STIs and Safer Sex Practices

Any type of sexual contact or activity involves some risk. STIs can negatively affect your sexual and reproductive health. They are often spread by people who don’t even realize they have an STI. Safer sex practices can reduce your risk. Getting tested is an important way to protect your health and your partner’s health.

Learn more about the most commonly known STIs.

Chlamydia is a serious bacterial infection that is spread through sexual contact and can be passed to a newborn during delivery. Chlamydia can also spread to reproductive organs causing serious complications. To learn more, see Chlamydia.
Gonorrhea is an infection that can cause a discharge from the penis or vagina and a burning sensation during urination. Antibiotics are used to treat gonorrhea. To learn more, see Gonorrhea.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can cause sores near the genitals, in the mouth, or the rectum. Pregnant women can pass the infection to their unborn children and, if left untreated, can cause complications during and after birth. To learn more, see Syphilis.
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is an infection that results in one or more blisters around the genitals, rectum or mouth. While treatable, there is no cure and the risk to a baby is higher if the mother has an outbreak at the time of delivery. To learn more, see Herpes.
Human Papillomavirus Virus (HPV) is the most common STI with over 100 different strains. While most are not harmful, HPV can cause genital warts and even certain types of cancer. A vaccine is now available for both men and women. To learn more, see HPV.
Also known as Trich, this STI is caused by a parasite, most commonly found in the vagina in women and the urethra in men. Mothers with Trich often have babies early (preterm) at a low birth weight. To learn more, see Trichomoniasis.
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by a virus that can be deadly. Hepatitis B can be passed on during childbirth. There is also a low risk of spread if breastfeeding with cracked or bleeding nipples. To learn more, see Hepatitis B.
HIV can spread through unprotected sex or through the sharing of infected needles. HIV weakens your ability to fend off infections and diseases and can lead to AIDS. To learn more, see HIV.