

The fertilized egg then moves to the uterus, where the uterine lining has thickened in response to the normal hormones of the reproductive cycle. Once in the uterus the fertilized egg can implant into thickened uterine lining and continue to develop. If fertilization does not take place, the uterine lining is shed as menstrual flow.

In addition, the female reproductive system produces female sex hormones that maintain the reproductive cycle.

During menopause the female reproductive system gradually stops making the female hormones necessary for the reproductive cycle to work. At this point, menstrual cycles can become irregular and eventually stop. One year after menstrual cycles stop, the woman is considered to be menopausal.

The female reproductive anatomy includes both external and internal structures.

The function of the external female reproductive structures (the genital) is twofold: To enable sperm to enter the body and to protect the internal genital organs from infectious organisms.The main external structures of the female reproductive system include:

  • Labia Majora
  • Labia minora
  • Bartholin Glands
  • Clitoris

The female reproductive anatomy includes internal structures which include the:

  • Vagina
  • Uterus (Womb)
  • Ovaries
  • Fallopian Tubes

Often, there are no symptoms at all.

Men may experience the following symptoms:

  • Burning or itching in the penis
  • A drip (discharge) from the penis
  • Pain around pelvis
  • Sores, bumps or blisters on penis, anus, or mouth
  • Burning and pain with urine or with bowel movements
  • Having to go to the bathroom often

Women may experience the following symptoms:

  • Burning or itching in the vagina
  • A discharge or odor from the vagina
  • Pain around the pelvis
  • Bleeding from the vagina that is not normal
  • Pain deep inside during sex
  • Sores, bumps or blisters in the vagina, anus, or mouth
  • Burning and pain with urine or with bowel movements
  • Having to go to the bathroom often

Bacteria and viruses that grow in warm, moist places in the body cause STDs. They are passed from one person to another through sex. Infections can spread from the penis, vagina, mouth or anus. These infections can be minor or they can be very painful, even life threatening.

How do sexually transmitted infections spread?

They are spread through fluids in the body. Most often shared during vaginal, oral or anal sex. Some STDs pass from one person to another through infected blood. For example, among people who share infected drug needles. Or a mother may infect her child during pregnancy, childbirth or nursing.

STDs are not spread through casual contact. Shaking hands, sharing clothes, or sharing a toilet seat, for example, would not lead to STDs.

Who is at risk?

Anyone can get a STD. Teenagers and young adults have the highest risk. They are more ly to have many sex partners, and they may not know how to prevent problems. Street-drug users who use dirty needles are also at risk.

A health care professional can diagnose STIs. They will ask personal questions about your sex history. It’s important to be honest so you can get help. They may take a sample of fluid from the vagina or penis, or a blood test to confirm the problem. Laboratory tests can show what, if any, bacterial or viral STIs are present.

  • Blood tests can show if you have a disease that infects the blood.
  • Urine samples can show if you have a bacteria in your urine from an STI.
  • Fluid samples can show if you have active sores and help diagnose the type of infection.

This is the most common bacterial STI in the United States. An estimated 1.4 million new cases are diagnosed each year. It is transmitted through unprotected vaginal and anal sex.

Sometimes people have no sign that they have this disease. A man with chlamydia may feel pain when urinating or see fluid drip from the penis. A woman may bleed between periods, feel pain when urinating, see a discharge or feel mild pain in the lower belly. From anal sex, a patient may have anal bleeding or pain.

Once diagnosed, a person can be treated with an antibiotic. If untreated, it can cause serious damage to a woman's reproductive system. It can make it difficult or impossible to get pregnant.

Gonorrhea can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat. Young people, age 15-24, are most often affected. You can get it by having unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the disease.

It may show no symptoms. Or, a person may find a discharge from the penis or vagina, and feel pain when urinating.

Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics. If untreated, it can cause serious damage to a woman's reproductive system. It can make it difficult or impossible to get pregnant. In men, if this is left untreated it may cause urethral stricture.

This is a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection from vaginal, anal or oral sex. It can spread if the sores caused by syphilis touch the skin of a healthy person. Sores can be found on the penis, vagina, anus, in the rectum, or on the lips and mouth. Syphilis can also spread from an infected mother to her unborn baby.

