Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are contagious. This means that they can be passed easily from one person to another. Learn more about STIs so you can protect your health.
What Are STIs?
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are contagious infections that can cause disease in the body. STIs can be passed between sexual partners or from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or delivery.
There are three causes of STIs:
STIs Can Affect Your Health
Some STIs can be asymptomatic (have no symptoms). This means that someone who has an STI might not know that they have it and can unknowingly pass it to their partner. According to the Mayo Clinic, if left untreated, STIs can lead to severe complications, including the following:
- Pelvic pain
- Pregnancy complications
- Eye inflammation
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Heart disease
- Certain cancers
STIs are treatable. Bacterial and parasitic STIs are cured with antibiotics. Viral STIs, however, cannot be cured, though antiviral medication can reduce the symptoms that individuals experience and lessen the risk of passing it to a partner.
What Can I Do?
If you are sexually active, you are at risk of contracting an STI, but you can limit your risk of exposure by:
- Abstinence- not having sex
- Reducing the number of sexual partners you have
- Monogamy- having sex with only one partner that is also only having sex with you
- Condoms- reduce the risk, but are not 100% effective at STI prevention
If you are having sex, your best option for protecting yourself from the complications of STIs is to receive testing for STIs. Testing for STIs ensures diagnosis, even if you do not have any symptoms of the STI. STI testing consists of a blood draw, swab, or urine test.
According to the CDC, sexually active individuals should be tested yearly for chlamydia and gonorrhea and every three years for HPV.
Dove Medical offers free STI testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea, the two most common bacterial STIs, trichomoniasis (a parasitic STI, and the human papillomavirus (HPV). Testing is simple, and results are usually available within a week. Contact us today for your free appointment.
This post is for education and information purposes only and does not substitute the advice of a Healthcare Professional.
Dove Medical offers pregnancy diagnosis, decision coaching, and accurate information about all pregnancy options; however, we do not offer or refer for abortion services including the abortion pill.