Sexually Transmitted Infections

What is an STD?

A STD in an infection transmitted through sexual contact, caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. STIs are spread predominantly by any kind of unprotected sexual contact or close sexual contact. Since STDs do not always cause symptoms, it is important to get tested if you are having sex.

If you are diagnosed with an STD, know that all can be treated with medicine and some can be cured entirely. It’s important to get any symptoms checked as soon as possible. If untreated, they can lead to serious consequences.

The most common types of STDs include:

  • Genital herpes
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Human papillomavirus infection (HPV)

HPV & the HPV Vaccine

Who should get the HPV vaccine

  1. All boys and girls ages 11 or 12 years.
  2. Catch-up vaccines for men and women ages 27 to 45, if they weren’t vaccinated younger.
  3. Gay and bisexual men through age 26.
  4. Men and women with compromised immune systems (including those living with HIV/AIDS) through age 26, if they weren’t vaccinated younger.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S.  79 million Americans, most in their late teens and early 20s, are infected with HPV.

There are many different types of HPV and some can cause health problems including cancers, but there are vaccines that can help prevent these health problems from happening.

How is HPV spread?

HPV is spread through sexual activity, oral sex and intercourse, even if you have had sexual relations with only one person. You also can develop symptoms years after you have sex with someone who is infected. This makes it hard to know when you first became infected.

Does HPV cause cancer?

HPV can cause cervical and other cancers including cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, or anus. It can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils. Cancer often takes years, even decades, to develop after a person gets HPV.

Protection against HPV

Since there is no way to know which people with HPV will develop cancer or other health problems, it is recommended you take action to lower your chances of getting HPV.

  • Get vaccinated. The HPV vaccine is safe and effective and can protect against diseases (including cancers) caused by HPV.
  • Get screened for cervical cancer. Routine screening for women aged 21 to 65 years old can prevent cervical cancer.