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Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

A look at STIs, how they are contracted, and how to avoid them

Why are they called "sexually transmitted infections" instead of "sexually transmitted diseases"?

Two reasons:

1) Because all STIs are treatable (examples: HIV, Herpes Simplex) and many are curable (examples: Chlamydia, Gonnorrhea). 

2) To reduce stigma. STIs are very common; in fact, one out of four college students has an STI and many don't even know that they are infected!

 

   Sexually Transmitted Infections

Name of STI

Incidence

Symptoms

Treatment

How to prevent it

Gonorrhea

Highest among those ages 15- 24 years

Rates are declining, but are highest in Southern and Midwestern states than in the West and Northeast

In 2009, there were 301,174 cases

Men may experience symptoms such as urethral discharge, painful urination, and increase. urgency of urination, however they can infect others before onset of symptoms

The majority of women do not experience any symptoms until complications come up, such as pelvic inflammatory disease. 

If symptoms do develop, they will present themselves within 3-5 days and women will possibly experience an increase in urination frequency or bleeding after sex. 

Rectal gonorrhea, which can be transmitted through anal intercourse, may cause bloody stools and a puslike discharge

It is cured with antibiotics.

Recommended treatment:

Antibiotics

All sexual partners should be tested 

By using a barrier method such as:

male condoms

female condoms

dental dams

or by abstaining from vaginal and anal intercourse

Syphilis

13,997 cases of primary and secondary syphilis and 427 cases of congenital cases in 2009

Cases have been increasing for the first time in 14 years

Highest rates are in young minority men.

Highest in Southern states

 

Infection is divided into three stages:

1st Stage (happens within 2-6 weeks after infection) - one or more red-brown sores that appear on the vilva, penis, vagina, cervix, anus, mouth or lips. After these disappear they enter in the 2nd stage

2nd Stage - begins 3-6 weeks after sores have healed; person develops reddish patches on skin that look like a rash or hives

3rd Stage: Everything disappears; If left untreated the person can transmit the disease for about 1 year, after which they are no longer infectious. 

If a person has been infected for less than 1 year: only a single injection of antibiotic is needed to cure syphilis

Additional doses may be needed depending on how long the person has had syphilis

If syphilis progresses to later stages, it is no longer treatable can be fatal

By using a barrier method such as:

 

male condoms

female condoms

dental dams

or by abstaining from vaginal and anal intercourse

 

Chlamydia

1,244,180 cases in 2009

Highest among men and women younger than 25 years old

3 times higher in women

Highest in Southern states

Can be transmitted through:

Vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and/ or anal sex; it can also be passed to newborn babies during childbirth

 

Called a "silent disease" because many women and men are asymptomatic, meaning there may be no symptoms.

If chlamydia remains untreated in women, they risk infertility and ectopic pregnancies

It is cured with antibiotics

Recent partners should be tested.

Anyone diagnosed with chlamydia should be re-tested within 3 months of treatment

By using a barrier method such as:

male condoms

female condoms

dental dams

or by abstaining from vaginal and anal intercourse

Herpes Simplex 1 & 2

Estimated that 1 in 5 Americans is infected with Herpes Simplex 2 (typically genital herpes)

Most do not know they have it

Herpes Simplex 1 (typically oral herpes) is highly contagious and can be transmitted through kissing and even sharing food or drinks. 

Simplex 1: cold sores or blisters, usually around the mouth

Simplex 2: small blisters may appear externally on  vagina or penis

Extra care should be taken when performing oral sex. Herpes Simplex 1 can be passed to genitals and Herpes Simplex 2 can be passed to the mouth. 

