STI/STD Screening and Treatment

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that can be acquired during sexual or intimate contact. STIs are also sometimes referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

STI symptoms vary by infection. Changes in odor, color, and texture of penile or vaginal discharge, as well as visible lesions, bumps, redness, itching and tenderness are common symptoms of some STIs.

The most common symptom of an STI is to have no symptoms at all.

STIs are generally discussed in one of three categories: viral, bacterial, and other. The main difference between these categories is what causes them and how they are subsequently treated. STIs can be spread by the exchange of bodily fluids and skin-to-skin contact. Semen, blood (including menstrual blood), and vaginal secretions are the most likely to transmit STIs; fluids such as saliva, sweat, and urine are unlikely to transmit STIs, though they can still transmit some bacteria and viruses.

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Important Information on STD Screening

A urine test is a simple, but reliable way of detecting infections. To do this, you must not urinate for at least an hour prior to giving your specimen, and it is important that only the initial stream of your urine be collected. Other methods include a vaginal self-collect or provider collected swab.

It is important to get tested wherever you are having penetrative sex: Oral, vaginal, anal

Viral STIs

Viral STIs are caused by a virus. Some viral STIs are treatable - though not curable - by taking antiviral medication; you can think of them as the gifts that keep on giving. Other viral STIs may resolve on their own, or with clinical treatment.

Bacterial STIs

Bacterial STIs are caused by microorganisms called bacteria. Bacterial STIs can often be treated and cured with antibiotic medication. However, if you are re-exposed to bacterial STIs, you may be at risk for repeated infection. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are the two most common bacterial STIs.

Other STIs

Other STIs can be caused by living organisms. STIs under this category can be effectively treated and cured by using prescribed medication in the form of pills, ointments or creams.

See also: SHAC STI Testing Options and SHAC Barrier Necessities Program

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a SHAC health provider, call SHAC at (505) 277-3136.