Although sex is a normal, healthy and can be an enjoyable part of life, there are some risks to consider when having sex.One risk related to sexual activity is getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI): an infection or disease you can get by being sexually intimate with someone who’s infected. STIs have nothing to do with age, hygiene, sexual orientation or income.
You've probably heard about HIV and AIDS. But there are many other serious STIs such as:
STI germs live in certain sores and bumps, blood, semen and vaginal fluids.
STIs can pass from person to person during any kind of sex: vaginal (penis in vagina), anal (penis in rectum), or oral (mouth to penis, vagina or anus.) Some STIs cause sores that contain the viruses or bacteria that cause STIs. Touching the sores through genital skin-to-skin contact can also spread an infection.
Some STIs are spread by sharing needles or by tattooing and body piercing with un-sterilized equipment. You can’t get an STI from shaking hands or from toilet seats.
It can be hard to tell if you or your partner has an STI. Many men and women with STIs don't have any signs or symptoms.
You may have an STI if you have any ONE of these signs:
If you have any signs or symptoms of an STI:
Most STIs DON’T disappear without treatment, even if your symptoms go away.
You can still have an infection without any symptoms. Left untreated, your infection might cause serious complications such as PID or sterility (you won’t be able to have children in the future). Early treatment will prevent these complications.
If you have an STI you’ll need to be tested and treated.
Treatment is especially important for pregnant women to protect the unborn baby. Be sure to inform your doctor if you’re pregnant.
When your doctor treats you for an STI, take ALL of the medication exactly as ordered even if your symptoms disappear. DON’T share your medication with anyone else. Once you’ve finished all of the medication, return to your doctor or clinic for a check up to see if your infection is cured.
You must tell all of your partner(s), as they also need to be treated.
Don’t have sex until you and your partner(s) are treated and retested.
As soon as you start having sex, ask your doctor to examine you for STIs. Get re-tested every year or more frequently if you are at risk of having an infection. Females should also have annual Pap tests.
Abstinence is the only sure way of not getting an STI. If you do choose to have sex: