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  • Health Awareness Series: January 2019 - STIs: Testing and Next Steps

    Date: 1/31/2019 03:23:55 PM

    A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is a type of infection that is passed from one person to another through sex. STIs are very common and most people who have sex will get one some time in their life.

    Is there more than one type of STI?
    Yes, there are different types of STIs. They can be put into three basic categories: bacterial, viral, and parasitic. Bacterial and parasitic infections can be cured. Viral infections can be treated but not cured completely.

    • Bacterial and parasitic infections include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and bacterial vaginosis (BV).
    • Viral infections include genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), and HIV/AIDS.

    How do I know if I have an STI?.

    Many people who have an STI do not feel sick or see any symptoms. Some others can have changes in their body like itching, discharge, a rash or blisters in the genital area (penis, vagina, anus) and sometimes pain during sex. The only way to know you don’t have an STI for sure is to get tested or checked by your doctor.

    You should get tested if you see symptoms or if you:

    • have had oral, vaginal, or anal sex without a condom
    • have a new sexual partner
    • are having sex with more than one person
    • think you have been exposed to an STI from someone you had sex with

    What happens when I get tested?.

    Getting tested is quick and easy! You can ask to get tested at your annual check-up or go to the doctor just to get tested. The doctor may ask you for a urine sample, do a blood test, or take fluid from your mouth or genital area to check you for any STIs.

    You will get your results back from the doctor in a week or less. If you have an STI the doctor will let you know what to do next to make sure you get healthy or keep people you are having sex with healthy.

    Why is it important to get treatment?.

    STIs can cause serious health problems if they aren’t treated. Without treatment STIs can damage your vision, hearing, brain, and heart.  You also are at risk for spreading an STI to any current or future sexual partners. If you have an STI, getting treated is the best way to make sure you stay healthy and safe.

    To find places near you that offer free or low-cost, confidential STI testing:

    To learn more:

    SOURCES:

    American Sexual Health Association (ASHA). www.ashasexualhealth.org
    American Sexual Health Association (ASHA), “Get Tested”. Accessed on January 07, 2019. http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/get-tested/
    NYC Health, “Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)”, accessed on January 07, 2019. https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/sexually-transmitted-diseases.page
    Sutter Health Palo Alto Medical Foundation, “Treating STIs”. Accessed on January 07, 2019. http://www.pamf.org/teen/sex/std/stis.html

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