• Health Awareness Series: January 2019 - How to protect yourself against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

    Date: 1/24/2019 04:08:28 PM

    Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are more common than you think. More than half of all people will have an STI at some point in their lifetime.  STIs can affect people of all ages, from all backgrounds and from all walks of life. They are passed from one person to another through sexual activity.

    STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, and HIV. Many of these STIs do not show symptoms for a long time, but they can still be harmful and passed to another person during sex. If you notice unusual sores, pain or discharge from your genitals, you may have an STI. The only way to know for sure if you have an STI is to get tested. If not treated, it can cause problems like infertility (not being able to have a baby), some types of cancer or even death.

    Most STIs are spread when the fluids (like semen or blood) from your partner’s body gets mixed with your own. Some STIs, like the HPV virus and herpes, are spread by touching skin.

    How to protect yourself:

    • Don’t have sex (also known as abstinence).
    • If you have sex, use condoms every time for the whole time.
    • Don’t have sex with many people. If you do find out from the ones you have sex with if they have been tested for STIs.
    • Get tested and learn about STIs.
    • Talk to your doctor about STIs. Ask about the vaccines that can protect you, like the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine and the hepatitis B vaccine.
    • Don’t use drugs; but, if you do, don’t share needles.
    • Avoid drinking alcohol and taking drugs. Alcohol and drugs can make you do things you would not usually do, like not using a condom or having sex with someone you normally wouldn’t have sex with.

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

    To learn more:


    American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
    American Sexual Health Association (ASHA). www.ashasexualhealth.org  

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