Think you know everything about STIs? Keep reading to test your knowledge.
You can get an STI even if you don’t have sex.
Although the exchange of bodily fluids through sex is a surefire way to get — or give — most STIs, it’s not the only way. Herpes can spread from mouth to genitals (or back) via oral sex while viruses such as HPV can spread through skin-to-skin contact. In fact, using a condom may not be enough to prevent the spread of HPV.
Condoms do prevent transmission of many STIs, however, and you can find them for sale on our site.
STIs are more common than you might think.
The prevalence of STIs is much higher than you might realize. Millions of Americans, just to look at one country, will contract an STI in any given year. In fact, HPV is so perseverant that the CDC simply states that most sexually active adults will contract it during their lifetime.
If you’ve recently received test results that state you’re positive for an STI, know that you’re not alone, dirty or unwanted. It might alter your life less than you think.
An STI isn’t a death sentence.
While STIs have become more common, treatments have also become more effective. For example, a daily pill can minimize herpes outbreaks, and treatments for HIV/AIDS not only extend life but improve the quality of life, too. For many people, their positive STI status has minimal impact on their daily lives. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to prevent STI transmission, of course. Some strains of HPV can still cause cervical cancer, for example, which could eventually lead to infertility. And syphilis can cause brain damage if left untreated.
There’s an HPV vaccine.
The vaccine, which consists of three doses, is administered to teenagers and young adults up to the age of 26. Even if you’re nearing the age limit, a single dose can offer protection of several strains of HPV, even those that cause cervical cancer.
You might not know you have an STI especially if you’re a man.
There are strains of HPV that have no symptoms at all so you might not know until you go in for an STI panel. Similarly, you might not experience the burning or discharge that sometimes happens with chlamydia and gonorrhea, which often goes hand in hand with chlamydia, can go under the radar, too. If you only experience a general aching or a single sore, you might doubt if you have herpes.
Frequent testing is important.
If you’re sexually active, it might not be good enough to get tested once a year with your PAP smear (if you’re a woman), and men may not get tested at all because they don’t see an OBGYN annually. It’s recommended to get tested for STIs after you have a new sexual partner. You can get results for STIs as soon as two weeks after sex (gonorrhea and chlamydia), but it’ll take up to three months to test for syphilis, HIV or Hepatitis C or B.
You can get tested in a variety of locations.
Your primary care doctor may be able to do STI testing, or you might seek out an OBGYN. Clinics such as Planned Parenthood also offer STI screening.
There are different types of STI tests.
Different screening types can look for different STIs, and some infections can be detected by multiple tests. The common types of tests include urine, blood and tissue swab. Note that there’s no test for asymptomatic HPV for men.
If you have other questions about STIs, feel free to contact us.