Facts About STIs

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) affect individuals of all ages and sexual orientations. In the U.S., half of all infections occur among youth.

How are STIs spread?

STIs usually are spread through fluids. These fluids include: vaginal fluid, semen/pre-cum, blood, discharge, and breast milk. STIs can be spread through any type of sex: anal, vaginal, or oral.

Some STIs can be spread through skin to skin contact between the penis, vagina, mouth or anus – even if there is no penetration. Some STIs can be spread through sharing needles for injecting drugs or hormones.

How do I know if I have an STI?

Some STIs will cause very obvious symptoms. But many STIs cause no symptoms or only mild symptoms, so you may not know you have an infection. In fact, most people who have an STI have no symptoms. 

If you do have symptoms, they may appear right away, or they might not show up for weeks or even months. They might come and go. Even if the symptoms disappear, you may still have an STI. A test from your healthcare provider may be the only sure way to tell if you are infected.

How can I protect myself from STIs?

There are lots of ways to reduce your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). How you choose to protect yourself from the fluids that transmit STIs may be different from your friends or partners. The most common tools are latex barriers like condoms and dental dams, or prescription barriers like PrEP (a one-a-day pill that helps to prevent HIV). Other ways you can lower your chances of getting an STI include: getting yourself and your partners tested, engaging in certain types of sexual activities (only having oral sex instead of anal sex), not sharing needles with others, or using the rhythm method to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

How’s it transmitted? Does it go away?

Vaginal Sex

Chlamydia

Curable—It goes away

Gonorrhea

Curable—It goes away

Syphilis

Curable—It goes away

Herpes

Treatable—It won’t go away

Hepatitis C

Treatable—It won’t go away

HIV

Treatable—It won’t go away

HPV

Treatable—It won’t go away

Trichomoniasis

Curable—It goes away

Anal Sex

Chlamydia

Curable—It goes away

Gonorrhea

Curable—It goes away

Herpes

Treatable—It won’t go away

Hepatitis C

Treatable—It won’t go away

HIV

Treatable—It won’t go away

HPV

Treatable—It won’t go away

Oral Sex

Chlamydia

Curable—It goes away

Gonorrhea

Curable—It goes away

Herpes

Treatable—It won’t go away

Hepatitis C

Treatable—It won’t go away

HIV

Treatable—It won’t go away

HPV

Treatable—It won’t go away

Kissing

Herpes

Treatable—It won’t go away

Interested in getting tested for STIs?

Currently, UNIFY only provides rapid HIV testing, but if you need a referral for further testing our counselors will be happy to assist you.