Health Topics & Information

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are also called venereal diseases. You could get STIs by having vaginal, oral, or anal sex with someone who already has an STI. So STIs affect men and women of all races, rich and poor. However, women, young people and people of color are more likely to get an STI. STIs are caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites. Some STIs can be cured, but others can’t.

The only way to prevent STIs is not to have sex. If you do decide to have sex, there are a few things you can do to lower your chances of getting an STI:

  • Have sex with only one partner, who does not have an STI; the more sexual partners you have, the more likely you are to get an STI
  • Always use a condom and use a new one every time you have sex
  • Get regular checkups for STIs, even if you don’t have any symptoms
  • Use a clean needle if injecting intravenous drugs

If you get an STI, you may not feel sick at all. If diagnosed and treated early, most STIs get better and go away. If you have an STI:

  • Get treated as soon as possible to lower the risk of passing it on to others
  • Tell all your recent sexual partners and urge them to get tested
  • When your doctor prescribes medication, follow your doctor’s instructions
  • Do not have sex while being treated for an STI

 

What is HPV?

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that can lead to cancer. HPV is so common that nearly everyone sexually active will get the virus at some point in their lives. The HPV vaccine prevents cancers caused by HPV. All preteens (between the ages of 9 and 12) need the HPV vaccination to be protected from cancers caused by this virus. The HPV vaccine is given in three doses: the second shot is given 1 or 2 months after the first shot, then a third shot is given 6 months after the first shot. Protection produced by HPV vaccine lasts long term and is very safe.

 

STI Screening Recommendation by Age and Gender

STIWOMENPREGNANT WOMENMENMEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN (MSM)PERSONS WITH HIV
ChlamydiaSexually active women between 16-24 years of age; Sexually active women at aged 25 or older if at riskAll pregnant women; at aged 25 or older if at riskMSMAnnually for sexually active MSM; every 3-6 months if at riskFor sexually active, one initial screening and annually thereafter
GonorrheaSexually active women; at aged 25 or older if at riskAll pregnant women under 25 years of age and older women if at riskAnnually for sexually active MSM; every 3-6 months if at riskFor sexually active, one initial screening and annually thereafter
SyphilisAll pregnant women at first visitAnnually for sexually active MSM; every 3-6 months if at riskFor sexually active, one initial screening and annually thereafter
TrichomonasWomen at high risk of infection, with multiple partners, illicit drug use and history of STIFor sexually active women, one initial screening and annually thereafter
HerpesWomen with multiple sex partners and presenting other STI symptomsMen with multiple sex partners and presenting other STI symptomsMen with multiple sex partners and presenting other STI symptoms
HIVAll women aged 13-64. All women who seek evaluation and treatment for STIAll pregnant women should be screen at first prenatal visitAll men aged 13-64. All men who seek evaluation and treatment for STIAt least annually for sexually active MSM if HIV status is unknown
Cervical CancerWomen 21-64 years of age every 3 yearsPregnant women should be screened at same intervals as non-pregnant womenWomen should be screened with 1 year of sexual activity or initial HIV diagnosis
Hep BWomen at riskInitial test at first prenatal visit and retest at delivery if at riskMen at riskAll MSM should be testedAll persons with HIV should be tested
Hep CWomen born between 1945-1965; other women if risk factors are presentPregnant women born between 1945-1965; other pregnant women if risk factors are presentMen born between 1945-1965; other men if risk factors are presentMSM born between 1945-1965; other MSM if risk factors are presentTest at initial evaluation; annually for MSM with HIV infection

Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Helpful Resources:

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
last updated: April 26, 2022

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