STI Facts

Understand STIs better by reviewing the medical facts:

  • STIs can be bacteria, virus or other organisms that are transmitted through genital or sexual contact with someone who has the disease/infection. Note that Bacterial STIs can be cured (can be treated with antiboiotics), but any damage done is irreversible. Viral STIs can be treated (though antibiotics don’t work), but NOT cured…and will remain with you the rest of your life.
  • STIs can be passed on in two ways.
    • Skin to Skin Contact in the underwear zone
    • Contact with infected body fluids (Blood, Semen, Vaginal Fluid or Breast milk)
  • STIs are one of the most common types of infections in the US today and teens are at greater risk of getting them.
  • 1 in 4 sexually-active teens has an STI.
  • You can get an STI the first time you have sex.
  • Many STIs have no cure while others may be treated through medication.
  • You can get an STI from someone who does not know he/she is infected.
  • Most people infected with an STI don’t know they are infected, at least at first.
  • Some STIs take weeks, months or possibly even years to show symptoms. Being sexually active during this time can infect your sexual partners.
  • If you become infected with certain STIs, it can increase your chance of contracting HIV/AIDS by 2 to 5 times.
  • For women who are infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea, there is a greater chance of developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, or PID. PID causes about 100,000 women to become infertile each year with permanent damage to reproductive organs.
  • Although condoms are known to reduce the risk of acquiring certain STIs, choosing not to engage in at-risk sexual activity is the best method of protection.

Exposure Methods:

According to the Centers for Disease Control, STIs are passed from one person to another through intimate physical contact, such as heavy petting, and from sexual activity including vaginal, oral, and anal sex.

STIs are very common and can mostly be prevented by not having sex. If you do have sex, you can lower your risk by using condoms and being in a sexual relationship with a partner who does not have an STI. STIs do not always cause symptoms, so it is possible to have an infection and not know it. That is why it is important to get tested if you are having sex. If you are diagnosed with an STI, know that all can be treated with medicine and some can be cured entirely.

Facts about condoms:

Will condoms protect you from all the STIs?

Here are the results from the largest study ever conducted on condoms by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • There is no clinical proof that condoms are effective in reducing the risk of infection from Chlamydia, Genital Herpes, HPV, Syphilis, Trichomoniasas and many other sexually transmitted diseases. Some protection was found for men against gonorrhea infection, but not for women.
  • Condoms were found to reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission during vaginal sex by 85% when used consistently (every time a person has sex, without exception) and “correctly.”
  • Using condoms 100% of the time still leaves a 15% relative risk of HIV infection compared to not using condoms at all. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, a routinely fatal disease.
  • Condoms do not provide complete protection from any STI or pregnancy. STI infection can occur in both males and females whether or not a condom is used.

Recent CDC STI Treatment Guidelines : Primary prevention of STIs begin with educating individuals who engage in at-risk sexual activity. Education is the number one prevention! Changing the sexual behaviors that place persons at risk for infection is also of the upmost importance.  The most reliable way to avoid transmission of STIs is to not engage in at-risk sexual activity (i.e., oral, vaginal, or anal sex), to test prior to engaging in at-risk sexual activity, limit the number of partners, and to be in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.

Sexual Exposure

“When you have sex with someone, you are having sex with everyone they have had sex with for the last ten years, and everyone they and their partners have had sex with for the last ten years.”
– C. Everett Koop, M.D., Former US Surgeon General

Sexual Exposure Chart