“Anyone can catch an STI, whatever their sexual orientation. You are at risk of an STI whether it’s the first time you have unprotected sex or the 100th time”.1

Umbrella
What may the Sexually Transmitted Infections Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Sexually Transmissible Infections
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
  • Venereal Diseases (VD)

Terminology

Are sexually transmitted infections (STIs) also called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?

In Sexually Transmitted Infections the Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov explain:

“Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are also called sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs”.2

Sexually Transmitted Infections

What are sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

DotS the definition of STIs may vary. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition is:

“STIs are spread predominantly by sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Some STIs can also be spread through non-sexual means such as via blood or blood products. Many STIs—including syphilis, hepatitis B, HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, and HPV—can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth”.3

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

What are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?

DotS the definition of STDs may vary. The (United States) MedlinePlus’ definition is:

“Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact”.4

The (United States) Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s definition is:

“STDs/STIs are a group of illnesses that are passed from person to person during sexual intercourse, oral sex, or certain types of sex play”.5

How Many

How many STIs are there?

In Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Key Facts the WHO elaborate on:

“More than 30 different bacteria, viruses and parasites are known to be transmitted through sexual contact. Eight of these pathogens are linked to the greatest incidence of sexually transmitted disease”.6

Cause

What can cause STIs?

In Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): Symptoms & Causes – Causes the Mayo Clinic note:

“Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be caused by:

  • Bacteria (gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia)
  • Parasites (trichomoniasis)
  • Viruses (human papillomavirus, genital herpes, HIV)

Sexual activity plays a role in spreading many other kinds of infections, although it’s possible to be infected without sexual contact. Examples include the hepatitis A, B and C viruses, shigella, and Giardia intestinalis”.7

Human Papillomavirus Virus

What is the human papillomavirus (HPV)?

In Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Genital HPV Infection – Fact Sheet: What Is HPV? the (United States) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note:

“HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV is a different virus than HIV and HSV (herpes). 79 million Americans, most in their late teens and early 20s, are infected with HPV. There are many different types of HPV. Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and cancers. But there are vaccines that can stop these health problems from happening”.8

Cervical Cancer

Is there an association between HPV and cervical cancer?

In Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Genital HPV Infection – Fact Sheet: Does HPV Cause Cancer? the CDC explain:

“HPV can cause cervical and other cancers including cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, or anus. It can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (called oropharyngeal cancer)”.9

Common or Not

How common are STIs?

In Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Key Facts the WHO note:

  • “More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide”.10

In Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Key Facts the WHO also note:

Sexually Transmitted Infections

  • “More than 290 million women have a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection”.11

Risk

Who can catch an STI?

In Safer Sex & STIs: Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs) – STIs Don’t Discriminate the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) explain:

“Anyone can catch an STI, whatever their sexual orientation. You are at risk of an STI whether it’s the first time you have unprotected sex or the 100th time.

You cannot tell if a sexual partner has an STI. A strong and healthy person may still be infected. Some people may not even know they are infected. You risk getting an STI from any partner who has had, or is having, unsafe sex with another person”.12

Oral Sex

Is oral sex the answer to avoiding STIs?

The JH note:

“Oral sex is not the answer to avoiding STIs as herpes, gonorrhoea and chlamydia can all be transmitted through unprotected oral sex”.13

Menopause

Once women have reached menopause can they still contract a STI?

In Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Reminders and Resources – Safe Sex Rules Still Apply the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) elaborate on:

“Once you’ve reached menopause, just because you can’t get pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI)”.14

In Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Reminders and Resources – Safe Sex Rules Still Apply the NAMS also note:

Sexually Transmitted Infections
“Women with severe vaginal atrophy who are sexually active may be at increased risk for STIs since their dry, thin vaginal tissue is susceptible to small tears where infection can begin”.15

Safer Sex

What is safer sex?

