Sexually-transmitted infections, sometimes abbreviated as STDs or STIs, are infections caused by sexual contact. There are many types of STIs that you may be exposed to depending on how you are having sex.
Not all STIs are transmitted the same way. Some STIs, like gonorrhea and chlamydia, are transmitted by bodily fluids such as semen, anal, and vaginal fluids. Other STIs, like syphilis or herpes, are passed by skin to skin contact.
Sometimes you or your partners may have an STI without showing any symptoms. You can’t tell if someone has an STI just by looking at them. It’s best to talk to your partners about the last time you got tested or go and get tested together before you have sex.
Just remember: having an STI does not make you a careless person. Most people have an STI at some point in their lives and the majority are easy to treat or manage symptoms. By getting tested frequently, and understanding how to prevent STIs, you can reduce your risk.
To learn more about specific STIs, check out this resource (available in English and Spanish).