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STD Awareness: STD Prevention is a part of HIV Prevention

Photo: Group of teenagers who want to reduce their risk of getting HIV by avoiding STDs.Reduce your risk of getting HIV by avoiding STDs. Start by learning about STDs, condom use, and other prevention strategies to stay STD- and HIV-free.

Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness month is about connecting. It is about connecting you with accurate, useful STD and HIV prevention information and testing and treatment choices that lead to better health.

It is also about the connection between STDs and HIV. If you get an STD, you’re more likely to get HIV than someone who is STD-free. Getting or giving STDs increases the risk of getting HIV. Your behaviors and condom use can raise or lower your risk for STDs and HIV. Not having vaginal, anal, or oral sex is the most effective way to prevent these diseases. 

If you are sexually active, however, you can lower your risk for getting STDs and HIV by

  • Choosing one partner and agreeing to be sexually active only with each other. It is still important that you and your partner get tested for STDs and HIV and share your test results with one another before having sex;
  • Limiting the number of people you have sex with if you have more than one partner;
  • Using latex condoms and dental dams the right way every time you have sex.

Photo: Doctor talking to female patientIt also is important that you find and visit a doctor or other medical provider who stays current on STD and HIV testing and treatment recommendations, as well as STD and HIV surveillance data.

The steps you take to lower your risk of getting STDs can also lower your risk of getting HIV—take action to protect your health!

STD & HIV Screening Recommendations

  • All adults and adolescents from ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV.
  • Annual chlamydia screening for all sexually active women age 25 and under, as well as older women with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners.
  • Yearly gonorrhea screening for at-risk sexually active women (e.g., those with new or multiple sex partners, and women who live in communities with a high burden of disease).
  • Syphilis, HIV, chlamydia, and hepatitis B screening for all pregnant women, and gonorrhea screening for at-risk pregnant women starting early in pregnancy, with repeat testing as needed, to protect the health of mothers and their infants.
  • Screening at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea for all sexually active gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). MSM who have multiple or anonymous partners should be screened more frequently for STDs (i.e., at 3-to-6 month intervals).
  • Anyone who has unsafe sex or shares injection drug equipment should get tested for HIV at least once a year. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing (e.g., every 3 to 6 months).