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Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are spread by
sexual contact involving the genitals, mouth, or rectum, and can also be spread
from a pregnant woman to her fetus before or during delivery. STIs, which
affect both men and women, are a worldwide public health concern.
Although most STIs can be cured, some cannot, including
HIV (which causes
genital herpes, and
human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause
STIs can be spread by
people who don't know they are infected. Always use protection every time you
have sex, including oral sex, until you are sure you and your partner are not
infected with an STI.
If you are in a relationship, delay having
sex until you are physically and emotionally prepared, have agreed to only have
sex with each other, and have both been tested for STIs.
sexual contact (abstinence), including intercourse and oral sex, is the only
certain way to prevent an infection.
before you have sex with someone. Even though a sex partner doesn't have
symptoms of an STI, he or she may still be infected.
ask someone before having sex include:
Some STIs, such as HIV, can
take up to 6 months before they can be detected in the blood. Genital herpes
and the human papillomavirus (HPV) can be spread when symptoms are not present.
Even if you and your partner have been tested, use condoms for all sex until
you and your partner haven't had sex with another person for 6 months. Then get
For more information see: Sexually Transmitted Infections.
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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