STIs are serious. You show your body and your health respect by taking STIs seriously. That means:
- Using condoms or oral dental dams every time you have genital contact, oral sex or intercourse (vaginal or anal)
- Getting tested every time you change sex partners or your partner changes sex partners
- If you get an STI, taking your STI treatment medication correctly
- Telling your partners if you have an STI so they can get tested and treated too
- Making sure your vaccinations are up to date as it prevents Hepatitis B
Taking STIs seriously and choosing to get tested shows respect for yourself and your sexual partners. It is important to get tested for a number of reasons:
- Often, people cannot tell they have an STI because they do not show any symptoms. A lot of times, the only way to tell is by getting tested.
- STIs are easier to treat the sooner you know about them.
- The longer you have an STI, the more harm it may do to your health. Some STIs can cause serious illnesses or make you sterile (which means you will never be able to have children).
- If you don't know that you have an STI, you may be passing it on to your sexual partners without even knowing.
- Having one STI makes it easier for you to get another.
The Get Tested section of this website has more information about when to get tested and where to get tested.
All STIs can be treated, but not all STIs can be cured. Some can only be "managed" and you will need to take medication for the rest of your life. Herpes, genital warts, HIV/AIDS and, sometimes, Hepatitis B are all this kind of STI.