Sexually transmitted infections - patient education

Sexually transmitted infections - patient education

Oak Valley Health's patient education pages share the skills, knowledge, and habits patients and families need to know to cope with a daily health issue. We hope this information can influence patient behaviour to improve health outcomes and provide you with a sense of control and autonomy.

Learn more about the risks, causes, and treatment of sexually transmitted infections

What are sexually transmitted infections?

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are contagious diseases. They spread or are transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids during sex or sexual contact. Saliva, sperm, blood, vaginal discharge, and urine are examples of bodily fluids. STIs are very common in people of all ages.

Common STIs

  • Genital Herpes, also called herpes simplex virus or HSV
  • Hepatitis B
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Genital warts, caused by HPV (human papillomavirus)
    • Some types can also cause cervical and anal cancers
  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
What increases the risks?
  • You have unprotected sex
  • You are a man who has sex with men
  • You have more than one sexual partner
  • Your sex partner has multiple sex partners
  • You have sex with someone who has a known STI
  • You have or have had a previous STI
  • You inject drugs or have sex partner(s) who inject drugs
How can sexually transmitted infections affect me?
  • Unpleasant symptoms like genital ulcers, vaginal/penile discharge, pain.
  • Take medication for the rest of your life
  • Affect your fertility
  • Increase risk in developing the following:
    • Cervical/anal cancer
    • Head and neck cancer
    • Pelvic inflammatory disease (women)
    • Organ damage
    • Problems during pregnancy and childbirth (can be passed to child)
How is this prevented?
  • Changes in your lifestyle

    • Avoid using drugs and drinking alcohol when having sex

  • Preventative medicines (speak to your doctor for more information)

  • Be up to date with vaccinations

  • Have only one sexual partner or reduce your number of sexual partners

  • Use barrier protection (male/female condom)

  • Get tested for STIs

Where can I get more information?

Reference: Sexually Transmitted Infections. (2021, June 14). Elsevier Inc: ClinicalKey for Nursing. Retrieved from here.