Sexual Health

Get Informed & Get Tested

Sexual Health

Get Informed & Get Tested

Your Sexual Health

If you are sexually active, you are at risk for a sexually transmitted infection.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are also called sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs. STIs are usually spread by having vaginal, oral, or anal sex. More than 9 million women in the United States are diagnosed with an STI each year. Some helpful links: STD Fact Sheets – CDC. STD and Oral Sex Fact Sheets – CDC

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has determined that individuals 15 – 24 years of age make up over one quarter of the sexually active population. However, this group accounts for half of the 20 million STIs in the United States each year.1 Women considering abortion need to be tested for STIs to decrease their chances of developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).2  

Untreated sexual transmitted infections can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of a woman’s reproductive organs. It is a complication often caused by some STIs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea. Other infections that are not sexually transmitted can also cause PID. 1 in 8 women with a history of PID experience difficulties getting pregnant. You can prevent PID if you know how to protect yourself.

Symptoms

With some STIs, a man or woman may have no symptoms at all. Testing and early treatment is important for your sexual health.

Common STI Symptoms in Women:

  • Painful or burning sensation when urinating
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Painful intercourse
  • Strong odor
  • Irritation and itching

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STI's & pregnancy

According to the CDC4, STIs can complicate pregnancy, having serious effects on both the mother and baby.  Some common side effects are low birth weight, preterm labor, and premature birth.  Women with STDs can infect their baby either before, during or after the baby’s birth.  The sooner a woman begins receiving care for STIs during pregnancy, the better the health outcomes for herself and her baby.

Sti prevention

Abstaining from sex or intimate physical contact including oral contact is the only way to be 100% confident of avoiding STI infection.

To prevent getting an STI, always avoid sex with anyone who has genital sores, a rash, discharge, or other symptoms. The only time unprotected sex is safe is if you and your partner have sex only with each other, and if it’s been at least six months since you each tested negative for STIs.

Proper use of condoms with each act of sexual intercourse can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of STIs. Use latex condoms every time you have sex. Use condoms for the entire sex act. Condoms are not 100% effective at preventing disease or pregnancy. However, they are extremely effective if used properly. They must be used consistently and correctly each time to reduce the risk of infection. Remember that condom use does not ensure that you will be protected.

1CDC Fact Sheet: Information for Teens and Young Adults: Staying Healthy and Preventing STDs. (2014, November 4). Retrieved November 13, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/std/life-stages-populations/stdfact-teens.htm
2Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). (2014, May 1). Retrieved November 13, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pelvic-inflammatory-disease/basics/causes/con-20022341

PID information: https://www.cdc.gov/std/pid/stdfact-pid.htm

4STDs during Pregnancy – CDC Fact Sheet. (2014, December 16). Retrieved November 13, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/std/pregnancy/stdfact-pregnancy.htm
5Miscarriage. (2013, July 9). Retrieved December 23, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pregnancy-loss-miscarriage/basics/definition/con-20033827

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