Anyone who is sexually active is at risk for contracting a
sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Let’s look at some statistics provided by the CDC:
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that
are transmitted through sexual contact. You can contract an STI by penetrative
sexual intercourse (i.e., vaginal, oral, anal sex) or by making contact with
bodily fluids such as sperm, saliva, blood, and vaginal discharge. Some STIs
can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.
There are two main types of STIs: bacterial and viral. As
the name applies, bacterial STIs are caused by bacteria and viral STIs are
caused by viruses. Bacterial infections are often cured with antibiotics. Viral
infections have no cure, but symptoms caused by the infection can be alleviated
It is important to know that you could have an STI and be
asymptomatic. This means that you may not have any signs of symptoms. Even if
you do not have symptoms, you are still at risk of transmitting the infection
to your sex partner. That is why it is important to practice safer sex every
time you engage in sexual activity.
Below is a list of common STI symptoms. This list is not
exhaustive and should not replace consultation with your medical provider.
You should consult with a medical provider if you are
experiencing these symptoms. IUP students can make an appointment with IUP Health
Service. Please visit their website for more information.
Remember: You can
have a STI and be asymptomatic. Regular STI screenings can help detect an
infection if no symptoms are present.
Bacterial STIs are caused by bacteria and often cured with
Click on a specific STI below to learn more.
Viral STIs are caused by viruses. While they do not have a
cure, their symptoms can be alleviated with treatment. If you contract a viral
STI, there are ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce the risk of
transmitting the infection to your partner.
Click on a specific STI below to learn more.
The only way
to know if you or your partner has contracted an STI is to get tested.
If you are sexually active, it is best to receive regular STI
screenings. You should also get tested for an STI if:
There is no single test that can screen for all STIs. Below
are examples of STI test.
It's important to understand that
you may not receive results right away. Sometimes a diagnosis can be made
based on a visual exam, by symptoms provided by the patient, or after completing
a physical exam. In this case, treatment could be prescribed the same day.
Other times, your medical provider may need to send samples away to a lab for
further analysis. Waiting for lab results can be a stressful time. During this
time it is best to refrain from sexual activity, in order to reduce the risk of
transmitting a potential STI. If you choose to engage in sexual activity, it is
best to practice safer sex techniques (i.e., using a condom). You should always
follow up with your medical provider, even if “you’re feeling better.” It is
better to know if you have contracted an STI so that you can receive treatment
to cure or alleviate the infection. Don’t assume your results are negative if
you don’t hear from your medical provider. If you are concerned, simply call
your medial provider to get more information about your results.
IUP Health Service provides
STI tests to IUP students. For more information about these services, visit the
Health Service website.
IUP Health Service considers Adagio
Health and the IRMC OB-GYN Center
as partners in the provision of care to IUP students. These facilities offer
high-quality, cost-effective contraceptive services as well as STI screenings
at low or no cost for men or women. The Pennsylvania Department of Health
provides free HIV testing to students and community members. Contact IUP Health Service or Health
AWAREness for more information
about these services. IUP Health Service offers IUP students transportation to these locations
at no cost to the student.
Looking for a location outside of Indiana, Pa?
Use the information below, provided by ItsYourSexLife.
Finding a testing center near you is quick and
easy. Just enter your zip code in the testing center locator, or text your zip code to GYTNOW (498669) on your mobile phone.* You will get a
text message back with information about the nearest testing center to you.
Simple.*Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to 498669 to
opt out, or text HELP to 498669 to get help.
The cost of an STI test can vary by location
and which test you receive. Many health centers and clinics offer low-cost or
no-cost testing. Some locations even offer tests on a sliding scale. This means
your test is based on what you can afford to pay. If you have health insurance,
contact your provider to determine your anticipated out-of-pocket cost for a
sexual health exam. If you are uninsured or prefer not to use your health
insurance for a STI test, you can talk to your medical provider about payment
options. Be sure to ask about cost when you call to make your appointment.
Getting tested for an STI can potentially be a stressful
time full of various emotions. STI results will either be negative or positive.
If you test negative, realize that most results are highly
accurate. However, some infections (HIV, syphilis, and Hepatitis) may take up
to three months to show on a blood test. An initial negative result is great news,
but you may need to do a follow-up test to be sure you have not contracted an
infection. This is something your medical provider should discuss with you
during your appointment. If they don’t mention this, don’t be afraid to ask.
After a negative result, it is important to start or continue practicing safer sex
to reduce your risk of contracting an STI in the future.
If you test positive for an STI, the next stop
is to get treatment as recommended by your medical provider. It is important
that you inform your sex partner(s) so that he/she can get tested and receive
treatment if necessary. Early medical intervention will allow you and your
partner (if they are also infected) to take measures to maintain your health
and well-being. Bacterial STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can be treated
with antibiotics. Viral infections such as HIV and HPV can be managed to
decrease symptoms and reduce the risk of transmission. Remember, if you test
positive for an STI, you can make changes so that you can live longer,
healthier, and happier.
Sources: Love Is Respect, Planned Parenthood, Women's Health, CDC, MayoClinic
Disclaimer: This site is a resource for IUP students. It is not intended to replace
consultation with your medical providers. IUP Health Service staff members are available
to treat and give medical advice to IUP students. Visit the IUP Health Service website for more
For more information, visit our resource library.
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