Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), commonly referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are caused by bacteria, parasites or viruses that are spread from one person to another through oral, anal or vaginal sex. Occasionally, they can be passed along through other types of intimate contact.
It is possible to have an STI and not even realize it. In many cases, symptoms are mild or unnoticeable.
If you are having sex, it is important to get tested so you can be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Infections that are left untreated can cause serious complications and other health problems.
Chlamydia – Chlamydia is very common and typically does not show symptoms. If left untreated, it can cause reproductive problems and make it difficult to get pregnant. Chlamydia is easily treatable and curable with antibiotics. A simple swab or urine test can put your mind at ease.
Genital Herpes –The herpes virus can cause raw blisters and painful sores, or sometimes there are no symptoms at all. Antiviral medications can reduce symptoms, shorten outbreaks and decrease the likelihood of transmitting it to sexual partners. Genital herpes generally does not cause serious health problems, but unfortunately there is no cure. A swab of a sore or blister can often tell if the lesion is herpes.
Gonorrhea – This bacterial infection has developed resistance to many antibiotics but can be cured with the right combination of medication. If untreated, it can increase your risk of other STDs and cause serious problems in both women and men. Gonorrhea can be detected with a swab or urine test.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – HIV is the infection that causes AIDS. Your chances of getting HIV are higher if you have an STD. Treatments are available for HIV, but there is no cure. Early detection and education are important to help manage the disease. HIV testing is done via a blood draw.
Syphilis – This bacterial infection can be cured with the right antibiotics. Syphilis may begin with a painless sore and progress to include fever, rash, swollen glands, sore throat and headaches. It is easiest to treat in its earliest stages. A simple blood sample will let you know if you have this infection.