Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
What are STIs?
Sexual transmitted infections (STIs) are infections generally transmitted by sexual contact and are caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Some STIs can also be transmitted during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and through infected blood or contaminated needles. STIs are very common and complications can result if STIs are untreated, including infertility.
The most common STIs are:
What are the symptoms of STIs?
The most common symptom for STIs is having no sign of symptoms.
Those with symptoms may experience one or more of the following:
- Unusual discharge from vagina, penis or anus
- Pain while urinating
- Blisters, sores, warts, lumps or skin growths around genitals or anus
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
Everyone may experience different symptoms. Some symptoms may appear within a few days of exposure and others might take weeks to appear. If you are unsure, contact your healthcare provider and get tested.
Who is at risk?
Anyone who is sexually active - including oral, vaginal, and anal sex - is at risk of exposure to an STI. Risk factors can increase if someone has unprotected sex. Those with new or more than one partner have a greater risk of exposure.
How can I reduce my risk of getting STIs?
The only way to completely avoid STIs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex (abstinence). Other ways to reduce your risk of STIs, and passing them along to sexual partners, include:
- Reducing number of sexual partners
- Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and does not have a STI
- Avoiding sharing needles
- Using condoms or other barrier methods (female condoms, dental dams, etc.) correctly each time you have sex
- Routinely testing
Most birth control methods, such as the pill, intrauterine devices (IUDs), the ring, depo provera (the shot), and diaphragms, do not protect against any STI. If you are using one of these birth control methods, you need to use a condom or other barrier method (female condoms, dental dams, etc.) correctly each time you have sex.
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Where can I test for STIs?
There are several locations where you can get tested for a STI:
- Yamhill County Public Health
- Please call 503-434-7525 to schedule an appointment
- Your primary care provider
- Urgent care
- The emergency department
- Online testing resources. Please note that if you use these services, you will need to seek treatment on your own if you receive positive results.
Even if you don't have symptoms, it is recommended that you still get tested if you are sextually active, as most people do not show symptoms.
How do I notify my partner(s)?
There is a lot of misinformation and stigma surrounding STIs and it may be uncomfortable for people to talk about. Telling your partner(s) that you have a STI can be a difficult thing to approach, even if you know it would be the right thing to do. You are able to notify your partners on your own, but if for some reason you do not feel comfortable doing so, there are other options: