Sexually Transmitted Infections


Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), also called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are some of the most widespread infections in the United States. STIs affect both men and women, and almost half of all STIs occur in people younger than 25 years old. Exposure to an STI can occur any time you have sexual contact with anyone that involves the genitals, the mouth (oral), or the rectum (anal). Exposure is more likely if you have more than one sex partner or do not use condoms. Some STIs can be passed by nonsexual contact, such as by sharing needles, during the delivery of a baby or during breastfeeding.

In addition, some STIs have also been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers and infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Many people may not have symptoms of an STI, but are still able to spread an infection. STI testing can help identify an infection early on so that treatment can begin, if necessary. It is important to practice safe sex with all partners, especially if you or they have high-risk sexual behaviors. 

How to Reduce Your Risk of Getting a STI:

The only way to avoid STIs is to not have vaginal, anal or oral sex. If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances:

·  Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested for STIs;

·  Limiting the number of sexual partners;

·  Using latex condoms correctly and every time you have sex;

·  Getting tested for HIV;

·  Not sharing needles;

·  Getting recommended vaccinations such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HPV.

Where to go for STI Screening and Treatment:

If you have symptoms of a STI or have been exposed to someone who has a STI, contact your health care provider to get tested.  Many local and county health departments also have clinics where you can get tested and treated for STIs. Some clinics are free, others you may have to pay to get STI testing and treatment. The STD Clinics in New York State page contains links to contact information for STD clinics organized by county. You can also call the National STD hotline (1-800-232-4636) to find a clinic near you.


There are over 20 different STIs. Learn about some of the most common types.

Additional Resources and Websites:

Division of STD Prevention (DSTDP)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC-INFO Contact Center
1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636)
TTY: (888) 232-6348
Contact CDC-INFO


NYS Department of Health

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

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