A sexually transmitted infection (STI), also known as a sexually transmitted disease (STD), is a disease or infection that can be passed from one person to another through sex, anal sex, oral sex, IV needles, and blood transfusion.  1

Viral STIs are usually treatable but not curable. Bacterial STIs are treatable and curable.

Some statistics about STIs:2

Approximately 19 million people are infected with an STI every year, but only half know it

One in four people (25%) newly diagnosed with an STI is a teenager

Almost 75 percent of women infected with chlamydia don’t know they have it

One in four Americans has an STI. Almost half of all STIs appear in 15-24 year olds

Having an STI increases the risk of getting HIV. This is because the same behaviors and situations that put you at risk for getting an STI are the same ones that put you at risk for HIV. Also, an STI may cause a sore or break in your skin, which lets HIV enter your body more easily . 3

According to the CDC, people who have syphilis, gonorrhea, and herpes are more likely to also have HIV or are more likely to get HIV in the future. 3

Some facts regarding STIs:

  • STIs are either bacterial (e.g. chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, vaginitis), or viral (e.g. HIV, HPV, herpes, hepatitis) 5
  • Half of sexually active young people will get an STI by age 25
  • Most people with an STI don’t know they even have it
  • STIs are very common – each year there are over 19 million new cases diagnosed in the US
  • If they’re left untreated, STIs may cause infertility and even cancer. 6
  • HPV is the most common STI (over 50% of those who are sexually active will get this infection) and no method of birth control fully protects against it being shared
  • All STIs are treatable, but not all are curable.
  • There is no one method of birth control that will protect 100% from STIs.7

Lowering your risk of getting an STI is important to your health!

The most effective way to avoid getting an STI is to not have sex. Another option to create safety is to choose a long-term, committed relationship with a person who isn’t infected or sexually active outside your relationship. Before having sex with your partner, it’s important for both of you to test for STIs and complete any medical treatments first.



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  1. What is an STD. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://whatisstd.net/ 
  2. STD Symptoms Guide. (n.d.). STD Facts & Statisitics. Retrieved from http://www.stdsymptomsguide.com/std-facts-statisitics 
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014, December 16). STD Facts – HIV/AIDS & STDs. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/std/hiv/STDFact-STD-HIV.htm 
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014, December 16). STD Facts – HIV/AIDS & STDs. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/std/hiv/STDFact-STD-HIV.htm 
  5. Go Ask Alice!. (1999, November 19). Is there a difference between bacterial and viral STIs? | Go Ask Alice!. Retrieved from http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/there-difference-between-bacterial-and-viral-stis 
  6. Contracept. (n.d.). STD Prevention and Birth Control. Retrieved from http://www.contracept.org/stds.php 
  7. STD Facts: Shocking Statistics You May Not Know About STDs. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/std-facts_n_1282151.html 
  8. Center for Disease Control. (2010). Sexually Transmitted Diseases (RR-12). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/STD-Treatment-2010-RR5912.pdf