April is National Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Awareness month. It is the perfect time to discuss what we know about STIs and what we can do to protect ourselves from them!
(Note: The hyperlinks above direct you to Fact Sheets that are viewable online and downloadable as a PDF. Each are available in English, Spanish, Cape Verdean Creole, Haitian Creole, Chinese, Portuegese and Vietnamese.)
There are many factors that can increase someone’s risk of infection, including environmental, social and cultural factors. Young people ages 15–24 continue to be at highest risk for most STIs.
The good news? STIs are preventable! There are always risks associated with having sex, but there are ways to reduce your risk of getting STIs. Limit your risk by taking the following steps:
- Always use a latex, nitrile or polyurethane condom or barrier (dental dam) when having anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
- Limit your number of sex partners.
- Talk with your partner about their STI status and getting tested.
- Talk with your health care provider about safer sex practices and getting tested.
- Understand that having sex while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol can increase the likelihood of unprotected sex.
The only 100% effective way to prevent STIs is to not have sex.
All STIs, even HIV, are treatable, and most are curable. That’s why it is important to get tested! The sooner you know you have an STI, the better you can protect your health. If not treated, some STIs can lead to serious health problems. If you have an STI, talk to your partner if it is safe to do so. Keep in mind that if your partner is not treated, your partner will continue to pass the infection back to you, and you will need to be treated again!
Stay tuned for more STI blogs throughout the month!