Protect Yourself Against Infections and Diseases


What do I need to know about STIs and STDs?

Types of STIs-STDs

A Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) is a sickness that is passed on from one person to another during sexual activity.  There are many different types of STIs that can be passed on during oral sex, vaginal sex or anal sex. Some can even be passed on by skin-to-skin genital contact.  It is important to treat STIs as soon as possible and not to spread them. Many can easily be cured, but if an STI is left untreated, it may cause other complications in the body. Some types of STIs can cause infertility or even death.

STIs can be grouped into three families: Viral, Bacterial, and Parasitic/Fungal

Viral Infections

Viral STIs are caused by viruses passed from person-to-person during sexual activity. In general viral infections involve many different parts of the body at the same time.

  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): The human papilloma virus or HPV is the most common viral infection. There are over 30 types of HPV that are sexually transmitted through oral, anal or vaginal sex.
  • Genital Herpes: Genital Herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus. It is in the same family of viruses that cause cold sores around the mouth. The virus is transmitted by sexual activities or skin-to-skin contact.
  • Hepatitis B Virus: Hepatitis B or Hep B, affects the liver. It is not to be mistaken with Hepatitis A or C, which are other forms of liver disease.  Hepatitis B is easily transmitted not only through sexual activities, but by sharing items like razors, needles and toothbrushes.
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): Human Immunodeficiency virus or HIV/Aids attacks the body’s immune system, leaving infected individuals unable to fight off other illness. It is transmitted through sexual activities, but also spread by sharing items like razors, needles and toothbrushes. It is not spread by hugging, shaking hands and other casual contact.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial STIs are caused by bacteria passed from person-to-person during sexual activity.

  • Chlamydia: Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs especially among people ages 15 to 24. If left untreated it can cause infertility in both women and men.
  • Gonorrhea (“the clap”): Gonorrhea is an infection that often is transmitted at the same time as Chlamydia and shares the same symptoms. It is found most commonly in people aged 15 to 29. If left untreated it can cause infertility in both women and men.
  • Syphilis (“the great imitator”): Syphilis is called the great imitator because it shows signs that other diseases show. There are three stages of Syphillis. Stage 1 starts with a small painless sore where the bacteria entered the body. In stage two, a person may develop a general feeling of being unwell or flat smooth warts in the genital area. In stage three, syphilis that has been left untreated can cause heart problems, mental issues, and even death.

Parasitic Infections

These STIs are caused by parasites passed from person-to-person during sexual activity. A parasite is a creature that lives off another beings body. Think of a parasite as a little bug that lives off a human but cannot always be seen by the naked eye.

  • Trichomoniasis (Trich): This single-celled organism can infect the urethra, bladder, vagina, cervix or get under the foreskin.  It can be transmitted through sexual activity and by sharing sex toys.
  • Pubic Lice (Crabs): Pubic lice are also called crabs, because that’s what they look like under a microscope. Public Lice live in pubic hairs around the genitals. They lay eggs at the base of the hair.
  • Scabies (Mites): Scabies are tiny mites that dig little holes below the surface of the skin where they lay eggs.

Fungal Infections

While not technically STIs, this infection can be passed through sexual contact in rare circumstances.

  • Yeast Infection (Candida): A vaginal yeast infection is a common fungal infection caused by overgrowth of Candida, naturally occurring yeast. Yeast is normally found in a woman’s vagina in small numbers, but sometimes they can multiply and change the normal balance of bacterial growth. When the fungi begin to grow in excess, they may develop into candidiasis.

This information is provided by

Where can I get tested?

Any local hospital, health centre or clinic can provide confidential testing for all STIs and STDs

1 thought on “STIs & STDs

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