What are STIs?
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections or STIs, are very common. Millions of new infections occur every year in the United States.
STIs are passed from one person to another through sexual activity including vaginal, oral, and anal sex. They can also be passed from one person to another through intimate physical contact, such as heavy petting, though this is not very common.
STIs don’t always cause symptoms or may only cause mild symptoms, so it is possible to have an infection and not know it. That is why it is important to get tested if you are having sex. If you are diagnosed with an STI, know that all can be treated with medicine and some can be cured entirely.
STIs are preventable. If you have sex, know how to protect yourself and your sexual partner from STIs.
STIs & Infertility
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are important preventable causes of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility. Untreated, about 10-15% of women with chlamydia will develop PID. PID and “silent” infection in the upper genital tract may cause permanent damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus, and surrounding tissues, which can lead to infertility.
STIs & Pregnancy
Individuals who are pregnant can become infected with the same STIs as those who are not pregnant. Pregnant persons should ask their doctors about getting tested for STIs, since some doctors do not routinely perform these tests. STIs can complicate pregnancy and may have serious effects on pregnant persons and their developing baby.