DotS the definition of safer sex may vary. In Safer Sex & STIs: What Is Safer Sex? the JH’s definition is:

“Safer sex is sex where semen, vaginal secretions or blood are not exchanged between partners. The exchange of these body fluids can occur with the following sexual activities:

  • Vaginal sex
  • Anal sex
  • Oral sex
  • Oral anal contact
  • Fingers or objects in the vagina or anus (if they have these fluids on them)”.16

Condom

Is a condom the only form of birth control which provides some protection against STIs?

Yes. In Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Contraception – You May Need It Longer Than You May Think: Many Choices for the Midlife Woman the NAMS remind us:

“Remember that only one form of birth control—condom use—provides some protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections”.17

Female Condom

What is a female condom?

DotS the definition of a female condom may vary. In Contraception: Coitally-Dependent Barrier Methods — Female Condom the Australasian Menopause Society explain:

“The female condom is a polyurethane sheath inserted into the vagina prior to intercourse. It has an inner and an outer ring which are used to anchor the condom in place and to ensure that the penis is guided into the sheath”.18

In Female Condom: Overview the Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“The female condom — also called an internal condom — is a birth control (contraceptive) device that acts as a barrier to keep sperm from entering the uterus. It protects against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)”.19

In Female Condoms: Your Contraceptive Guide the (United Kingdom) NHS (National Health Service) also explain what female condoms are and include an image.

Testing

Where may STIs testing be available?

DotC (Depending on the Country) STIs testing may be available from your health care provider or your country’s equivalent of a:

  • Family Planning Center/Clinic
  • Genitourinary Medicine Center/Clinic
  • Sexual Health Center/Clinic
  • Women’s Community Health Center/Clinic
  • Women’s Contraceptive Center/Clinic
  • Women’s Health Center/Clinic

Pap Test

Does a Pap test screen for STIs?

In Sexually Transmitted Infections: Does A Pap Test Screen for STIs? Womenshealth.gov explain:

“No. Pap testing is mainly used to look for cell changes that could be cancer or precancer. However, your doctor may test you for HPV in addition to doing the Pap test if you are older than 30.

If you want to be tested for STIs, you must ask your doctor or nurse”.20

HIV

Is there an association between the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and STIs?

In HIV/AIDS & STDs: STDs and HIV – CDC Fact Sheet: Why Does Having An STD Put Me More At Risk for Getting HIV? the CDC note:

“If you get an STD, you are more likely to get HIV than someone who is STD-free. This is because the same behaviors and circumstances that may put you at risk for getting an STD also can put you at greater risk for getting HIV. In addition, having a sore or break in the skin from an STD may allow HIV to more easily enter your body. If you are sexually active, get tested for STDs and HIV regularly, even if you don’t have symptoms”.21

Health Care Provider

What if I would like help with safer sex and/or female condoms?

If you would like help with safer sex and/or female condoms it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this.

In Sexual Health and Menopause Online the NAMS reassure:

“Sex and menopause are totally appropriate subjects for discussion in the healthcare setting, and solutions to midlife sexual problems are out there for the taking”.22

In Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Talking To Your Healthcare Provider About Your Problem the NAMS also note:

“If your provider asks about your sex life or sexual function, don’t miss the opportunity to be frank and look for help. More important, if your provider doesn’t ask specifically about your sexual function, don’t be afraid to bring up a distressing sexual problem yourself when you’re asked, “How are you feeling?” Most providers today are comfortable addressing such a problem; if your provider is not, consider looking for another.

There is absolutely no need to suffer (or let your relationship suffer) in silence”.23

The Mayo Clinic also encourage us to talk to our health care provider explaining:

“Your health has a big impact on your sex life and vice versa. Don’t be embarrassed about discussing sex with your doctor. Your doctor can be a reliable source of information on sexual health. He or she can help you manage chronic conditions and medications that affect your sex life. Your doctor can help you understand how sexual activity may change throughout your life”.24

