STDs

STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases, sometimes called STIs Sexually Transmitted Infections) are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. The causes of STDs are bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Some common STDs are:

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Bacterial

  • Chlamydia

  • Gonorrhea

  • Syphilis

Viral

  • Herpes

  • Hepatitis B

  • HIV/AIDS

  • HPV

Parasitic

  • Trichomoniasis

  • Pubic Lice

Some symptoms of STDs are:

  • Bumps, sores, or warts near the mouth, anus, penis or vagina

  • Painful urination

  • Discharge from the penis or vagina

  • Skin rash

  • Painful sex

However, STDs are often asymptomatic which means that they don’t have any symptoms.  STDs can cause long-term health problems including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and cancer.  The only way to know for sure if someone has an STD is to get tested.  The good news is that a lot of STDs are curable and even those without a cure can be effectively managed or minimized with treatment. 

STDs can be prevented by practicing abstinence from sexual activity (including vaginal, anal, and oral sex).  If you choose to be sexually active you can lower your risk of contracting STDs by:

 

  • Having fewer sexual partners

  • Using barrier methods like condoms

  • Talking with your partner about STDs and using protection

  • Getting tested regularly

  • Getting vaccinated

It is important to get tested regularly for STDs if you have been sexually active. 15-24 year olds account for half of all new STD infections. These charts (men and woman)  show who should be tested and this website gives information on the type of test that is done for each STD.

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Minor's Rights

In Florida, minors have the right to access STD and HIV services without parental consent. However, it is still a good idea to talk to your parent or trusted adult about getting tested and about what you are experiencing.

Check out this video made by hillsborough county students to learn how to access sexual health services in-person and virtually!

Talking to Your Provider

According to the National Coalition for Sexual Health, you should tell your health care provider about the kinds of sex you have—oral, anal, and/or vaginal. And, ask about getting tested for all those body parts.  
A health care provider who takes good care of your sexual health will:

  • Put you at ease and listen to any sexual and reproductive health issues that matter to you.

  • Answer your questions and address your concerns in a helpful, respectful way.

  • Ask permission before performing any tests.

  • Explain what they’re doing and the reason why.

  • Not judge you.

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