CDC estimates that there are 20 million new infections every year in the United States.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Even when an STD has no symptoms, a person who is infected may be able to pass the disease through sexual activity.
- One in two sexually active persons will contract an STD/STI by age 25.
- One in four teens who are sexually active has an STI.
- Several STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) are chronic, life-long infections.
- One out of every five Americans over the age of 12 has genital herpes.
- In the United States, it is estimated that there are 19 million new infections each year – over half of these occurring in young people ages 15-24.
- Over 70 million people in the United States are infected or have been infected with an STI or STD. The leading cause of mouth and throat cancer today is Human Papilloma Virus, which is an STI.
WHAT ARE THEY?
Sexually transmitted diseases/infections are infections generally acquired by sexual contact, but can also be spread from mother to infant during pregnancy or childbirth, blood transfusions, or shared needles. An STI is an infection, caused by bacteria, viruses or parasite, that does not show any physical signs or symptoms. It becomes an STD when symptoms appear. It’s important to remember that not all infected people will have signs or symptoms. STDs can be passed to your partner without your knowledge because you do not have to have symptoms to be contagious; you can spread the disease at any time.
HOW DO YOU GET STIS?
- Any sexual activity with an infected person: vaginal sex, oral sex and anal sex.
- Some STIs can be spread by contact with infected skin tissue.
- You can get an STI from a person who has no symptoms.
HOW CAN I PREVENT MYSELF FROM GETTING AN STI?
- The only way to be 100% safe from STIs and HIV/AIDS is to abstain from all sexual activities until you and your uninfected partner can remain faithful to each other for life.
- Correct and consistent condom use can reduce (but not eliminate) your risk of getting most STIs.
- Consistent and correct condom use during vaginal sex reduces your risk for: HIV by 85%, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes and Syphilis by about 50%, and HPV by 50% or less.
WHAT ARE POSSIBLE SYMPTOMS OF AN STI?
- STIs often have no visible symptoms, so you or your partner may not even know you have one.
- Some common symptoms may include: pain or burning while urinating, rashes, sores, warts, blisters, itchiness, unusual discharge from the penis or vagina and pain during sex.
If you see anything that you are unsure of, have it checked out by your health care provider. You may also not have shown any symptoms of the STD until long after your sexual contact and you may want to consider getting checked out on a regular basis.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS?
- Pelvic Inflammatory disease
- Cervical Cancer or Penile Cancer
- Ectopic Pregnancy (pregnancy somewhere other than the uterus)
- Miscarriage or Stillbirth
- Preterm delivery
WHAT ARE THE AVAILABLE TREATMENTS?
- Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics and cured.
- Treatment does not reverse any damage that may have already occurred.
- Viral STIs can be treated for symptoms, but not cured; some can be fatal.
SHOULD I GET TESTED?
It is recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) that all sexually active people be routinely tested. A person should be examined and tested in a clinic or health provider’s office if they feel they have any symptoms that could possibly be an STD. Getting tested is a good idea since so many STDs do not have visible symptoms.
To find out if you are at risk to STI exposure, visit the link below or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.