Usually, the first symptom is a painless open sore. Sores can form on your genitals, or the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. The second stage rash can look rough, red or reddish brown spots.

Penicillin is a successful treatment. If syphilis is not treated, it can remain in the body for years. It can cause serious problems including paralysis (unable to move body parts), mental disorders, damage to organs and even death.

This infection is very common. One in six people (age 14-49) has genital herpes. Many people don’t know they have it. This infection, caused by two viruses, Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2).

The Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) is mostly spread by nonsexual contact but it can spread with oral sex. HSV-1 usually causes sores on the lips.

The Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2) spreads when fluid from the infection touches a partner, often during sex. Genital blisters from HSV-2 may not be seen.

Blisters can form, break, cause pain and take weeks to heal. There is no known cure for HSV but symptoms can be treated with antiviral medicine.

AIDS results from an infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It is not curable, and potentially deadly. It attacks the body's immune system.

Only blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk carry the virus. Infected needles or other sharp tools can spread AIDS as well. An infected mother can give her baby the virus during pregnancy, childbirth or nursing.

Some people have no signs if they get it. Others may feel they have a bad flu for a long time. The virus can go un-noticed for many years. If you think you’ve been in contact with an infected person, you should get tested.

Antiviral, HIV medicines are available to improve the life and health of an infected person.

This STI is a serious virus that attacks the liver. Effective vaccines since the 1990s have helped to prevent this infection. There are fewer cases every year. Blood, semen and body fluids shared during sex can spread the virus. Many people are born with the disease from their infected mother. Getting care to people with long-term HBV is important but often people have no clear symptoms.

When symptoms are present, they can include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, poor appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. Since HBV attacks liver cells, it can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure and possibly death. Dark urine, abdominal pain and yellowing of the skin or eyes are signs of liver damage.

There is no known cure for hepatitis B. Still, medications to treat chronic infection will help. Vaccine is the best protection. Acute HBV has no treatment. Chronic HBV is treated with antiviral medicines, interferon treatment, or a liver transplant. Vaccine is the best prevention.

These warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the most common viral STI the United States. It is spread through vaginal or anal sex. It can be passed even when an infected person has no symptoms.

The warts that develop are painless, fleshy, cauliflower-looking bumps. They grow on the penis or in and around the entrance of the vagina or anus. HPV may eventually cause cervical cancer.

Fortunately, there is a successful vaccine to prevent HPV and genital warts. The vaccine is given to children age 11 or 12, or for people age 20-26. There is no known cure for genital warts.

However, they can be treated with topical ointments. Sometimes they can be removed with minor surgical procedures (e.g., cautery (freezing or burning off the wart), chemicals, or laser).

Vaccine is the best prevention.

This STI results from a parasite. It is spread through sexual contact from the penis or vagina. It mainly affects young, sexually active women. Uncircumcised men are found to spread the infection more. Only about 30% of people with this STI have symptoms.

Men with this STI may feel itching or irritation inside the penis. They may see discharge or feel burning after urination or ejaculation. Women may notice itching, burning, redness or soreness, discomfort with urination. Or, they may have an unusual discharge with a bad smell. Having trichomoniasis can make it feel unpleasant to have sex.

Without treatment, the infection can last for months or even years. Women with it may deliver underweight babies. Trichomoniasis can be easily treated with antibiotics.

Most STIs/STDs are cured after treatment. Some require life-long management with antiviral medicine. STDs can return with risky sexual behavior. Some people chose to get tested often, to ensure that they don’t have a STI. It is possible to prevent STIs and limit your chances of getting another.

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 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.

Can STIs/STDs cause other health problems in women?

Some STIs can spread into a woman’s uterus and fallopian tubes. They can cause pelvic inflammatory disease. They can cause infertility and ectopic pregnancy (leading to fetal and possibly maternal death). STIs can be passed from mother to baby. Also, there are some links between STIs and cancer.

What if I am pregnant?

You can get treatment to prevent problems for your baby. If you are pregnant and have STD symptoms, please contact your doctor immediately. STDs during pregnancy should be addressed quickly.

Can I get a STI by open-mouth kissing?

