Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)

STIs: Signs to Look For

Women are less likely to show signs of STIs than men, and may not know they are infected. Without diagnosis and treatment, a woman could pass the infection to others or have health problems later.

Chlamydia
Chlamydia can cause serious problems with pregnancies if not treated. Most people have no signs at all, but signs could be:
Women:
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Burning feeling when peeing
  • Lower back/abdominal pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Fever, nausea, bleeding between periods
Men:
  • Discharge from penis
  • Burning feeling when peeing
  • Itching/burning around penis opening
  • Swelling of testicles

Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a clinician.

Genital Herpes
Genital Herpes can be spread by an infected partner even when you cannot see any blister-like sores. Condoms may not fully protect against this STI. Signs that you have it are burning or itching around genitals or anus, and sores where the virus was spread – such as mouth, penis, or vagina. There is no cure, but pills can reduce the days per year that sores appear and also reduce the risk of spreading it.
Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is spread by touching the penis, vagina, mouth, or anus of an infected partner. Signs include:
Women:
  • Pain or burning feeling when peeing
  • More than usual vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding between periods
Men
  • Burning feeling when peeing
  • White, yellow, or green penis discharge
  • Painful swelling of testicles

Gonorrhea can usually be cured with prescribed antibiotics.

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a virus that attacks the liver. It can be spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex, or by contact with blood that has the virus. There are shots to prevent the virus, but there is no cure.
HIV Infection / AIDS
HIV Infection/AIDS HIV is a virus that causes AIDS. HIV is spread by:
  • Sexual contact with an infected person
  • Sharing needles or syringes
  • Transfusions of infected blood
It can also be spread from mother to baby in pregnancy or breastfeeding. It cannot be spread by touching, hugging, kissing, or sharing food or drink. You cannot tell by looking if someone has HIV. Use a new condom for every sex act.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus most sexually active people will get at some time. Some HPV causes genital warts or may lead to cervical cancer. There is a shot to prevent some types of HPV, including some types that can cause genital warts.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a painful disease in women that may be caused by an STI that was not treated, but could also have other causes. Signs include:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Unusual vaginal discharge with bad odor
  • Painful peeing/painful sex
  • Bleeding between periods
PID can be treated by a health care provider. If not treated, it can cause damage that may make it impossible to get pregnant.
Pubic Lice (Crabs) and Scabies
Pubic lice (crabs)are small bugs that attack the genital area. They itch and can spread between partners during sex. They can be treated with over-the-counter medicine or prescription lotions. Scabies can be treated with prescription medicine. Partners should be treated at the same time for lice or scabies.
Trichomoniasis
Trichomoniasis makes the vagina sore and swollen and can be mistaken for a yeast infection. It can have a foamy, greenish, foul-smelling discharge. Tell a health care provider about any signs. Don’t try to treat it alone.

For your sake and your partner’s, always know your status:

Get Tested.

Practice Safer Sex to guard against STIs

If you are having oral, anal, or vaginal sex, you may get, or spread, sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Ways to protect against STIs:

  • Not having sex at all (abstinence) is the best protection against STIs.
  • Being in a monogamous relationship with one sex partner is the next best protection.
  • Using condoms correctly every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex.
  • Using oral dams (a thin layer of latex) as a barrier between the mouth of one partner and the body of another partner.
  • Looking for signs. Don’t have sex if you see a sore, scab, rash, or discharge on sex organs or if you think your partner has an STI.
  • Don’t have sex when you or your partner are drunk or high. It’s hard to make good decisions under those conditions.
  • Learning the signs and STIs and going to a clinic right away if you think you might have an STI.
Find a Clinic and Get Tested