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Questions to Ask My Doctor

How can STIs/STDs be prevented?

The only way to avoid a STI or STD is to have no sexual contact with an infected person. Other protections include:

  • Using a condom correctly, and always with sex
  • Having a sexual relationship with only one, long-term partner who has no infections
  • Limiting the number of sexual partners you have
  • Using clean needles if you are injecting drugs

Using latex condoms the right way helps to protect you and your partner. Still, condoms don’t cover everything. It is possible to get or spread infections even when using a condom.

Talk about STIs before you have sex with a new partner. This way you can make informed choices about risks you want to take with your sex life. The only way to truly prevent STIs/STDs is to avoid having sex.

If you or someone you know has symptoms like unusual discharge, burning during urination, or a sore in the genital area, please talk with a health care provider. You can get treatment and help.

Can STIs/STDs cause other health problems in women?

Some STIs can spread into a woman’s uterus and fallopian tubes. They can cause pelvic inflammatory disease. They can cause infertility and ectopic pregnancy (leading to fetal and possibly maternal death). STIs can be passed from mother to baby. Also, there are some links between STIs and cancer.

What if I am pregnant?

You can get treatment to prevent problems for your baby. If you are pregnant and have STD symptoms, please contact your doctor immediately. STDs during pregnancy should be addressed quickly.

Can I get a STI by open-mouth kissing?

Open-mouth kissing is considered a low-risk activity for the spread of STIs, especially HIV. Still, open-mouth kissing for a long time could damage the skin around the mouth and lips. This would allow HIV to pass from an infected person to a partner. Because of this risk, the CDC recommends using caution with an infected partner.

Should I be checked for STIs?

If you have had many sexual partners or have sex without protection, you should talk to a doctor. Whether or not you have symptoms, a doctor can help. Testing for STIs/STDs is very easy and routine. It’s better to take the test and get treated, than to risk health problems or infect others. HIV, HBV and syphilis testing are recommended. Cultures can be performed over time if you have unprotected sex with many partners.