“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 unprotected 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 diseases (STDs), or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual 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”.5

Cause

What can cause STIs?

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

“STDs or STIs can be caused by:

  • Bacteria.  Gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia are examples of STIs that are caused by bacteria
  • Parasites. Trichomoniasis is an STI caused by a parasite
  • Viruses. STIs caused by viruses include HPV, genital herpes and HIV

Other kinds of infections — hepatitis A, B and C viruses, shigella infection and giardia infection — can be spread through sexual activity, but it’s possible to be infected without sexual contact”.6

Human Papillomavirus Virus

What is the human papillomavirus (HPV)?

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

“HPV is the most common STI. There were about 43 million HPV infections in 2018, many among people in their late teens and early 20s. 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. HPV is a different virus than HIV and HSV (herpes)”.7

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

Sexually Transmitted Infections

  • “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 & STIs: Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs) – STIs Don’t Discriminate the 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”.11

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”.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:

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”.14

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)”.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.

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”.20

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: 30 November 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: 09 September 2022
  2. Sexually Transmitted Infections. Page Last Updated: 22 February 2021. 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: 09 September 2022
  3. Safer Sex & STIs: Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs). Last Updated: 30 November 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: 09 September 2022
  4. Sexually Transmitted Diseases: What Are Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)? Last Updated: 25 October 2021. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/sexuallytransmitteddiseases.html Accessed: 09 September 2022
  5. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Overview. 22 August 2022. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis) Accessed: 09 September 2022
  6. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): Symptoms & Causes – Causes. 21 September 2021. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/symptoms-causes/syc-20351240 Accessed: 09 September 2022
  7. Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Genital HPV Infection – Basic Fact Sheet: What Is HPV? Page Last Reviewed: 12 April 2022. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm Accessed: 09 September 2022
  8. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Key Facts. 22 August 2022. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis) Accessed: 09 September 2022
  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: 09 September 2022
  10. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Key Facts. 22 August 2022. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis) Accessed: 09 September 2022
  11. Safer Sex & STIs: Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs) – STIs Don’t Discriminate. Last Updated: 30 November 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: 09 September 2022
  12. Safer Sex & STIs: Safer Sex Practices. Last Updated: 30 November 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: 09 September 2022
  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: 09 September 2022
  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: 09 September 2022
  15. Safer Sex & STIs: What Is Safer Sex? Last Updated: 30 November 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: 09 September 2022
  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: 09 September 2022
  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: 09 September 2022
  18. Sexually Transmitted Infections: Does A Pap Test Screen for STIs? Page Last Updated: 22 February 2021. 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: 09 September 2022
  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: 09 September 2022
  20. Have Questions About Sex? Ask Your Doctor. 01 October 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/in-depth/art-20048805 Accessed: 09 September 2022
Topic Last Updated: 09 September 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 09 September 2022

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