Open-mouth kissing is considered a low-risk activity for the spread of STIs, especially HIV. Still, open-mouth kissing for a long time could damage the skin around the mouth and lips. This would allow HIV to pass from an infected person to a partner. Because of this risk, the CDC recommends using caution with an infected partner.

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.

Source: https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/sexually-transmitted-infections

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

STIs are sometimes called STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases.

STIs include:

Who gets STIs?

Anyone who has had sexual contact can get an STI. Men and women of all ages, regions, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels can get STI. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are about 20 million new STIs diagnosed every year in the United States and people between 15-24 years of age have half of them.

Anyone at any age can get an STI; however, males and females who have sex with multiple partners, or have sex with a partner that has many sexual partners, and gay and bisexual men are at a greater risk than others.

Can STIs be treated?

Most STIs can be treated. The earlier you get treatment, the better, because more serious problems can develop if you wait. Whenever possible, treatment is given in a single dose, but sometimes you need to take medication over a period of time.

Are STI tests always accurate?

No test for any STI is 100% accurate. Some STIs don’t show up right away and some STI don’t have tests, so they may be missed. It could take an infection anywhere from a couple of days to a few years to show up in testing.

If you think you have an STI, get tested. If you test negative, you may have to go back again to get re-tested. Even if you test negative, keep practicing safe sex.

Talk to your health care provider about speaking with a counselor if you have concerns.

What about confidentiality?

What you tell your health care provider about your sexual behavior and exposure to STIs is confidential.

For STIs, your health care provider can’t talk about anything you tell him/her, unless he/she seriously believes that you are a danger to yourself or others, or that you aren’t able to make decisions on your own.

So your parents, teachers, partners, or friends can’t find out any information from your health care provider about STIs.

Unfortunately parents do find out sometimes because the insurance company may send an EOB (Explanation of Benefits) statement to a parent who is the subscriber (of the health insurance). So discuss this issue with your primary care provider. In any case, you may find it very helpful to talk to your parents about your health and your worries. This can be a scary time for you and it’s always good to have an adult to talk to.

I’ve been diagnosed with an STI, now what?

  • You need to tell all sex partner(s) who may have been exposed. Try to get them to get tested. If you feel that you can’t tell your partner(s), talk to your health care provider.

    He/she will help you to tell your partner(s) or will help you find another way to let your partner(s) know he/she has been exposed.

  • You and your current sexual partner(s) need to get treated at the same time to prevent passing the infection back and forth.

  • Take all of your medicine even if you feel better.
  • Schedule a follow-up exam with your health care provider after you’ve finished treatment.
  • Don’t have sex again until your health care provider says you’re cured.

  • Consider meeting with a counselor if you’re concerned or upset about having an STI. Your health care provider can help you.

If I’ve had an STI, can I get it again?

Yes. You can get the same STI again if you have sex – especially if you have sex without a condom. You can also have more than one STI at a time. Also, some STIs aren’t curable, so you can still have the STI even if you’ve received treatment.

What serious problems can STIs cause?

If STIs aren’t treated, they can have serious side effects, such as:

  • Pain
  • Worsening infection
  • Infertility (being unable to have children)
  • Increased risk for some types of cancer
  • Brain damage
  • Heart disease
  • Birth defects
  • Death

What is the relationship between STIs and pregnancy?

Pregnant women with STIs may miscarry or may pass on their STI to their baby. STIs can also cause low birth weight and premature babies. Babies with infected mothers can have problems such as pneumonia, eye infections, and brain damage.

The only way to prevent getting an STI is by not having sex. The next best ways to prevent an STI are by using a latex condom every time you have sex and choosing partners who are at low risk for an STI. Seeing a health care provider regularly is important to learn more about how to prevent STIs and to be checked to see if you’ve gotten an STI. Definitely see a health care provider if you think you might have an STI.If you’re concerned about STIs, here’s a tip on how to bring it up with your health care provider: “I had unprotected sex with someone. Can I get tested?”

chlamydia, condoms, crabs, gonorrhea, hepatitis, herpes, HIV/AIDS, HPV, molluscum, scabies, STI, syphilis, trichomoniasis

Source: https://youngmenshealthsite.org/guides/sexually-transmitted-infections/

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