Sexually Transmitted Infections
Whatís all the fuss about sexually transmitted infections and safer sex? Here you will learn more about the symptoms, effects and treatments for STIs, and how people get them. The more informed you are, the easier it is to protect yourself and your partner. You can make sex safer, but even with the best intentions people can still get STIs from their partner. This information can help you lower your risk.
STIs can have different effects depending on the person and which STI it is. What all STIs have in common is that they can show NO SYMPTOMS.
People must get tested to know for sure if they do or donít have an STI. The key is in knowing if you have one. Testing helps you keep yourself healthy and your partners protected.
Here are some tips to help you avoid STIs. Consider which will work for you:
- always use barriers like condoms or dental dams
- choose safer sexual activities like kissing, touching and massaging
- avoid sex altogether
- reduce the number of partners you have sex with
- get tested regularly
- ask your partner if theyíve been tested or to come get tested with you
- know how to use condoms effectively
- talk to your partner about safer sex (protection, testing, STI history)
- avoid sharing needles
- avoid getting unprofessional tattoos or piercings
If a person with herpes gives someone oral sex, can the person get herpes on their genitals?
The virus that causes oral herpes is herpes simplex 1. Herpes simplex 2 causes genital herpes. It is possible for someone with oral herpes (Simplex1) to pass that strain on to the genitals of another person during oral sex. This means that if that person contracts the virus it is a herpes simplex 1 infection on his or her genitals. This type of transmission is rare, but is possible. Usually the outbreaks of sores are milder then with herpes simplex 2 as the virus is not in its own domain.
Why does it burn sometimes when you urinate?
There can be many reasons for this, some serious and some not so serious; however it is recommended to see a doctor immediately if burning persists. One cause of burning when you pee could be urinary tract or bladder infections (UTI). UTIís are caused when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra and are usually treated with antibiotics. Another possibility is a yeast infection, which is usually transmitted by unprotected sexual intercourse with a partner who has a yeast infection, although antibiotics and lubricants with potentially irritating chemicals in them, like the spermicide nonoxynol 9, can also potentially cause them. Finally, a person may feel burning during urination if they have had unprotected sex with a person who has a sexually transmitted infection, or STI. If a guy thinks he may have an STI, he can look for a discharge from the head of the penis. An important thing to remember is that the most common symptom of an STI is still no symptom at all, and there are many reasons a person can feel a burning sensation when they urinate. Being on the safe side and going for a doctorís visit is usually best.
Can you get any STIís on your hand?
Scabies, which is not solely an STI can infect the skin anywhere on the body including the hand and is spread through any skin-to-skin contact. There are over 100 types of HPV that can affect a personís skin. While only certain strains, the sexually transmitted ones, cause genital warts, others cause warts on the hands and feet. These warts can rarely cross over but it is unlikely as the type of wart is not suited for growth in that area.
Can you have more than 1 STI at the same time?
Yes it is possible to contract any STI you come into contact with even if you have one already. You may also contract many at one time. People with compromised immune systems like those with HIV can contract infections easier including sexually transmitted ones.
Are there any ways to see if you or your partner has an STI without going to the doctor?
No. Unfortunately not. A commonality amongst all STIís is that they can be asymptomatic (no obvious symptoms).
What kind of infections can be spread by kissing?
It is usually quite hard to impossible to get most STIís from kissing. Saliva is not a fluid that can transmit STIís. The five fluids that can transmit STIís are blood, semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk and pre-cum. You can however catch other infections like colds, fluís and herpes I and II (cold sores). Skin to Skin contact carries different risks than the infections or STIís you can get from fluid exchange.
Do your parents have to know if you are getting tested for STIís? Do you have to have someone over 18 with you?
No, a personís parents donít have to know and you do not need a guardian or adult to go with you for testing. People who go to the STI clinic in the Sheldon Chumir Health Centre donít even have to give a real name or their Alberta health care. If someone was going to their family doctor, that doctor is obligated to keep that persons information confidential.
Is it easier to catch an STI if you shave your pubic hair?
It is possible, if a person was irritated or had any open cuts it could increase the risk of fluid exchange and increase the likelihood of STI transmission.