Sexual Health, Disease & Sexually Transmitted Infections

There are two types of sexually transmitted infections (STIs): bacterial and viral. Bacterial infections can be treated and cured with antibiotics and are easier to test for during a routine health care exam. Viral infections cannot be cured but symptoms can be managed with medication. Testing for viral infections is also more complicated with the exception of HIV, which can be tested using a variety of methods.

Online STD Wizard

This online tool is based on the CDC STD treatment guidelines and makes this expert knowledge accessible to the public. No personal information is collected and the “quiz” can be taken online in complete privacy.The Wizard guides users through interactive questions and takes only 5 minutes to complete. At the end, each user receives STD screening advice tailored to their specific risk profile. People who take the quiz can learn about behaviors that may put them at risk. The STD Wizard was developed by the Medical Institute for Sexual Health in collaboration with STD experts in response to demand for online sexual health information.

While this is a fun tool, remember that regardless of your risk level, it is a good idea to get tested for most STIs every 6 months if you are sexually active.

It is important to note that there are other, less common, STIs than those listed here. Most STI screenings only test for the most common or likely STIs. Also, other diseases and infections not classified as STIs are capable of being sexually transmitted.

Prevention

Condoms and other barriers such as dental dams can help prevent the transmission of some STIs including Chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV; others (like herpes, HPV and syphilis) can still be transmitted even if a condom is used correctly. This is because STIs transmitted by skin to  skin contact are only prevented if the barrier covers the entire infected area. It is important to remember that organic (lambskin) condoms do not protect against STIs.

Fluid bonding is a process where partners in a committed relationship get tested for STIs together, abstain from sex or use condoms and other barrier methods for 6 months, and then get tested for STIs again before agreeing to have sex without condoms.

Fluid bonded partners only have unprotected sex with each other, so as to not bring in the potential for new STIs. Because some STIs, including HIV, may not show up in a test for up to 6 months after infection, this process allows committed partners to know what their STI status is before agreeing to unprotected sex.