Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are bacterial or viral infections transmitted from person to person by sexual intercourse or close sexual contact. To avoid STIs, it’s important to always practice safe sex by using contraception, such as a condom, and having an honest discussion with your partner before sexual intercourse. Birth control, while effective against pregnancy, does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Both men and women between the ages of nine and 26 can be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV). While the vaccine is not completely protective, it does prevent the two most common strains of HPV.
Although STI symptoms can differ depending on the infection, be aware of any painful outbreaks, unusual vaginal discharge or lower abdominal pain.
Common STIs include:
Because STIs can be transmitted orally and because some appear without symptoms, those who are sexually active should be regularly tested. STI treatments for infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia often include antibiotics as an outpatient, although in severe cases hospital admission may be necessary. Routine screenings for gonorrhea and chlamydia can also help prevent pelvic inflammatory disease.
Young Adults and STIs
Two-thirds of sexually transmitted infections occur in those younger than 25, and teens are particularly at high risk. Make sure to have open conversations with your child about practicing safe sex from an early age. Although the topic may be uncomfortable, making sure that your child receives the correct information can help protect him or her and give him or her tools she needs to make good decisions. If you are too uncomfortable discussing the topic with your child, reach out to a trusted family member or physician for help.
For More Information
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 847.570.5020.