Be Safe: Prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) are diseases you can get by having sex with someone who has an STI. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 19 million sexually transmitted diseases occur annually in the United States. Almost half of those infected are between the ages of 15-24.
Many infections show few symptoms- this is especially true in women. Sexually transmitted diseases can cause severe organ damage and infertility. Even though STIs respond well to treatment, some can be treated but not cured. Unfortunately, many STIs are undiagnosed and not reported.
Don’t risk giving an infection to someone else or yourself. Take action to protect yourself and those you love from harm and if you are concerned- get checked for STIs.
Complications if left untreated, some STIs can:
• Spread to sex partners or needle-sharing partners
• Cause permanent damage to reproductive organs
• Lead to infertility in men and women
• Infect newborns and may lead to serious complications and possible death of infants
• Cause heart disease, blindness, arthritis, brain damage or death
• Avoiding sex or sexual relations the best way to prevent STIs
• Limit number of sex partners
• Use latex condoms
• Know the symptoms of STIs. This may include genital pain, sores, or discharge. But, remember many STIs do not have symptoms at all.
• Notify sex partners immediately if you have an STI
• Make sure partners are tested and treated at the same time to prevent re-infection
Testing and Treatment:
• Get a test from a medical provider if infection is suspected
• Some STDs can be cured using medication prescribed by a provider
More information can be found at:
Center for Disease Control and Prevention Center
VA National HIV/AIDS Website