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Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are also known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). These infectious diseases are passed from person to person through oral, anal and vaginal sexual contact, skin-to-skin genital contact, and/or sharing sex toys.

STIs are grouped into three main categories:

STIs are a serious health concern. Many STIs show no obvious signs or symptoms and therefore can go unnoticed and untreated. If left untreated, STIs can lead to serious long-term health problems such as infertility (the inability to have a baby) and even death. 

Some STIs can be cured but others cannot.

To reduce your risk of getting STIs, including HIV, follow these practices:

  • Use a condom and/or oral dam properly and consistently each time you are sexually active. 
  • See your healthcare provider or go to a sexual health clinic to be tested for STIs if you are sexually active or starting a sexual relationship with a new partner. 
  • You and your partner should be tested for STIs before becoming sexually active and then again in three to six months.

You can’t tell if someone has an STI by looking at them; the only way to know is to be tested.

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Updated Aug 26, 2013