Knowing how to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is key to staying healthy. If you get an STI, you may also find it comforting to know that many STIs can be treated. Here are 10 STI facts that are good to know if you are sexually active.
1. STIs Are Very Common
More than one million STIs are acquired every day worldwide, which can seem scary. Anyone can get an STI, regardless of their race or sexual orientation.
Some common STIs are:
- Genital herpes
- Hepatitis B
2. STIs Can Spread Through Any Type Of Sex
You can get an STI from any form of unprotected sex. Viruses and parasites can be transmitted through all types of sexual contact.
It is possible to get an STI through genital touching and by having unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex with someone who is positive for an STI.
3. Complete Abstinence Is the Best Way To Avoid STIs
Abstinence is the most reliable way to avoid an STI. This means not having any form of sex (vaginal, oral, or anal).
You can be physically and emotionally intimate with someone without having sex. Talk to your partner about the types of intimacy you both enjoy.
4. Condoms Are Effective Against Most STIs
Condoms are an effective way to protect yourself against STIs. When used correctly, condoms can be up to 98% effective in preventing STIs and pregnancy.
5. STIs Don’t Always Show Symptoms
STIs do not always cause symptoms, but when they do, they can show up months or years after you have been infected.
Some symptoms of STIs include:
- Discharge from the anus, penis, or vagina
- Pain when urinating
- Blisters, sores, or warts around the genitals
6. STI Screenings Are Important
An STI screening can detect STIs early on so they can be treated. If you know you are infected, you can take the right steps to get treated and to protect yourself and your partner(s).
STI screenings can be done as urine, blood, or swab tests. Contact an NJFPL health center to schedule an STI screening and to learn more about what to expect.
7. Many STIs Can Be Cured When Detected Early Enough
For most people, many STIs can be cured, especially when detected early.
If you are sexually active, get an STI screening even if you do not have symptoms. STIs can be treated using medications such as a single dose of antibiotics or antivirals. At NJFPL health centers, you can also pick up treatment medications for your partner.
8. Untreated STIs May Lead To Complications
An untreated STI can lead to problems later on. Infertility and organ damage are some of the many complications of untreated STIs. Some STIs can also make it easier for you to get other STIs.
9. Vaccines and Medications Are Available To Prevent STIs
Vaccines are available to prevent HPV and hepatitis B. Currently, there are no other vaccines available to reduce your risk for other STIs. This is one more reason it is so important to get screened.
PrEP is a daily medication you take if you are at risk of getting HIV to stop the virus from growing in your body. When used correctly it can reduce the risk of HIV from sex by 99%.
10. You Can Get An STI More Than Once
Being treated for an STI will not prevent you from getting it again in the future. Some of the best ways to avoid getting an STI more than once are to:
- Stay abstinent
- Use condoms
- Get vaccinated and get screened for STIs at least annually
- Reduce the number of sex partners you have
- Talk with your partner(s) about getting tested for STIs and HIV
At NJFPL, we understand the importance of taking control of your sexual health. Find a health center today to schedule an STI screening and learn more about our services.