Discover the truth about sexually transmitted infections (STIs or STDs).

It’s important to know the facts about sexually transmitted infections (STIs or STDs). You may have heard something about STIs or have some doubts about something someone told you. These are answers to some of the most common questions and concerns.

  • Can I get an STI from kissing?

    Most STIs are not spread through kissing. However, it is not advisable to kiss people with cold sores as you might catch the herpes virus.

  • Can I get an STI from toilet seats?

    It is very unlikely that you can get an STI from a toilet seat. STIs are usually spread through skin-to-skin sexual contact or through unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex. You may be at risk of getting an STI is you share sex toys. Can also get crabs (pubic lice) or scabies through contact with clothes and bedding.

  • Do only certain types of people get STIs?

    STIs don't discriminate. Anyone can catch one, including people having sex for the first time.

  • Is it possible for me or my partner to have an STI and not know it?

    Yes, many people with STIs have no symptoms or very mild symptoms that are not obvious. Symptoms for some STIs can also take a long time to develop. The only way to know for sure if you have an STI is to get tested. If you are having sex, the best way to avoid catching or passing an STI on is by using a condom.

  • I can’t get or pass on an STI through oral or anal sex. Is that true?

    You can catch a number of STIs by having unprotected oral and anal, as well as vaginal, sex. Using a condom reduces the risk of catching an STI.

  • Are all STIs curable?

    Unfortunately, not all STIs are curable. Viral infections, such as HIV and herpes, can be managed and treated, but not cured.

  • I had unprotected sex but feel fine. Does that mean I don’t have an STI?

    The symptoms of many STIs don’t appear for days, weeks, or even months. That’s why it’s important to be tested if you have had unprotected sex and think you might have an STI, even if you don’t have any symptoms. To reduce risk for you and your partner(s), we recommend using a condom during sex.

  • I have already had an STI. Does that mean I can’t catch it again?

    If you have been treated for an STI, you can still catch it again if you have sexual contact with someone who has it. Others, such as herpes and HIV, can last a lifetime.

  • Is it possible to have more than one STI at a time?

    Yes, you can catch more than one STI at once. Having an STI increases your risk of catching HIV. People with other STIs can transmit HIV more easily to sexual partners. Choosing to wear a condom during sex, or a dental dam during oral sex, reduces the risk.

  • Does a Pap test also test for STIs?

    Your doctor may not test for other STIs during the test. If you have had unprotected sex, you can ask your doctor to be tested for STIs. Alternatively, you can go to a sexual health clinic for STI testing.

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