What are STIs?
There are an estimated 20 million new STIs (sexually transmitted infections), also known as STDs, every year in the United States, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, and syphilis. Some STIs cause no symptoms so you may be infected and not suspect it. Some have no cure. Young people aged 15-25 account for half or 50% of these new infections. See information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How Common Are STI’s?
Right now, there are approximately 110 million cases of STIs in the US. (Satterwhite CL, et al. Sexually transmitted infections among U.S. women and men: Prevalence and incidence estimates, 2008. Sex Transm. Dis. 2013)
How Do I Get Them?
STIs can be contracted through any type of sexual activity. Even condoms won’t necessarily protect you from all STIs. Some sexually transmitted infections, like herpes and HPV, can be passed on by contact with skin in areas not covered by a condom. See condom information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Get Tested & Treated
STIs often have no symptoms at all, so it’s important for you and your partner to be tested. If you’re unsure if you have an STI or think you may have been exposed to one, we offer free and confidential screenings for both females and males. The Center offers free testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea with a urine test. Our STI testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea is not painful and no needles are used. Results are available in about a week. The testing is free, however we ask for a suggested $15 donation to cover the cost of the test.
You may be infected with chlamydia and not know it. Left untreated, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women up to 40% of the time causing irreversible damage to your fallopian tubes and uterus, etc. (Westrom L, Joesoef R, Reynolds G, et al. Pelvic inflammatory disease and fertility. Sex Trans Dis. 1992;19(4):185-192) This can permanently impact your ability to get pregnant when you decide you want to have a baby. Fortunately, chlamydia is easily treated and cured with antibiotics so it is important to catch it early. We offer testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea, as well as the medication to treat chlamydia. We can refer you to another clinic for gonorrhea treatment, as well as for HIV testing and treatment.
You Get to Decide
The decisions you make today about your sexuality can affect your future. That’s why it’s important to learn about sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STD/STIs) so you can safeguard your body and protect yourself.
If you’re sexually active, condoms can greatly reduce your risk of unplanned pregnancies and STIs. However, they are often used sporadically, misused, leak, or break. In addition, condoms don’t protect against herpes or genital warts as these STIs can be passed on by contact of areas not covered by a condom. The only guaranteed way to avoid unplanned pregnancies and never contract an STI is to remain abstinent, which means refraining from sexual activity.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
The best way is to not have sex until marriage. Is it easy to say no? Not always. Here are some tips:
- Before you start dating, make the decision to not have sex
- Tell your date about your decision
- Don’t drink or use drugs on a date
- Carry money and your phone to call someone for help
- Group date
You have the power to say no. Sex. It’s your choice and it’s your body and your future. You can choose sex or not. Not everyone’s doing it. Please call us at the Center, 310-320-8976 if you want to talk about it. Our Center is friendly, supportive and non-judgmental. All information will be kept confidential.