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Sexually Transmitted Infections?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Sexually Transmitted Infections?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Safer Sex & STIs: Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs) – STIs Don’t Discriminate. Last Updated: 22 March 2020 | Last Reviewed 02 December 2013. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/sex-sexual-health/safer-sex-stis/ Accessed: 10 June 2020
  2. Sexually Transmitted Infections. Medical Review In 2017. Page Last Updated: 11 June 2019. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/sexually-transmitted-infections Accessed: 10 June 2020
  3. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Key Facts. 14 June 2019. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis) Accessed: 10 June 2020
  4. Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Summary. Page Last Updated on: 01 May 2020. Topic Last Reviewed: 23 October 2017. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/sexuallytransmitteddiseases.html Accessed: 10 June 2020
  5. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): About Sexually Transmitted Diseases STDs). Last Review Date 31 January 2017. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/stds/conditioninfo Accessed: 10 June 2020
  6. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Key Facts. 14 June 2019. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis) Accessed: 10 June 2020
  7. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): Symptoms & Causes – Causes. 29 October 2019. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/symptoms-causes/syc-20351240 Accessed: 10 June 2020
  8. Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Genital HPV Infection – Fact Sheet: What Is HPV? Page Last Reviewed: 20 August 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm Accessed: 10 June 2020
  9. Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Genital HPV Infection – Fact Sheet: Does HPV Cause Cancer? Page Last Reviewed: 20 August 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm Accessed: 10 June 2020
  10. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Key Facts. 14 June 2019. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis) Accessed: 10 June 2020
  11. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Key Facts. 14 June 2019. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis) Accessed: 10 June 2020
  12. Safer Sex & STIs: Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs) – STIs Don’t Discriminate. Last Updated: 22 March 2020 | Last Reviewed 02 December 2013. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/sex-sexual-health/safer-sex-stis/ Accessed: 10 June 2020
  13. Safer Sex & STIs: Safer Sex Practices. Last Updated: 22 March 2020 | Last Reviewed: 02 December 2013. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/sex-sexual-health/safer-sex-stis Accessed: 10 June 2020
  14. Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Reminders and Resources – Safe Sex Rules Still Apply. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/reminders-and-resources/safe-sex-rules-still-apply Accessed: 10 June 2020
  15. Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Reminders and Resources – Safe Sex Rules Still Apply. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/reminders-and-resources/safe-sex-rules-still-apply Accessed: 10 June 2020
  16. Safer Sex & STIs: What Is Safer Sex? Last Updated: 22 March 2020 | Last Revised: 02 December 2013. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/sex-sexual-health/safer-sex-stis/ Accessed: 10 June 2020
  17. Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Contraception – You May Need It Longer Than You May Think: Many Choices for the Midlife Woman. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/reminders-and-resources/contraception-you-need-it-longer-than-you-may-think Accessed: 10 June 2020
  18. Contraception. Coitally-Dependent Barrier Methods — Female Condom. Content Updated: May 2016. Australasian Menopause Society’s https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/280-contraception Accessed: 10 June 2020
  19. Female Condom: Overview. 11 February 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/female-condom/basics/definition/PRC-20014435 Accessed: 10 June 2020
  20. Sexually Transmitted Infections: Does A Pap Test Screen for STIs? Medical Review In 2017. Page Last Updated: 11 June 2019. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/sexually-transmitted-infections Accessed: 10 June 2020
  21. HIV/AIDS & STDs: STDs and HIV – CDC Fact Sheet: Why Does Having An STD Put Me More At Risk for Getting HIV? Page Last Reviewed: 30 March 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/std/hiv/stdfact-std-hiv.htm Accessed: 10 June 2020
  22. Sexual Health & Menopause Online. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online Accessed: 10 June 2020
  23. Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Talking To Your Health Care Provider About Your Problem. North America Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/effective-treatments-for-sexual-problems/talking-to-your-healthcare-provider-about-your-problem Accessed: 10 June 2020
  24. Have Questions About Sex? Ask Your Doctor. 03 January 2019. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/in-depth/art-20048805 Accessed: 10 June 2020

Topic Last Updated: 04 July 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 10 June 2020
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