If you’re thinking about having sex, it’s crucial to take steps to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy
STIs are infections that are spread through sexual contact. They are also called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Some STIs—like HPV and herpes—can be spread from skin-to-skin contact, so you can get them without “going all the way.”
Anyone can get an STI, regardless of sexual orientation, age, sex or race. STIs are particularly common in people ages 15 to 24. About half of new STI cases each year are in young people. And you can’t always tell if someone has an STI just by looking at them.
While some sexually transmitted infections are curable, others aren’t. STIs can be caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites.
STIs caused by bacteria or parasites can be cured with antibiotics. But left untreated, they can cause irreversible damage to the body. Curable STIs include:
STIs caused by viruses aren’t curable, but they can be managed through medication and treatment by a doctor. Incurable STIs include:
Some STIs cause symptoms, while others don’t right away, but can lead to long-term health problems. Symptoms can include:
Untreated STIs can cause permanent damage to the body, such as:
Having an STI can also increase your risk of getting HIV.
The only 100% guaranteed way to not get an STI is to not have oral, anal or vaginal sex. If you decide to be sexually active, use protection to reduce your risk, such as:
You can get protection at most grocery and convenience stores and at many community health clinics.
If you’re thinking about having sex or are currently sexually active, it can be helpful to talk to a trusted adult. While it can be intimidating to discuss sex and STI prevention, doing so can help you learn more about protecting yourself and your partner from unwanted pregnancy and STIs. A trusted adult can include a:
If you decide to have sex, keep yourself and your partner safe by using protection.
Need more info? Connect with an Expert.
Centerstone Sexual Healthcare
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Get Tested
CDC: Sexually Transmitted Diseases
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