STIs AT A GLANCE
- There are around 340 million new cases of curable STIs (syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, etc) estimated worldwide every year
- Left untreated, STIs can have serious health implications
- Millions of incurable viral STIs, including an estimated 2.3 million HIV infections, occur each year
WHAT ARE THEY?
There are many types of STIs, some curable, some not, some have horrific symptoms, some have none at all. All that can really be said for all types of STIs is that you don’t want any of them, at all. Always protect yourself against infection when having sex and always go straight to your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider if you have any symptoms, or think you might have been exposed to the risk of infection. It’s always better to be safe than very, very sorry.
- Some STIs do not cause any symptoms so always get checked out if you think you have been exposed to the risk of infection
- Seriously, no excuses, if you have unprotected sex, get yourself checked
HAVE YOU GOT AN STI?
If you have unprotected sex you really should get yourself checked for STIs. Not all STIs have symptoms so you can be walking around thinking you’re fine while carrying some pretty nasty things around inside you. And those horrible things are just waiting for you to have unprotected sex again so you can share them around. Get yourself checked and don’t have sex with anyone else until you know you’re clear, you’d want someone else to do the same for you, wouldn’t you?
PROTECTION AT A GLANCE
- There is only one contraceptive which protects you against the risk of HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and that is condoms
- The best way to stay safe is to stay honest. Talk openly with your partner and never be pressured into anything you feel uncomfortable with
- Regular STI check ups are essential for the sexually active
DO IT RIGHT
What is safe sex?
Practicing safe sex means getting and giving sexual pleasure without putting each other at risk of STIs. Being honest with each other is the key to this process.
How do you do this?
It is important to remember that just because you are protected against pregnancy, you are not necessarily safe against STIs, unless you’re using condoms. Condoms are the only effective way of protecting yourself and should be used with other contraceptives to keep you safe.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Yes. Condoms have been proven to provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In fact, condoms are the only contraceptive method that also provides STI protection. Condoms provide different levels of risk reduction for different STIs because infections are spread differently—some are spread by contact with bodily fluids while others are spread by skin to skin contact.
In general, research shows that condoms are most effective in preventing those STIs that are spread by bodily fluids, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV. Condoms also can reduce the risk of contracting diseases spread by skin-to-skin contact, such as herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV). However, condoms only can protect against these diseases if the sores are in areas covered by the condom.
HIV cannot be transmitted through casual contact. This includes closed mouth kissing, hugging, shaking hands, and sharing food, clothing, or toilet seats. The virus cannot survive long outside of the human body. Mosquitoes cannot transmit HIV, either.
Genital hygiene is important and a good practice. There is no evidence, however, that washing the genitals prevents STI infection. In fact, vaginal douching increases a woman's risk of acquiring STIs, including HIV, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
If exposed to STIs, women are more likely to become infected than men due to biological factors. Women have a greater area of exposure (the cervix and the vagina) than men, and small tears may occur in the vaginal tissue during sex, making an easy pathway for infection.
No. Instead, this practice only risks infecting the person who has not yet had sex.