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If you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex, then you can get a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Other names for STI are STD (sexually transmitted disease) and venereal disease (VD). Many STIs are never detected since there are often no symptoms. 

According to the CDC, approximately one in five people in the U.S. had an STI in 2018. Chlamydia, trichomoniasis, genital herpes, and HPV accounted for 98% of all prevalent STIs. 

Can STIs Be Treated?

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can all be cured with antibiotics. However, when left untreated, these diseases can contribute to major problems including increased HIV risk, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and transmission of the disease to others. Syphilis can also be transmitted to a baby during pregnancy and can contribute to complications like stillbirth, miscarriage, newborn death, and health problems throughout the baby’s lifespan. HIV is not curable, but is now thought of as a chronic disease that can be managed with medication. Genital herpes (HSV) is also not curable, but it is treatable with medications to reduce the discomfort of outbreaks. 

How to Reduce Your Risk of STI Transmission

  • Abstinence (not having sex)

  • Get the hepatitis B and HPV vaccines

  • Have fewer sex partners

  • Engage in mutual monogamy

  • Talk openly with your partners about STDs

  • Get tested regularly

  • Use condoms

How to test for STIs

HIV, Hepatitis, and syphilis are all tested with blood samples drawn at the lab. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are tested either with vaginal swabs or urine tests. Trichomonas can be detected with tests that use swabs from the vagina as well. HPV is usually checked along with a pap smear. Herpes can be detected with a swab (if there are active sores) or with a blood test (to check for previous exposure/infection). 

What do my test results mean?

If you have been told you have an STD you may have more questions. Speak with your provider or you can read more on trusted website like these from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology: Herpes, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, HIV, and Hepatitis.

More information about some common infections


  • It is spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has chlamydia

  • It can be spread without ejaculation (semen or sperm) or vaginal sex

  • You can get it again, even if you have already had it

  • It is easily cured with antibiotics, but you should take all medication, even when you feel better

  • You should avoid sex until 7 days after both persons complete treatment

  • If not treated, it can make it difficult to get pregnant in the future or even more serious, life threatening infections


  • It can infect the genitals, rectum, and even the throat and is spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex

  • Symptoms can include a discharge or pain with urination, though most women don't have any symptoms

  • It is most common among people age 15-24

  • If not treated can cause problems getting pregnant in the future or even serious, life threatening infections


  • Symptoms may include discharge, itching and vaginal odor, but many patients do not have any symptoms

  • If not treated, can cause infertility in the future


  • Oral and genital herpes are common

  • Oral herpes are more commonly called cold sores

  • Herpes in the genital area can be caused by either HSV 1 (which more commonly causes cold sores on the mouth) or HSV 2 (which more commonly causes sores in the vagina, vulva, anus, or the skin around the genital area

  • It is common to have been infected or exposed to herpes and to never have had a breakout or symptoms

  • People infected with herpes are most likely to give it to someone else when they are having a breakout, but 10% of the time it can be passed on without any visible symptoms

  • There is no cure, but symptoms can be managed with medication


It is curable antibiotics

It can cause serious health problems is left untreated, including death

The infection develops in stages and each have different signs and symptoms

Syphilis is spread through vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex, or at childbirth from mother to baby

Want more information?

Make an appointment today to discuss your concerns, questions, or to get tested. 

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