STI stands for sexually transmitted infection. Teen Clinic chooses to use the word infection instead of disease. The term disease can imply a clear medical problem with obvious signs or symptoms. However, most sexually transmitted infections have no signs or symptoms, so we prefer the word infection.
There are four ways in which someone can come into contact with an STI. They are referred to as the four modes of transmission. They are as follows:
- Sexual Fluids
- Skin to skin contact
- Mother to child
In order for someone to contract an STI, they would need to engage in sexual activity with a person who already has an STI in which one or more of these modes would come into play. Although STIs can be common, remember that they are preventable!
STIs can be transmitted through oral sex, anal sex, and vaginal sex. Many people think that because oral sex isn’t necessarily penetration, there is little to no risk. But the fact is, you can get all STIs (except for pubic lice) when engaging in oral sex with someone who has the infection.
But the good news is that there are ways to prevent STI transmission from happening! Using a condom for oral sex on a penis will help drastically reduce your risk of transmitting an STI. If oral sex is being performed on the vagina or anus, a dental dam can be used to help reduce your risk also! You can pick up free condoms and dental dams at Teen Clinic!
It’s important to know though that 75% of people with vaginas and 50% of people with penises show no symptoms of the infection! So even if you or your partners don’t have any symptoms of an infection, it’s still a good idea to get tested periodically. Some people get tested every time they have a new partner, every 6 months, or even once a year based on their risk factors.
In the meantime, if you think you may have an infection, it’s a good idea to abstain from sex until you know for sure. Make an appointment at Teen Clinic as soon as possible. You can test for STIs 14 days after sex to get an accurate result.
Get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, and eat a balanced diet. Help your body stay as healthy as possible! And try not to worry. Seeing a doctor is a great way to find out for sure. You’ll have the chance to ask lots of questions and get any treatment you need.