STIs: Sexually Transmitted Infections

Author: GOeBlogger

May 19, 2021

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be a touchy subject for some, but it's important to be informed so you can make choices to better protect yourself.

So what are they, and how do they work?
Sexually transmitted infections are infections that can be passed from one person to another through unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Some infections are passed through the exchange of body fluids (blood, genital fluids, anal fluid), intimate skin-to-skin contact, and some can be passed through a pregnant person to child during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding.

There are at least 20 different STIs, which can be caused by viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. Some of the most common STIs are: Chlamydia, Herpes Simplex Virus, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, and Syphilis, to name a few. Check out SmartSexResource to learn more about specific STIs.

The only way to know if you or your partner has an STI is to get tested. You may not notice any changes in your body when you have an STI, and sometimes the symptoms are easy to miss or they may last only a short time. Even when you don’t notice any symptoms, you can still pass an STI to a sexual partner. The only way to know for sure if you have an STI is to get tested or checked out by a healthcare provider.

If left untreated, some STIs can cause serious long-term health problems. If your results come back positive, your healthcare provider will discuss with you what kind of treatment you need. If you have an STI, it’s important to inform your sexual partners so they can get tested as well. Anyone you have had oral, anal, or vaginal sex with may have the same STI. They may unknowingly pass it on to another person, or it can develop into more serious health problems if left untreated. Here are some ideas for things you can say when disclosing positive results to partners.

You can practice safe sex by always using protection. Condoms and dental dams are the most commonly used protections. There are different types of protection available depending on the sexual activity:

  • External condoms (male condoms): Protection for vaginal, anal, or oral sex, but they don’t protect the skin around the genitals.
  • Internal condoms (female condoms): Covers more skin and provides more protection against STIs like herpes and genital warts.
  • Dental Dams: Used as barriers placed over the vulva or anus during oral sex.

If penetrative sex is not an option, here are a few ideas for alternative sexual experiences that you and your partner can enjoy!

If you are concerned about sexually transmitted infections or think you might have one, consider booking an appointment with one of our GOeVisit practitioners!




GOeBlogger is a health enthusiast and avid reader living and thriving in vibrant Vancouver. When she's not nerding out at her laptop, you can find her exploring the beautiful BC coastline with her dog.