Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are infections generally acquired by sexual contact. You can get an STI by having unprotected sex with a partner who's infected.
But, you can't always tell if someone is infected, because many STIs cause no symptoms. In fact, many people have an STI without knowing it.
That's why you have to be vigilant about STI prevention. If you're sexually active, it is important to have only one partner, and to talk about your plans to remain exclusive with each other. Barrier methods of birth control, such as condoms, help reduce your risk of getting most STIs.
Aug. 17, 2016
- Gay, CL, et al. Prevention of sexually transmitted infections. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 31, 2016.
- Information for teens and young adults: Staying healthy and preventing STDs. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/life-stages-populations/stdfact-teens.htm. Accessed July 31, 2016.
- Sexual difficulties. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health. http://womenshealth.gov/aging/sexual-health/sexual-difficulties.html. Accessed July 26, 2016.
- Sexuality in later life. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/sexuality-later-life. Accessed July 26, 2016.
- Q&A — Penis enlargement. BMJ. 2005;330:280.
- Levine SB, et al. Facilitating parent-child communication about sexuality. Pediatrics in Review. 2011;32:129.
- Start the conversation. American Sexual Health Association. http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/parents/how-to-start-the-conversation/. Accessed July 9, 2016.