What Are STIs?
STIs (sexually transmitted infections) are infections passed from person to person by intimate sexual contact.
How STIs Are Spread
STIs are spread during vaginal, anal, or oral sex or during genital touching. Some STIs can go undetected and be passed from person to person whether or not symptoms are present.
How Can I Protect Myself from STIs?
Abstinence is the best way to be protected; however, if you choose to engage in sex, condoms and dental dams are the best forms of protection from STIs. If you need someone to teach you about condoms and safer sex practices or if you need condoms, come by our offices and talk to someone in our prevention office.
Does My Birth Control Protect Me from STIs?
Birth control will not protect you from STIs. Barriers including condoms, female condoms, and dental dams are the only form of birth control that protect from STI transmission.
Is There a Vaccine to Protect Me from STIs?
In most cases, vaccines are not available to protect against STIs. There are vaccines that protect from Hepatitis B and some types of HPV. Ask your provider if these are right for you.
What to watch for?
- An unusual discharge or smell from your vagina
- Pain in your pelvic area
- Burning or itching around your vagina
- Bleeding from your vagina that is not your regular period
- Pain deep inside your vagina when you have sex
- A drip or discharge from your penis
Women and Men
- Sores, bumps or blisters near your sex organs, rectum or mouth
- Burning and pain when you urinate (pee) or have a bowel movement
- Need to urinate often
- Itching around your sex organs
- A swelling or redness in your throat
- Flu-like feelings, with fever, chills and aches
- Swelling in your groin
- Get checked for STI regularly
- Vaccines can help protect you against hepatitis B and some types of HPV
- Know the signs and symptoms of STI
If you have an STI
Tell your sex partner(s). Your partner must get tested and treated too.
Wait to have sex. Ask your provider how long after treatment you must wait.
Many STIs can be cured. Others cannot be cured. But all STIs can and must be treated.