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Just diagnosed

If you have just found out that you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), you are not alone. STIs are common infections and anyone who is sexually active may get an STI at some point in their life.

After finding out that you have an STI, it is common to have questions. This website has a lot of information about STIs and sexual health. You can also ask us if you can’t find the answer you are looking for.

The internet has a lot of good information that can help you learn more about STIs. But, not all of the information may be helpful. The internet can give a lot of conflicting information and worst-case scenarios. If you are getting upset or more anxious about your condition by surfing the internet, talk to a health care provider to get reliable answers.

Getting Treatment

Many STIs are easily treated and cured with medication. Once you have finished treatment, the infection will be gone. Practicing safer sex will lower the chances of getting the same or another STI in the future.

Other STIs are not curable but their symptoms can be treated. STIs caused by viruses will stay in the body, and cannot be cleared with medication. Medications are used to manage symptoms and help to reduce the amount of virus in the body.

Living with an STI

If you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as HIV, genital warts (HPV) or the herpes simplex virus, you may be wondering about how this will affect your life and your sex partner(s).

There is no cure for HIV, herpes simplex or genital warts/HPV, but medications and other treatments can help with symptoms and keep you healthy.

You may have questions about your sex life, how to talk to partners, and how to manage symptoms. You may also have feelings or strong reactions. Some common feelings that people have are fear, anger, sadness, and uncertainty. It can help to find emotional support and resources to learn more about what this STI means for you.
Some things to remember are:
– STIs are common. Each year, many people are diagnosed with an STI. In fact, more STIs are reported to public health authorities than any other type of infection. So you’re not alone. It’s very likely that some of your friends have had an STI in the past, and you didn’t even know it.

– STIs are treatable. Many infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia are curable, often with a single dose of antibiotics. Others, such as herpes, may be chronic infections but are treatable and manageable with medication. Talk to your health care provider about the best medical treatment strategy for your particular infection – knowledge is power, so get educated about your disease.

– Having an STI doesn’t mean your life is over. In fact, it doesn’t even mean your sex life is over. Sometimes an STI is a wake-up call, encouraging you to take control of your sexual health, and preparing you for future sexual encounters. Consistent and correct condom use is the best way to prevent STIs – take this to heart, and resolve to practice safer sex in the future.

– There is a lot more to you as a person than your STI.

– You can have relationships and sex. By practicing safer sex, you can protect yourself & reduce the chance of passing STIs to your partner(s).

– There are medications that can help to reduce symptoms. Find a health care provider that knows about your STI and get health care as needed.

Living with HIV

A new diagnosis of HIV can be scary. Living with HIV does not have to be. Everyone living with HIV needs a few things to help them improve their health. These things are knowledge about HIV and your health, motivation to take action for your health, skills to set your health goals and track your progress, and support to help you stick with it.

As a first step for those newly diagnosed or trying to get back into care in the St. Louis Region, call the Linkage to Care Referral Line at (314) 872-1431. A Linkage to Care Coordinator will help enroll in case management to support access to HIV medical care; provide referrals for medical care and support services; and coordinate access to payment for medical care and medications. The Linkage to Care Coordinator is also a great resource for HIV and health education.

Regarding sexual relationships it is important to protect yourself from other STDs and reduce the risk of transmission to others. This can be done by:
• Practicing safer sex by using latex or polyurethane condoms
• Taking antiretroviral therapy
• Not sharing needles

For more information about the facts check out the HIV Section or these other trusted resources: AIDS.gov, Poz.com, or TheBody.com

Sex & Relationships

Just because you are living with an STI does not mean that you will never have sex or a relationship again. Practicing safer sex can lower the chance of passing an STI to your partner(s) and protect you against getting another STI. If you are living with an STI, it makes it easier for you to get other STIs such as chlamydia or gonorrhea.

STIs can be passed to a partner even if you are not showing signs or symptoms. Some STIs, such as herpes simplex and genital warts, are passed by skin-to-skin contact. Condoms provide good protection, but don’t cover all areas. Barriers such as dental dams or female condoms provide more coverage over the genital and anal areas and may provide better protection. Learn more about how to practice safer sex.

Do you have to tell your partner you have an STI?

It is a good idea to tell your partner(s) you have an STI if you are having sex with them. It’s a chance to talk about safer sex, and telling your partner is a way to show that you care. It lets them think about how they want to protect themselves.

Not everyone tells their partner(s) when they have an STI. If you choose not to tell your sexual partner(s), make sure you are careful to take precautions to prevent passing the STI on. If you are concerned that you may have passed an STI to your partner, find out how to tell them to get tested in person or anonymously.

If you have HIV, under criminal law you could be charged for not telling your partner before any vaginal, anal or oral sex, or other activities with you that could expose them to HIV.

Your partner has an STI: What does this mean for you?

Your partner just told you that they have an STI. It’s normal to have a lot of questions, feelings and concerns about what this means for you. Some things you can do for yourself and your partner:

Get the facts about the STI, how it is passed and prevented. If you choose, you can continue to have sex with your partner and practice safer sex.
Depending on the type of STI your partner has, you may need to have testing and treatment. Find out more about getting tested.
It takes courage to bring up the topic of STIs. If you can, thank your partner for being honest with you even if you are upset by the news.
If you are not sure what to think, ask for time to get more information so that you come to your own decision about what you are okay with.
There are lots of ways to have safer sex and people living with STIs can continue to have an active sex life.

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