An STI is a sexually transmitted infection. This means an infection that is caught when body fluids mix or when one person with an STI has unprotected sex with another. Both homosexual and heterosexual partners need to watch out for STI’s.
If you are having sex (oral, anal, or vaginal) you should get tested. ESPECIALLY if you or your partner are having or have had sex with other people. This might seem very scary, but catching HIV in its early stages can prolong your ability to lead a normal life.
If you have any of these symptoms, you need to see a doctor.
Many STI’s don’t have any symptoms. Anyone who has unprotected sex is at risk of getting an STI. Latex condoms with spermicide are the best protection against STI’s. But remember - it doesn’t matter how healthy you are - the person you have sex with may have an STI. Before you have sex with a new person, it is important to ask if they have ever been tested for sexually transmitted infections. This may seem like an uncomfortable conversation, but if you don’t talk about this with your sexual partner, you risk getting an STI, some of which are treatable and some are not.
If you are concerned about an STI, you should visit a doctor or a clinic that offers testing to young people.
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It damages the body’s immune system, so it can’t fight off infections. People with HIV are described as “HIV positive.” The HIV virus causes different diseases over a period of time that together are AIDS - Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
HIV is passed through the bodily fluids of HIV-positive people. A common way of passing the HIV virus is unprotected sex (oral, anal, and vaginal). HIV can also be passed through sharing needles when an HIV-positive person passes his or her needle on to someone else. HIV can’t be transmitted through coughing, sneezing. kissing, sharing a toilet seat, swimming in pools, sweat, or tears.
If you are having sex (oral, anal, or vaginal) you should get tested. This might seem very scary, but catching HIV in its early stages can prolong your ability to lead a normal life. There are clinics available that offer testing to young people, and these services are often discounted and confidential.
HIV can affect anyone - gay or straight, male or female. The people most at risk are those who have unprotected sex and needle-drug users.