Not curable

Treated through viral suppressants

However, the body's immune system suppresses the virus over time, so the number of outbreaks decreases

By using a barrier method such as:

male condoms

female condoms

 

dental dams

or by abstaining from vaginal and anal intercourse

Human Papilloma Virus (high risk & low risk)

HPV is the most common viral STI in US

Estimated 20 million men and women currently have HPV

6 million more people become infected with each year

It can infect the genitals, anus, mouth, and throat through vaginal and anal intercourse, oral sex and vulva-to-vulva contact

Low Risk: can cause genital and anal warts, warts in throat, nose and throat

High Risk: can cause abnormal pap tests and increase the risk of developing cervical cancer

In 90% of cases, the body's immune system clears HPV naturally within 2 years

There are topical  solutions for warts available by prescription; do not use over the counter wart removal medication on genitals.

Cervical cancer can be treated if caught early; it is detected in women through biopsies of cervical tissue after an abnormal Pap test.

HPV vaccine available to both men and women

By using a barrier method such as:

male condoms
female condoms

dental dams

or by abstaining from vaginal and anal intercourse


 

Viral Hepatitis (A, B, and C)

Approximately 2,500 symptomatic cases were reported in the US in 2008

After adjusting for asymptomatic cases, the total number was probably closer to 22,000 (CDC)

Highest among men in Western and Southern states

However, new infections are decreasing, probably because of available vaccines

Symptoms, if any, usually occur within 4 weeks and include: fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and diarrhea

Most people infected see no symptoms at all

The CDC estimates that between 60%- 70% of those infected with hepatitis C will experience a chronic liver infection

Antiviral therapies

Bedrest and a lot of fluids

 

Vaccines are available to prevent both hepatitis A and hepatitis B

By using a barrier method such as:

male condoms

female condoms

dental dams

or by abstaining from vaginal and anal intercourse

HIV/AIDS

1.1 million adults and teens live with HIV in the U.S.

50,000-60,000 more Americans become infected each year

1 in 5 people living with HIV does not know that they have it

New infections are highest among persons aged 20-24 years old

HIV is transmitted through semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk, and blood

 

HIV is a viral infection that gradually breaks down the immune system. AIDS is the syndrome that is the result of a compromised immune system. AIDS can develop, without treatment, in 8-10 years

Symptoms include those similar to the flu: fever, sore throat, chronic swollen lymph nodes

As the immune system continues to deteriorate, it makes the body more susceptible to diseases such as colds. Those affected by AIDS do not die from AIDS, but from diseases and infections their body is unable to combat.

Not curable, but treatable

Prescription medications 

 

Avoid sharing needles

By using a barrier method such as:

male condoms

female condoms

dental dams

or by abstaining from vaginal and anal intercourse

What is required for testing? Do I have to give blood?

    Some facilities or infections require a blood test, while others do not. 

Blood Test:  Hepatitis, Syphilis, HIV

Urine Test: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis

Oral Swab: HIV

 * HPV requires pap test

 

Where can I get tested near Elon? What exactly do they test for?

Name

Address

What do they offer?

Directions

Alamance County Health Department

319 N Graham Hopedale Rd Ste B  
Burlington, North Carolina 27217

     33-227 0101

- FREE HIV TESTING

- Chlamydia Testing

- Conventional HIV Blood Testing


- Gonorrhea Testing


- Hepatitis B Vaccine


- Herpes Testing


- HPV Vaccine


- Syphilis Testing

Directions & Clinic Info

Elon University Health Center

 

 

Directions & Clinic Info

Alamance Cares

3025 S Church St  
Burlington, North Carolina 27215


336-538-8111

- FREE HIV TESTING


- Rapid HIV Oral Testing


- Syphilis Testing

Directions & Clinic Info

Guilford County Department of Public Health

1100 E Wendover Ave  
Greensboro, North Carolina 27405


336-641-3245

- FREE HIV TESTING


- Chlamydia Testing


- Conventional HIV - Blood Testing


- Gonorrhea Testing


- Hepatitis B Vaccine


- HPV Vaccine


- Syphilis Testing

Directions & Clinic Info
       


Interested in more information? 

Planned Parenthood on STIs

World Health Organization on STIs