Know the Facts
False assumptions about STDs – how they’re spread, prevented, and treated – are everywhere, and it can be especially hard for people to get the facts. Making sure that you have the correct information about STD prevention and testing has never been more important.
Did you know…?
- STDs impact young people the hardest. In the U.S., almost half of all new infections in 2018 were among people aged 15-24.
- If you are sexually active, you can lower your risk of getting an STD several ways, including by using a condom the right way from start to finish.
- Almost all STDs that can be spread via condomless vaginal sex also can be spread through oral and anal sex without a condom.
- You can’t tell if someone has an STD just by looking at them. Many STDs don’t cause any symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to get tested.
- Even if you use birth control, you should still think about STD prevention. Birth control methods like the pill, patch, ring, and IUD are very effective at preventing pregnancy, but they do not protect against STDs and HIV.
- The most reliable way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
You also should know that all STDs, even HIV, are treatable, and most are curable. The sooner you get tested, the sooner you can take action to protect your health and the health of your partner(s).
Some STDs can lead to serious health problems if they’re not treated. For example, an untreated STD, like chlamydia, can make it difficult or impossible for a woman to get pregnant. An untreated STD can also increase the chances of transmitting or getting HIV.
- STD tests are quick, simple, and usually painless. For example, rapid HIV tests can provide results from just a swab inside the mouth in only 20 minutes.
- Not all medical checkups include STD testing. Unless you ask to be tested, you can’t assume you have been. Ask your healthcare provider which STDs you should be tested for.
- Talk to your partner about when you were last tested and suggest getting tested together. And if you have an STD, tell your partner. These conversations may seem hard to have, but open communication with your partner is essential to staying healthy and stopping the spread of STDs. These conversations may also bring you closer together. Here are some tips to help you start the conversationexternal icon.
- You can find confidential testing near you that is free or low cost by going to www.gettested.cdc.gov.