Sexually Transmitted Infections
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STI and HIV Testing
Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are both available at Health Services.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)
STIs are a group of infections spread usually through sexual activity. However, they are not limited to sexual intercourse since some can be spread by touching or exposure to body fluids. The most common STIs on college campuses are Chlamydia, genital warts (HPV) and genital herpes (HSV).
Anyone who is sexually active can get or transmit an STI. It is not who you are that makes you vulnerable to STI - it's what you do. Some STIs, including HPV and HSV and can be spread by touching - either genital to genital or hand to genital. Others, including HIV, pelvic inflammatory disease, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea, are transmitted through contact with an infected person's body fluids.
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Sores, bumps, rashes, or blisters in the genital or anal areas
- Abnormal discharge from the vagina or penis
- Itching, pain or discharge from the anal area
- Redness or swelling in the genitals
How are STI's diagnosed?
Most STIs are diagnosed through an exam by your clinician, a culture of the secretions from your vagina or penis (urine test) or though a blood test. In order to provide you with a comprehensive screening for STIs, a Health Services medical provider will meet with you to discuss your concerns and risks.
For many of the infections, the incubation period (the time from when you are exposed to when you see symptoms or tests may show positive results) may be several days to two weeks. If you had a recent exposure that you are concerned about, we'd advise you to call or meet with your clinician, particularly if you are interested in obtaining emergency contraception (Morning after pill). You may be asked to return at a later time for additional tests.
If you are diagnosed with a STI, it is important to receive treatment and take as directed. Some STIs can cause long-term health issues if left untreated, especially for women.
You can lower your risk in the following ways:
- Limit the number of partners. Form a monogamous relationship in which you and your partner make an agreement to be faithful sexually and stick to it. Avoid sexual contact (penetrative or touching without penetration) until you are reasonably sure—through testing and examination—that you and your partner are free of STIs. Be aware that there are limitations on the value of testing. Latent bacteria and viruses can be present without visual evidence or even positive testing.
- Practice safe sex. Use condoms made of latex or polyurethane (not "skins"). While condoms do not provide 100% protection, they do provide the best protection now available.
- Have regular medical checkups and STI testing, especially if you have changed partners or have more than one partner. Do not wait for symptoms to appear. A large percentage of people who have an STI are unaware of any symptoms.
- Do not use alcohol or other drugs in potentially intimate situations. Drugs inhibit your ability to make decisions.
- Learn the common symptoms of STI's (for those that have symptoms) and see your primary care clinician if symptoms develop or if your partner suspects he or she has had contact with an STI.
What you need to know
The HIV antibody test looks for the antibody that forms in response to HIV. The antibody can be detected in most people within six weeks to six months from the time of infection. The window period is the interval of time between HIV infection and the development of HIV antibodies in the blood. If you are tested during the window period you may choose to have a repeat HIV test six weeks to six months after your last possible exposure to HIV to assure a reliable test result.