STIs, previously known as STDs, are infections primarily transmitted through sexual contact. These infections can spread through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and other bodily fluids. Some STIs can also be transmitted non-sexually, such as through sharing needles or during childbirth.
STIs are common, with millions of new cases reported in the United States each year. The good news is that most STIs can be treated with medication and often completely cured. Early detection and treatment, especially for conditions like Hepatitis C or HIV, can significantly improve the quality of life.
Prevention is key. If you're sexually active, protect yourself and your partners by using condoms or dental dams and getting regular STI tests. Testing should occur annually, with new partners, or more frequently if you engage in high-risk behaviors.
Common signs of STIs include:
Genital or oral sores or bumps
Painful or burning urination
Unusual or foul-smelling vaginal discharge
Abnormal vaginal bleeding
Pain during intercourse
Swollen lymph nodes, especially in the groin
Lower abdominal pain
Skin rash on the trunk, hands, or feet
STI symptoms may appear shortly after exposure, but some infections remain asymptomatic for years, allowing unknowing transmission. The only way to be certain is through testing.
Free At-Home Testing Available
Free STI home tests are available at this site: https://cdphe.mybinxhealth.com/. Tests are free for individuals to use, and tests are available for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and hepatitis C in addition to HIV.
If you need to find a medical provider for additional assistance, please call Park County Public Health at 719-836-4154.