What Are the Most Common Sexually Transmitted Infections?
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)—also known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)—are infections that are transmitted through sexual contact. This includes vaginal, oral, and anal sex, and in rare cases, even heavy petting. STIs can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites, and can affect people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations. STIs can have serious health consequences—especially if they are left untreated—including infertility, chronic pain, and an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
STIs are very easy to contract and are incredibly widespread, with nearly 1 out of every 5 individuals in the United States having one—about 68 million people. That’s why it is so important to understand the risks that STIs present, the signs and symptoms of the various infections, the best ways to keep yourself and your partner(s) safe, and the STIs that are most commonly transmitted. In this article, we will discuss the most common STIs.
The Most Common Sexually Transmitted Infections
There are many different STIs, each with its own risks and symptoms. Let’s take a look at some of the most common sexually transmitted infections:
- Chlamydia – Chlamydia is an infection of the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes. It can cause pain during urination, abnormal vaginal discharge, and bleeding after sex. If left untreated, chlamydia can cause infertility.
- Gonorrhea – Gonorrhea is an infection of the urethra, rectum, and throat. It can cause burning during urination, unusual sores, discharge from the penis or vagina, and rash. Gonorrhea can cause infertility, joint pain, and eye infections.
- Syphilis – Syphilis is an infection of the skin, bones, and organs. It can cause a painless sore at the site of infection, as well as fever, fatigue, and headache. If left untreated, syphilis can cause blindness, deafness, and death.
- HIV/AIDS – HIV/AIDS is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. HIV/AIDS can be spread through sexual contact, sharing needles, and from an infected mother to her child during birth. HIV/AIDS can cause a number of serious health problems, including death.
- HPV – Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that can cause genital warts and some types of cancer. There are many different types of HPV, and some of them are more likely to cause cancer than others. HPV is the most common STI and many people have it without even knowing it.
These are some of the most common STIs, but there are also many others. Even though some are more transmissible and common than others, all STIs pose a risk to your overall health and well-being, so understanding how to practice safe sex and protect yourself is crucial. Here are a few of the best ways to protect yourself from STIs:
- Use Condoms – Using condoms—as well as dental dams—is one of the best ways to practice safe sex and prevent the spread of STIs.
- Talk to Your Partner(s) about STIs – It is also important to talk to your partner(s) about STIs before you have sex. This will help you both to stay informed and to protect yourselves.
- Get Vaccinated – Another essential way to protect yourself from STIs is to get vaccinated. There are vaccines available for some STIs, including HPV and hepatitis B.
- Get Tested Regularly – If you are sexually active, it is important to get tested for STIs regularly. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you may still be infected, and getting tested regularly is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your overall health and well-being.
If you think you may have an STI, it is important to see a healthcare provider right away. STIs can be treated, and the sooner you are diagnosed and treated, the better your chances of recovery are. April is STI Awareness Month and is a great time to educate yourself further on the risks of sexually transmitted infections. It’s also a perfect time to schedule an STI test to get checked.
At MyAlly Health, we offer STI screening/testing on a sliding fee scale according to income and family size, so talk to us today about getting tested for sexually transmitted infections. On April 19th, we are hosting a Pee for Pizza event, during which we’ll offer free Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV, and Hep C testing.
Additionally, we offer annual examinations, like physicals, wellness examinations, and mental health screenings to promote your overall health. You can also receive examinations like Pap smears to test for cervical cancer, and Gardasil vaccinations to protect you from HPV infections.
MyAlly Health offers confidential reproductive health services to women and men in the Grand Forks, North Dakota, area, regardless of income or age. This includes preventive care, like getting tested for STIs, breast examinations, and pelvic examinations; determining the best birth control for you; and even getting vaccinated against the flu. The clinical services we provide are all performed by Nurse Practitioners and Resident Physicians.
In order to empower and engage individuals in their well-being and reproductive health, MyAlly Health offers education, counseling, advocacy, and healthcare services. Find out more about what we do, help make a difference by donating to our cause, or schedule an appointment with us today!
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