People who have sex without using condoms have a high risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). It doesn't matter how many people the person has had sex with. Even if someone has only had one sexual partner, that partner could have an illness. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have no limitations.
Whether you're single, married or returning to the middle age dating game, STDs are caused by infections that are transmitted from one person to another during sexual contact. These infections often cause no symptoms, and from a medical point of view, infections are only called illnesses when they cause symptoms. That's why STDs are also called “sexually transmitted infections (STIs).”. Gynecologist and sexual medicine expert at Northwestern Medicine Lauren Streicher, MD, answers the most common questions about STIs and how you can protect yourself.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can be transmitted in several ways, including through sex. No matter what sexual orientation or gender they are, anyone who is sexually active can be at risk of contracting HIV. Studies show that men who have sex with men are disproportionately affected by HIV, but the virus can also be transmitted through heterosexual sex and (rarely) through lesbian sex (3,. If you have sex with someone, regardless of their gender or genitals, there is a possibility of transmitting an STI.
There is also a greater risk of infection if someone puts their fingers in their or their partner's mouth after touching their genitals or anus, or if they also have oral sex (putting the partner's genitals or anus in the mouth). To make cunnilingus (oral sex on the vulva) safer, you can use a protector or open a condom. If you share sex toys, covering them with condoms is a good way to prevent the development of bacterial vaginosis (BV) or the transmission of STIs. Remember to change your condom every time you change your partner or when you change from anal to vaginal use.
Sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV, syphilis, herpes, gonorrhea, HPV, trichomoniasis, and chlamydia, can be transmitted during oral sex (. Infections can be transmitted from the mouth to the genitals, or vice versa. To protect yourself while practicing or receiving oral sex on the vulva (cunnilingus) or anus (anilingus), wear a protector or a condom cut lengthwise. For safer oral sex with your penis (sucking), cover it with a condom.
The herpes simplex virus (HSV) is transmitted by direct contact of the mucous membranes (the soft tissue found in the genitals and mouth) with a herpes sore, saliva, or genital secretions of a person with a herpes infection. Herpes transmission usually occurs during oral, anal, or vaginal kissing or sexual intercourse. Herpes transmission can be reduced by using condoms and avoiding oral, anal, and vaginal intercourse if there are blisters or open sores in the genital area or around the mouth (. There is no risk of becoming infected after exposure to environmental surfaces such as door knobs, toilet seats, utensils, drinking glasses, lipsticks, towels or sheets.
There may be a risk of contracting HIV or another blood-borne infection (such as hepatitis B or C) if the instruments used for piercing or tattooing are not sterilized or disinfected among clients. Any instrument used to pierce or cut skin must be used once and then disposed of safely. If you're thinking about getting a tattoo or piercing, ask staff to show you the precautions they take. If you have questions about cleaning your tools, go to another site.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mosquitoes or any other insect transmit HIV (. The pill doesn't protect you or your partner from STIs. External (male) and internal (female) condoms are the only methods of contraception that help protect you from contracting and transmitting STIs when you have vaginal or anal sex. You can also use a dam to protect yourself if you have oral sex.
If you forget to take a pill or have been vomiting for any reason (p. ex. Disease), the effectiveness of the pill is lower and you could still get pregnant. If you track your pill intake in Clue, the app will tell you what to do if you miss a dose, even when you need to use backup protection, such as condoms.
A monogamous relationship won't automatically protect you from STIs (or pregnancy). Anyone can get a sexually transmitted infection, sometimes even without visible symptoms. While some STIs produce secretions or other visible signs, it's not always possible to tell if someone has an STI just by looking at someone. To protect yourself from STIs, get yourself and your partner tested for STIs before having any sexual contact and practice sex more safely by always using condoms, protectors, or gloves.
Some STIs, such as herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), or genital ulcers, such as syphilis and chancroid, are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. If a condom doesn't cover the infected area, it can't protect against these STIs. However, if infections are limited to areas where the condom covers, the risk of spreading these diseases will be reduced (1) Learn here how to properly wear a condom. However, douching does not prevent pregnancy and, in fact, may lead to a higher risk of STI infection (19, 20).
Douching alters vaginal flora and increases the likelihood of developing bacterial vaginosis (BV) (1.Douching is associated with ectopic pregnancy, low birth weight, preterm birth and preterm birth, and an increased risk of cervical cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, and endometritis) (1.Sometimes, STIs do cause problems you might notice. These symptoms don't always mean you have an STI, but they could indicate another health problem, such as a yeast infection or a urinary tract infection. Bleeding from the genitals (other than your menstrual period) No. Testing for many STIs is as quick and easy as giving a urine sample, while some tests may also involve drawing blood.
Your healthcare provider may also perform a visual exam to look for signs of infection or use a swab (such as a small, soft cotton swab) on the genital area or mouth. In some places home test kits are available, so you can get tested without leaving your home. Look for a service that offers support and treatment if needed after the test. An STI is very unlikely to go away on its own, and if treatment is delayed, there is a risk that the infection will cause long-term problems.
Even if you don't have any symptoms, there's also a risk of transmitting the infection to your partner. If you think you might have an STI, see your healthcare provider and get a checkup. If STIs aren't treated, they can pose a long-term risk to health and fertility, so it's important to get tested regularly. Both chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) if left untreated.
This can lead to long-term pelvic pain, fallopian tube obstruction, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common STI that is often transmitted during sexual intercourse. Most HPV infections go away within two years and don't cause any illness or symptoms (21), 2.However, this is not always the case, as some type of HPV can have long-term consequences. Two chains in particular, HPV 16 and HPV 18, are responsible for 7 out of 10 cases of cervical cancer and precancerous changes (23.2).
These HPV chains have also been associated with cancers of the anogenital region and with cancers of the oropharynx (throat tissue) (23,2.Other chains, such as HPV 6 and HPV 11, are responsible for genital warts (2). Many STIs can be cured if detected in the early stages, and treatment can be as simple as prescribing a course of antibiotics. However, medications can't cure all STIs, so prevention through safe sex is the best. For example, there is no cure for genital herpes.
Antiviral medications can be used to prevent or shorten herpes outbreaks, but the disease cannot be eliminated from the body (2). There is no cure for HIV either, but there are antiretroviral medications that reduce the amount of virus in the blood. This therapy slows the progression of the disease and also reduces the chance of transmitting the disease to any future partner (2). STIs are diseases, just like the common cold or the flu.).
STIs are transmitted through unprotected sexual contact with someone who has an infection. Getting an STI has nothing to do with cleaning or grooming, and getting tested for an STI isn't a reflection of your behavior, but a responsible health choice. Get tested regularly and don't forget to talk to your partners about STIs and safer sex. We wrote a guide on how to do it.