Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) are extremely common!
According to American Sexual Health Association, by the age 25, half of all youth will have acquired one or more sexually transmitted infections. That’s more than 9 million youth with an STI. According to the CDC, in the United States alone there are about 20 million new cases of STI’s every year.
You may have heard them called STD’s (Sexually Transmitted Disease) before. The main reason they are now called STI’s is that the word “disease” implies that there are obvious signs and symptoms that you have one- but that isn’t always the case. Depending on the STI, there could be very obvious symptoms, or there could be mild symptoms or even no symptoms, therefore the only way to know for sure whether you have one or not is to get tested on a regular basis. For an in-depth explanation of the difference, you can visit the American Sexual Health Association.
You can get an STI by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has an STI. Anyone who is sexually active can get an STI. You don’t even have to “go all the way” (have anal or vaginal sex) to get an STI. This is because some STIs, like herpes and HPV, are spread by skin-to-skin contact.
Sometimes people are too scared or embarrassed to ask for STI information or testing. But keep in mind that many STIs are easy to treat — and dangerous if they’re not detected and treated. It is extremely important that you know if you have an STI so that you can get treated for the infection or take medicine to help with symptoms.
We understand that it might be uncomfortable to talk about sexual health and STI’s with your partner, but you should make sure you have an honest conversation with the person you are thinking of having sex with about your sexual history and STI exposure. Consider this- when is the last time you or your partner got tested? Before every new sexual relationship and every 6 months, you should get tested. If you need a list of conversation starters, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion have conversation starters to make talking to your partner easier.
If you have questions about STI’s, prevention, treatment, or want to get tested, contact us and we can get you the referral information you need.