What is a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)?
STIs are infections that can be passed from person to person to person through sexual contact, meaning vaginal, anal and oral sex, as well as genital skin-to-skin contact. The only way to know for sure if you have an STI is to get tested. The good news is that getting tested is simple and easy and most STIs can be treated or cured.
Not all STDs show symptoms, but some common signs of STDs include:
- Sores, bumps, or blisters on your genitals, butt cheeks, thighs, or mouth
- Weird discharge coming from your vagina or penis
- Burning or discomfort when peeing
- Itching, pain, swelling, or irritation of your genitals
- Flu like symptoms including feeling tired, swollen glands, and body aches
Should I Get Tested?
Anyone, regardless of age, background, race/ethnicity, or sexual identity/preference who engages in sexual behaviors can get an STI. If you are having unprotected sex, notice any symptoms, or find out your partner has an STI, talk to a doctor or nurse about getting tested.
What is Getting Tested Actually like?
The appointment starts with a few questions. It is important to answer these questions as accurately and honestly as possible so that it can be determined what kind of test you’ll need.
This conversation is completely confidential and non-judgmental. The doctor or nurse may ask about:
- The symptoms you’re having
- The number of sexual partners you’ve had
- The type of protection or birth control you use
- Other questions about your health and sexual history
Next, is the test.
Depending on the type of STI test you’ll be receiving, you may have to provide a:
- Urine test
- Cheek swab
- Physical exam
- Swabbing the infected area for further testing
We may have your results immediately, but for some tests the results can take up to a few days or weeks.
What Should I do if I Find Out I Have a STI?
Finding out you have a STI can be scary, but you’re not alone. 1 in 4 Americans will get an STI in their lifetime. When the test results come back positive for an STI, we will talk to you about treatment options.
Many STIs are easily curable with medication and those that cannot be cured, can be treated to manage symptoms and prevent the spread of infection to your partner. Millions of Americans live with STIs and still maintain normal lifestyles.
We are here to help you understand your diagnosis, treatment, and options. We not only provide the diagnosis and treatment of STIs, but also support for dealing with the diagnosis including living with an STI, telling your partner, and preventing infections in the future. We are here for you.