“Once you’ve reached menopause,
just because you can’t get pregnant doesn’t mean
you can’t contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI)”.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 (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health’s (JH) definition is:

“An STI is an infection spread from one person to another during sex”.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 infections (STIs), or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. They are usually spread during vaginal, oral, or anal sex. But sometimes they can spread through other sexual contact involving the penis, vagina, mouth, or anus. This is because some STIs, like herpes and HPV, are spread by skin-to-skin contact”.4

How Many

How many STIs are there?

In Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Overview the World Health Organization (WHO) elaborate on:

“More than 30 different bacteria, viruses and parasites are known to be transmitted through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Some STIs can also be transmitted from mother-to-child during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Eight pathogens are linked to the greatest incidence of STIs. Of these, 4 are currently curable: syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. The other 4 are incurable viral infections: hepatitis B, herpes simplex virus (HSV), HIV and human papillomavirus (HPV)”.5

Cause

What can cause STIs?

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

“Sexually transmitted infections can be caused by:

  • Bacteria.  Gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia are examples of STIs that are caused by bacteria
  • Parasites. Trichomoniasis is an STD caused by a parasite
  • Viruses. STDs caused by viruses include human papillomavirus (HPV), the herpes simplex virus, and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS”.6

Human Papillomavirus Virus

What is the human papillomavirus (HPV)?

In About Genital HPV Infection: Overview – What Is Human Papillomavirus (HPV)? the (United States) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain:

“HPV is the most common STI. There are many different types of HPV. While most do not cause any health problems, some types can cause genital warts and cancers. Vaccines can stop these health problems from happening. HPV is a different virus than HIV and HSV (herpes)”.7

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


  • “Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is associated with over 311 000 cervical cancer deaths each year”.8

HPV and Cervical Cancer

Can HPV cause cervical cancer and other cancers?

In Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Genital HPV Infection – Basic 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 (called oropharyngeal cancer). This can include the base of the tongue and tonsils”.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, the majority of which are asymptomatic”.10

Risk

Who can catch an STI?

In Safer Sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): How To Have Safer Sex the JH explain:

“Practising safer sex can reduce your risk of getting an STI. Anyone can catch an STI. You can’t tell if a sexual partner has an STI. A strong and healthy person may still be infected. Some people may not even know they have an STI.

It’s important to communicate openly and agree on protection before you have sex”.11

Oral Sex

Does oral sex reduce the risk of getting an STI?

According to the JH:

“Note that oral sex doesn’t reduce the risk of getting an STI. Common STIs such as herpes, gonorrhoea and chlamydia can all be transmitted through unprotected oral sex”.12

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)”.13

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


“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”.14

Safer Sex

What is safer sex?

DotS the definition of safer sex may vary. In Safer Sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Safer Sex the JH’s definition includes:

“Safer sex is not just about protection from unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It’s also about making sure everyone involved feels safe and respected.

Communication is an important part of safer sex. Whether you’re in a long-term relationship or an open relationship with multiple partners, it’s important to talk about consent, contraception and sexual preferences before you have sex. This is also a good time talk about things like boundaries and STIs”.15

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”.16

Female Condom

What is a female condom?

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

“The female condom is a polyurethane sheath inserted into the vagina prior to intercourse. It is less commonly used than other forms of contraception. They are more expensive than male condoms and have a slightly higher failure rate. They can be purchased online at family planning clinics and also at some pharmacies”.17

In Your Contraceptive Guide: Female Condoms the (United Kingdom) NHS also explain what female condoms are.

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”.18

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”.19

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 Safer Sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): What To Do If You Have An STI the JH also explains:

“If you are diagnosed with an STI, it’s important to follow the treatment recommended by your doctor. Take the full course of medicines even if you start to feel better and symptoms disappear.

It’s also important to tell anyone you’ve recently had sexual contact with so they can be tested and treated too.

If you find this hard, the following websites have tips on how to tell your partner and ways you can send an SMS or text without them knowing it’s from you:

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics A-Z 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. 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: 14 May 2024
  2. Sexually Transmitted Infections. Page Last Updated: 29 December 2022. 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: 14 May 2024
  3. Safer Sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs). Last Updated: 11 May 2024 | Last Revised: 12 December 2023. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/sex-sexual-health/safer-sex-stis/ Accessed: 14 May 2024
  4. Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Summary – What Are Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)? Last Updated: 08 May 2024. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/sexuallytransmitteddiseases.html Accessed: 14 May 2024
  5. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Overview. 10 July 2023. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis) Accessed: 14 May 2024
  6. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): Symptoms & Causes – Causes. 08 September 2023. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/symptoms-causes/syc-20351240 Accessed: 14 May 2024
  7. About Genital HPV Infection: Overview – What Is Human Papillomavirus (HPV)? 06 February 2024. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/sti/about/about-genital-hpv-infection.html Accessed: 22 May 2024
  8. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Key Facts. 10 July 2023. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis) Accessed: 14 May 2024
  9. Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Genital HPV Infection – Basic Fact Sheet: Does HPV Cause Cancer? Page Last Reviewed: 12 April 2022. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm Accessed: 14 May 2024
  10. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Key Facts. 10 July 2023. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis) Accessed: 14 May 2024
  11. Safer Sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): How to Have Safer Sex. Last Updated: 11 May 2024 | Last Reviewed: 12 December 2023. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/sex-sexual-health/safer-sex-stis/ Accessed: 14 May 2024
  12. Safer Sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): How To Have Safer Sex. Last Updated: 11 May 2024 | Last Reviewed: 12 December 2023. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/sex-sexual-health/safer-sex-stis Accessed: 14 May 2024
  13. 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: 14 May 2024
  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: 14 May 2024
  15. Safer Sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Safer Sex. Last Updated: 11 May 2024 | Last Revised: 12 December 2023. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/sex-sexual-health/safer-sex-stis/ Accessed: 14 May 2024
  16. 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: 14 May 2024
  17. Contraception. Coitally-Dependent Barrier Methods — (c) Female Condom. Content Updated: July 2022. Australasian Menopause Society’s https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/280-contraception Accessed: 14 May 2024
  18. Sexually Transmitted Infections: Does A Pap Test Screen for STIs? Page Last Updated: 29 December 2022. 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: 14 May 2024
  19. HIV/AIDS & STDs: STDs and HIV – CDC Basic Fact Sheet: Why Does Having An STD Put Me More At Risk for Getting HIV? Page Last Reviewed: 12 April 2022. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/std/hiv/stdfact-std-hiv.htm Accessed: 14 May 2024
  20. Safer Sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): What To Do If You Have An STI. Last Updated: 11 May 2024 | Last Reviewed: 12 December 2023. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/sex-sexual-health/safer-sex-stis/ Accessed: 14 May 2024
Topic Last Updated: 22 May 2024 – Topic Last Reviewed: 14 May 2024

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