Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections or STIs, are very common. Millions of new infections occur every year in the United States.

About STDs

STDs are passed from one person to another through sexual activity including vaginal, oral, and anal sex. They can also be passed from one person to another through intimate physical contact.

STDs don’t always cause symptoms or may only cause mild symptoms, so it is possible to have an infection and not know it. That is why it is important to get tested if you are sexually active. STDs can be treated with medicine and some can be cured entirely. STDs are preventable. If you have sex, know how to protect yourself and your sexual partner from STDs.

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Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases
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Reduce your risk of contracting an STD

1. Practice abstinence

The best way to avoid contracting HIV or an STD is to not engage in sexual activity (vaginal, oral or anal sex).

2. Limit the number of sexual partners

When in a relationship agree to have sex only with your partner who also agrees to have sex only with you AND both partners get tested for HIV and STDs.

3. Get tested

It’s important to know that many STDs don’t have symptoms and can lead to health problems, so talk with your health care provider or local public health department to schedule an appointment.

4. Use protection

Use a condom each and every time you engage in sexual activity (vaginal, oral or anal sex).

5. Expedited partner therapy

Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) is the treatment of sex partners of patients diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea by providing prescriptions or medications to the patient to take to his/her partner without a health care provider examining the partner(s). EPT is legal in Idaho. If you are diagnosed with a chlamydia or gonorrhea, ask your doctor if EPT is right for the treatment of your sex partners.

6. Get vaccinated

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STD that can be prevented by a vaccine. HPV is extremely common and there are many different types, many of which can cause health problems including genital warts and cancers.

7. Avoid alcohol and recreational drug use

Alcohol and drug use reduces your ability to make good decisions when it comes to engaging in sexual activity. It also increases your risk of contracting an STD, having an unwanted pregnancy, or being coerced into having sex when you did not want to.

Additional resources

These Guidelines are for the treatment of persons who have or are at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
These recommendations are for the screening of persons who have or are at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Learn more about sexual health information and sex and intimacy during COVID-19.
Idaho HIV, STD, and Hepatitis Programs