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STD stands for "Sexually Transmitted Disease" and STI stands for "Sexually Transmitted Infection" each mean infections being passed from one person to another during sex. 

What are STDs/STIs? 

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) / Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are passed from one person to another person through vaginal, oral, and anal sex. They can spread through intimate physical contact like heavy petting. 

STDs/STIs do not always cause symptoms or may only cause mild symptoms. It is possible to have an infection and not know it. Getting tested for STDs/STIs is important if you are having sex. If you receive a positive STD/STI diagnosis, know that all are treatable with medicine and some are curable entirely. While some STDs/STIs may be cured, all symptoms can be managed by a healthcare professional.


Types of STDs/STIs


How can I prevent STDs/STIs? 

There are steps you can take to keep yourself and your partner(s) healthy. Here are some ways you can avoid giving or getting an STD/STI: 
  1. Practice Abstinence - The most reliable way to avoid STDs/STIs is to not have sex, including vaginal, anal, and oral.  
  2. Use Condoms - Using a condom correctly every time you have sex can help you avoid STDs/STIs. Condoms reduce the risk of infection for all STDs/STIs. However, it is still possible to contract certain STDs/STIs, like Herpes or HPV, from contact with our partner's skin even when using a condom. 
  3. Have Fewer Partners - Agree to only have sex with one person who agrees to only have sex with you. Make sure you both get tested to know for sure that neither of you has an STD/STI. 
  4. Get Vaccinated - The most common STD/STI can be prevented by a vaccine. The HPV vaccine is safe, effective and can help you avoid HPV related health problems, like genital warts and some cancers. 
  5. Get Tested - Many STDs/STIs don't have symptoms, but they can still cause health problems and be transmitted to your partners. The only way to know for sure if you have an STD/STI is to get tested. 

If I think I have an STD/STI, what should I do?

  • Get Tested
    • Call your primary doctor or clinic to ask about STD/STI testing
    • For public clinics providing diagnosis and treatment, click HERE
  • Ask your provider about what to do about providing treatment to your partner(s)

If I find out I have an STD/STI, what should I do? 

  • Inform your partner(s) of your diagnosis if your partner(s) have not already received treatment

How can my partner(s) be treated? 

  • You can bring your partner to the clinic you went to.
    • Your partner should tell clinic staff which infection you were diagnosed with. Sharing this information will help your partner get the correct tests and treatment.
  • You may be able to get a prescription or medicine for both you and your partner from the clinic or from your doctor. This is called expedited partner therapy (EPT).
  • Your partner can go to their own doctor or clinic (such as a family planning clinic, a student health center, or an urgent care clinic).

What happens if I do not recieve treatment?

  • In women, untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to health problems like ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the wombexternal icon) or infertility (inability to get pregnant).
  • In men, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause a painful condition in the tubes attached to the testicles. In rare cases, this may prevent him from being able to have children.
  • Untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea may also increase your chances of getting or giving HIV – the virus that causes AIDS.

What if I am having trouble coping with my recent diagnosis? 

If you are thinking about harming yourself or attempting suicide, or thinking about harming someone else, get immediate help: call 911.

Other Resources: 


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention