Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs or STDs)

Chlamydia (bacteria)                  

  • What are the symptoms?  Most often there are NO SYMPTOMS.  Yellowish discharge, burning with urination, irregular bleeding between periods, swollen or tender testicles; can affect the eyes                      
  • How is it spread? Through unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex.                                          
  • Is it curable? Yes, with a prescription antibiotic.  It must be treated to prevent PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease), which damages the reproductive organs and can cause infertility.

Gonorrhea (Bacteria)

  • What are the symptoms?  Most often there are NO SYMPTOMS.  Yellowish discharge, burning with urination, irregular bleeding between periods, swollen or tender testicles; can affect eyes and joints         
  • How is it spread? Through unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex.                                          
  • Is it curable? Yes, with a prescription antibiotic.  It must be treated to prevent PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease), which damages the reproductive organs and can cause infertility.

Herpes (Virus)

  • What are the symptoms?  Most often there are NO SYMPTOMS or just a mild burning sensation. Blister-like, painful sores in the genital region or mouth.                                                    
  • How is it spread?  By touching an infected area (which may not be noticeable), or having unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex.                           
  • Is it curable? No.  Herpes is treatable with prescription medication, but it does not go away.  People with herpes can be contagious even if they are not having an outbreak.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV, Genital Warts) (Virus)

  • What are the symptoms?2 subtypes of HPV cause most genital warts.  Other subtypes cause cervical, anal, and oral cancer.      
  • How is it spread? By touching an infected area (which may not be noticeable), or having unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex.                           
  • Is it curable? No.  HPV is treatable with prescription medication, but it does not go away.  The most common types of HPV can be prevented by a vaccination of 3 doses, recommended for males and females. 

Trichomonas (Parasite)

  • What are the symptoms?  Most often there are NO SYMPTOMS in men.  Women may have Itching, irritation, redness, frothy or smelly discharge, painful or frequent urination, pain during intercourse, abdominal pain.          
  • How is it spread? Through unprotected vaginal sex.         
  • Is it curable? Yes, with prescription medication.

Pubic lice (Crabs) (Parasite)

  • What are the symptoms?  Severe itching, small red bumps                                                      
  • How is it spread? Through any direct physical contact.  Rarely through indirect contact by a shared object.          
  • Is it curable? Yes.  Clothes and bedding must also be cleaned.

Syphilis (Bacteria)

  • What are the symptoms?  First stage: painless open sore on genitals or mouth.  Second stage: rash, fever, swollen glands, sore throat, muscle aches.  Final stage: damaged internal organs and central nervous system.   
  • How is it spread? Through unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex, and through kissing if there is a lesion on the mouth.  
  • Is it curable? Yes, with prescription medication.

HIV/AIDS (Virus)

  • What are the symptoms?  There are often no symptoms early on.  Weight loss, fatigue, night sweats/fever, cough, diarrhea, swollen glands, memory loss/confusion, depression.                                               
  • How is it spread? Through unprotected vaginal, oral, and anal sex.  Also by dirty needles, and mother-to-child during childbirth or nursing.                                                                        
  • Is it curable? No.  There are treatments which have greatly improved the health and survival of people with HIV.  There is no vaccine.