HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is a disease that attacks the immune system, rendering people who have HIV unable to ward off other illnesses.
There is no cure for HIV, only ways to control it.
HIV can be spread through unprotected anal, vaginal, or oral sex, and uncleaned needles. HIV can also be spread to babies if a woman who has HIV is pregnant, in labor, or nursing.
HIV works by destroying white blood cells that fight off unwanted pathogens, bacteria, or viruses that invade the body.
HIV has three stages: Acute HIV infection, Clinical latency, and AIDS.
Many sites will test for STIs for free, but if you’re testing for HIV, you can purchase an at-home testing kit.
Symptoms of HIV include: flu-like symptoms like fever and chills. If you’re not experiencing any symptoms, you may still be positive for HIV.
Many people who have chlamydia do not know it, because the disease often has no symptoms.
Chlamydia is the most reported STI in the United States.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection and is easily cured with antibiotics.
Chlamydia can cause cervicitis, inflammation of the cervix. If left untreated, this can cause complications in reproductive health.
Even if your partner does not orgasm, chlamydia can still be transferred between partners.
You are able to get chlamydia multiple times.
Chlamydia is typically tested for by screening the urine, so you’ll probably pee in a cup.
Gonorrhea typically does not give its hosts any symptoms, like chlamydia.
Gonorrhea is most common among young people aged 15-24.
Gonorrhea is typically mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection.
Some strains of gonorrhea are becoming difficult to treat because the infection is becoming drug-resistant.
Untreated gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This can lead to a woman’s inability to get pregnant, or cause a man’s sterility.
Untreated gonorrhea may also increase the ability to get HIV.
On rare occasions, gonorrhea can spread to the blood or joints. If gonorrhea does move to these regions, it is life threatening.
Syphilis is split into four stages: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. Each stage is associated with their own symptoms.
The primary stage is associated with a sore(s) at the original site of infection (in the mouth, vagina, penis, or rectum). Syphilis sores are typically firm, round, and painless.
Secondary syphilis symptoms include skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, and fever. Symptoms of primary and secondary syphilis may be mild and go unnoticed.
There are no symptoms of syphilis during the latent stage. The first year of the latent stage is considered the early latent stage, and you can still be treated and cured for syphilis. You can also transmit the virus. After the early latent stage, you are unable to transmit syphilis to others.
Tertiary syphilis is associated with severe medical problems. Tertiary syphilis can affect the brain, heart, and other organs of the body.
Syphilis has its highest rates among gay men.
Syphilis, in its early stages, is easy to cure.
If you get tested for syphilis and receive a false positive, it is important that you return to the clinic to be tested again.
Trich, short for trichomoniasis, is a very common STD. It is more prevalent among women than men, especially older women.
Trich is a parasite that gives only 30% of its hosts symptoms. 70% of those affected by trich have no symptoms.
Symptoms associated with trich are abnormal discharge for men and women, burning or discomfort when you pee, and itching of the genitals.
Pregnant women who have trich are likely to go into labor early, and have babies that weigh less than 5.5 pounds.
HPV is short for the human papillomavirus and is the most common STI. It is a different infection from HSV (herpes) and HIV.
HPV is usually spread through vaginal and anal sex.
You can still spread HPV if you are asymptomatic.
For most, HPV goes away on its own. If HPV remains, it can cause complications like genital warts and cancer.
HPV can cause cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, or the back of the throat.
There is no way to know which people who are affected by HPV will develop cancer or warts. Those with HIV may be unable to fight off HPV.
To lower your chances of getting HPV, get vaccinated. It can protect against the medical complications HPV causes, including cancer. The vaccination for HPV is safe and effective.
There are two strains of herpes, HSV-1, and HSV-2.
Herpes is typically an oral or genital affliction.
Genital herpes is more common than oral herpes.
Oral herpes is typically caused by HSV-1, and is usually transmitted through non-sexual contact with saliva, and can also be transmitted through oral sex.
Most people who have herpes do not have symptoms, or have very mild symptoms. Symptoms of herpes include one or more blister-like sores around the mouth, genetials, or rectum.
Hep B & C
If you are sexually active, it is good to get tested annually. There are many sites that do STI tests for free!
The best way to prevent STIs if you are sexually active is to use condoms. You can order condoms for free in LA county by calling 800-758-0880! (https://lacondom.com/order-condoms/ & https://www.teensource.org/ )
STIs are transmitted instantly, but they usually take about 1-2 weeks to show up on a test. This is because most tests are screening for antibody levels, the immune system’s response to infections. Antibodies take time to create.
Some STIs, if left untreated, can cause infertility in females (namely chlamydia and gonorrhea).
It is important to note that it is not only possible to get STIs of the vagina or the penis. STIs can also be in the throat or rectum.
If you experience sores, pain during sex, pain when you pee, itching, abnormal vaginal or penal discharge, or swelling of the testicles, please see a medical professional.