STI’s: What You Need To Know

What if I have an STI?

It’s OK.It happens.It’s common.And you’ve come to the right place! We are here to provide you with the information that you need. In most cases, STIs are easier to treat than strep throat. And while there is no cure for the common cold, there IS a cure for gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. So there’s no shame in your game – we’ve got you covered.

To ease your mind, here is some information about the most common STIs and how they are treated.

Some Common STIs


Chlamydia is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted infection.

  • It’s spread through oral, anal and/orvaginal sex.
  • Most people do not have symptoms.
  • Sometimes there is an unusual discharge from the penis or vagina and/or a burning sensation while urinating.

    Chlamydia continued
  • Testing involves urine collection, as well as oral, vaginal, or anal swab. Infection isnot always found in urine, so we test these additional areas where infection may be present.
  • It’s treated with oral antibiotics.
  • Once treated, you can get chlamydia again if your sex partners are not tested and treated.


Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported sexually transmitted infection.

  • It is spread through oral, anal and/or vaginal sex.
  • It infects the reproductive tract and can also infect the mucous membranes of the mouth, throat, eyes, and rectum.
  • Most people do not have symptoms.
  • People with penises may experience painful urination, discharge, or no symptoms at all.
  • People with vaginas often mistake symptoms for a bladder or vaginal infection.
  • Oral and rectal infections are also typically asymptomatic. Rectal infections may include discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding or painful bowel movements. Oral infections may include a sore throat.
  • Testing involves urine collection, as well asan oral swab and an anal swab. Infection isnot always found in urine, so we test these additional areas where infection maybe present.
  • It may be treated with oral and/or injectable antibiotics.
  • Once treated, you can get gonorrhea again if your sex partners are not tested and treated.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a sexually transmitted infection that
weakens the immune system by destroying cells in the body that fight disease and infection. Currently, there is no cure for HIV; however, with treatment, HIV can be well controlled. With medication, someone living with HIV can have the same lifespan as someone without HIV. We also now know that when taking effective HIV treatment, someone living with HIV cannot transmit HIV through sex, even if condoms aren’t used (U=U Undetectable = Untransmittable). Contact us for free HIV testing.
  • HIV is most commonly spread through vaginal sex, anal sex, and sharing needles and syringes used to inject drugs.
  • Testing includes a 20-minute rapid antibody test or blood draw.
  • If test results indicate you do have HIV, the providers at CHIP will offer
    assistance and work with you to find the best treatment for you.


Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause serious health complications. There are four stages (primary, secondary, latent and tertiary) that syphilis will progress through if left untreated.

  • It’s spread through oral, anal, and vaginal sex. Syphilis can also be spread through skin-to-skin contact with a primary sore.
  • The primary stage has one symptom—a small, painless primary sore that many donot notice.
  • The secondary stage includes a skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever and/or hairloss. Not everyone experiencessecondary symptoms.
  • The latent stage does not have symptoms and the tertiary stage of syphilis is linked to severe medical problems including neurologic (brain and nerve) problems, eye problems and even blindness.
  • Syphilis is detected through a blood test. Treatment includes injection(s) of penicillin. The number of injections required to treat the infection (1 to 3) is determined by the stage you are in when you’re examined by your provider.


Hepatitis means “inflammation of the liver”. It can be caused by viruses (most commonly Hepatitis A, B, C) or other factors. If you test positive for hepatitis, we will connect you with a specialist who can manage your care.

  • Hepatitis A is spread through close personal contact with a person living with Hepatitis A or through contaminated food or drinks.
  • Hepatitis B is spread by exposure to the blood, semen, or other bodily fluids of someone who is living with Hepatitis B.
  • Hepatitis C passes from one person to another through contact with blood containing the virus by exposure to theblood of someone who is infected.
  • Symptoms for hepatitis A and B include fatigue, nausea, stomach pain and jaundice.
  • Hepatitis C initially may not cause symptoms. However, if symptoms occur, they are often a sign of advanced liver disease.
  • Getting the hepatitis A and B vaccines arethe best way to protect yourself against hepatitis A and B.
  • There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, but there is a cure.

Other Sexually Transmitted Infections

There are many infections that can be spread with intimate contact with others. Ask us about testing for other STIs like herpes or HPV. These tests can be done by blood and examination.

  • Herpes is extremely common and there is no cure; however, the infection can be managed through the use of medication.
  • HPV is also common. We can connect you to other medical providers that can assist you.

If you were treated for an STI, we recommend:

  • Wait to engage in any form of sexuntil 7 days after the day you start treatment.
  • If you have been treated for oral gonorrhea, also wait to kiss.

  • Tell anyone you’ve had sex with inthe past 2 to 3 months to consider being tested—and treated if necessary.
  • If you use sex toys, wash them thoroughly.

  • Because most types of sex that can transmit STIs can also transmit HIV, consider getting on PrEP ASAP. PrEP is significantly more effective in preventing HIV than condoms.