Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that are transmitted by sexual contact: Oral sex (contact between the mouth and the penis, vulva, vagina, or anus)

7/6/2020

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Transmission

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that are transmitted by sexual contact: Oral sex (contact between the mouth and the penis, vulva, vagina, or anus)

Vaginal intercourse (penetration of the penis into the vagina) Anal intercourse (penetration of the penis into the anus) Contact between the partners' genitals
Sharing of sex toys

STIs can be transmitted even if the infected person is not experiencing symptoms. Furthermore, some STIs can be transmitted through the blood, such as HIV and hepatitis B. A baby can also contract an STI during childbirth if the mother is infected. However, contrary to many common myths, you cannot get STIs from toilet seats, towels, or insect bites.

Prevention and treatment

Below are some of the ways you can reduce the risk of spreading an STI: Use a condom during all sexual activities

Use a dental dam (thin sheet of latex or cut condom) during oral or genital sexual contact Do not have sexual intercourse with someone who has STI symptoms
Limit your number of sexual partners
Do not use unsterilized injection equipment

Do not get a tattoo or piercing with a used needle

The condom is the only contraceptive that's effective in preventing STI transmission. Other contraceptives (e.g., oral contraceptives and IUDs) do not protect against STIs.

Some STIs can be treated with antibiotics. Others, however, cannot be cured, such as herpes and HIV. When treatment is available, it's important to follow it as recommended, even if your symptoms clear up before the end of the specified treatment period. Treatment helps stop the transmission of STIs and prevent complications.

When should I see a health care professional?

Many STIs have no signs or symptoms. It's therefore important to always use protection during sexual intercourse and to see your health care professional for regular STI testing.

Getting an STI test is recommended in the following situations: You recently had unprotected sex. You shared injection equipment or got a tattoo or piercing with a used needle You had sexual intercourse with a new partner, several partners, or someone with an STI. You have STI symptoms
You're pregnant or want to become pregnant