Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are a major health concern. Half of the world’s population will contract an STD.1 If you are sexually active, you are at risk for STIs or STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). Every time you have a new sexual partner, your risk of getting an infection increases exponentially. STIs can spread through oral, anal, or vaginal sex, and many STIs have no symptoms. Chlamydia is sometimes called the “Silent Killer” because the disease can kill you before you ever have symptoms. There are at least 25 different STIs; some STDs are bacterial, which means curable, and some are viral, which means you can never get rid of the disease. Any sexually active individual should be tested to prevent permanent physical damage from an STI.
When you have sex with an individual, you contact both that person’s [possible] infections and the infections of anyone that person has slept with in the past 10 years. According to “Your Sexual Exposure”2(2009), by the time you have had 5 sexual partners, you have contacted around 31 people’s personal fluids. If any of those 31 people had an STI, you have been exposed to that STI. Once you contract an STI, you must be medicated in order to stop the bacterial infection or help control the viral infection.
The only way to determine if you have an STD or STI is to be tested. We do not currently offer STI testing here at HPC, but can refer you to someone who can help you.
Is there such a thing as safe sex? Many people use condoms to protect themselves from STIs. Condoms only reduce your risk of contracting certain STIs, and condoms provide little to no protection against other STIs. Some people assume birth control will help. Actually, birth control provides little, if any, protection against STD/STI transmission. The only proven way to be 100% protected from a sexually transmitted infection is to save sex for a faithful, committed marriage. If you decide to be 100% safe from STIs (and pregnancy) and need help to determine how, please call to set up an appointment. Our peer counselors can help you determine boundaries that will keep you safe from sexually transmitted infections, diseases, and permanent bodily damage.
1 Burnett-Watson, K. (23 January 2006.) “STD – Chances Are You’ve Probably Got One.” Retrieved August 18, 2010, from http://www.aphroditewomenshealth.com/news/stds.shtml.
2 “Your Sexual Exposure.” (2009). Heritage House ’76, Inc: Snowflake, AZ.