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Are You at Risk for an STI?

Always use condoms properly.

Correct and consistent use of male latex condoms can help reduce the risk of sexually-transmitted infection (STI). However, no protective method is 100% effective, and condom use cannot guarantee protection against any STI.

Guide to Selected Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Download and print this chart [PDF]

Infection What is it? How could I get it? How can I tell? How can I try to get rid of it? How do I lower my risk?
Chlamydia A bacteria that can infect a woman’s cervix and uterus, as well as the urethra, throat or anus of men and women. Untreated chlamydia infection can cause infertility in women. Unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex with a partner who is infected. Infected women can pass the infection to their infants during vaginal childbirth. Symptoms may include a smelly discharge or burning, particularly when urinating, and itching or pain, or swelling in the testicles. Antibiotics prescribed by a health care provider. Use condoms consistently and correctly.
Many women, including all sexually active women under 25, should be tested yearly.
Genital Herpes Viruses that cause sores on sex organs or mouth. Skin-to-skin contact of infected areas, even when there are no symptoms. Many people have no symptoms, but if symptoms occur they are typically an outbreak of painful sores within 2 weeks after infection. Sores typically go away after a few weeks, but are likely to reoccur. There is no cure. Talk to your health care provider about ways to manage the disease. Use condoms consistently and correctly.
Gonorrhea An infection caused by a bacteria that can infect a woman’s cervix and uterus, as well as the urethra, anus, mouth, throat, or eyes of both men and women. Women are at greater risk for pelvic infection and may be at risk for infertility. Vaginal, oral, or anal sex with a partner who is infected. Infected women can pass the infection to their infants during vaginal childbirth, if untreated. Many people have no symptoms. Some people may have a burning sensation while urinating or a discharge from the penis or vagina. Men are more likely to experience symptoms than women. Antibiotics prescribed by a health care provider. Use condoms consistently and correctly.
Hepatitis B A virus that can cause inflammation of the liver. May lead to cancer or scarring of the liver. Vaginal, oral, or anal sex with a partner who is infected. Sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment. Infants born to infected mothers. Blood tests can detect hepatitis B infection. Most people > 5 years of age who are infected will have symptoms within 3 months after infection, including fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and jaundice (yellow color of skin or eyes). There is no cure. Talk to your health care provider about ways to manage the disease. Use condoms consistently and correctly.
Talk with your doctor about other steps you can take to help protect against hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C A virus that can cause serious inflammation of the liver and liver failure over time. Contact with infected blood or bodily fluids. Vaginal or anal sex with a partner who is infected. Sharing needles. Blood tests can detect hepatitis C infection. Many people with hepatitis C do not experience symptoms, although some may experience fever, fatigue, or other symptoms. Talk to your health care provider about treatment options. Use condoms consistently and correctly.
Don’t share needles.
Don’t get tattoos or body piercings from an unlicensed facility.
Don’t share personal items (razors, toothbrushes, etc) that may have come into contact with an infected person’s blood.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) A virus that attacks the immune system. Vaginal, oral, or anal sex with a partner who is infected. Sharing needles. Women who are pregnant and have HIV infection may also pass it to their unborn child. Get tested for HIV, a blood test can detect the HIV infection. During the first few weeks some people may have flu-like symptoms. HIV may progress to AIDS when the immune system becomes severely damaged and cannot fight certain infections and cancers. There is no cure. Talk to your health care provider about ways to manage the disease. Use condoms consistently and correctly.
Insist that your sexual partners get tested for HIV. 
Don’t share needles.
Genital Warts/HPV (human papillomavirus) A sexually transmitted virus. Some types of the virus cause cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancers. Other types cause genital warts. Genital contact, most often during vaginal or anal sex, but also during oral sex and genital-to-genital contact. Genital warts appear as small bumps in the genital area. Cervical cancer generally does not have symptoms until the cancer is advanced. Routine pap tests can detect cervical lesions before becoming cancer. There is no effective treatment for the virus itself. Visible genital warts, as well as cervical lesions, can be treated in a variety of ways. Talk to your health care provider about treatment options. Use condoms consistently and correctly throughout the entire sex act.
Syphilis An infection caused by a bacteria that initially leads to one or more sores on the penis, vagina, anus, rectum, lips, or mouth. Untreated, it could spread throughout the body and can cause damage to the internal organs, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. Vaginal, anal, or oral sex without protection. Contact with sores. Women who are pregnant and have HIV infection may also pass it to their unborn child. A blood test can detect syphilis. A single sore or multiple sores usually appear 3 weeks after the virus enters the body. If the infection progresses, a rash could develop. In later stages, damage to internal organs and nerves may occur. Antibiotics prescribed by a health care provider. Use condoms consistently and correctly.
Trichomoniasis An infection caused by a parasite that infects the genitals and urinary tract. Vaginal, anal, or oral sex without protection. Women may have vaginal discharge, discomfort during urination or intercourse, itching. Most males may not have signs or symptoms, some may have irritation inside the penis, mild discharge, or slight burning after urination or ejaculation. Antiparasitics as prescribed by a health care provider. Use condoms consistently and correctly.
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