Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Most people have at least heard of the terms STDs and STIs. But often times people don’t truly understand the difference between an STD and an STI. Although the terms Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) and Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) are used interchangeably, they are by no means identical. An STI is an important and scientifically valid term because dangerous pathogenic organisms can be present in the human body without causing disease. STDs result from damage caused by an STI that has progressed. Although all STDs are preceded by STIs, not all STIs result in the development of STDs.
The United States has an epidemic of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Over 70 million Americans currently have an STI. 19 million new cases occur each year. Over 60% of these are in people under 25.vi
Often times people have an STI and don’t have any symptoms but the infection can still be passed.
In women, complications from infection include pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), tubal pregnancy, infertility and cervical cancer. In pregnant women, STIs can lead to miscarriage, stillbirths, preterm delivery and birth defects… Some STIs, such as HIV, can be life threatening.
What About Oral Sex?
Oral sex is the contact of one person’s mouth or tongue with the genitals of another person.
Oral sex, like other methods of sex, carries with it the risk of serious, untreatable and even life-threatening diseases in both men and women. Oral sex has been found to spread syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV (causes AIDS), HPV, genital herpes, chlamydia and possibly hepatitis C.iii iv v
Facts about STIs
The media rarely informs the general public about the true risks related to sexual activity and Sexually Transmitted Infections. Here are some facts:
- STIs can be bacteria, virus or other organisms that are transmitted through genital or sexual contact with someone who has the disease/infection.
- STIs can be passed on in two ways.
- – Skin to Skin Contact in the genital area
- – Contact with infected body fluids (Blood, Semen, Vaginal Fluid or Breast milk)
- STIs are one of the most common types of infections in the US today and teens are at greater risk of getting them.
- 1 in 4 sexually active teens has an STI.
- You can get an STI the first time you have sex.
- Many STIs have no cure while others may be treated through medication.
- Most people infected with an STI don’t know they are infected.
- You can get an STI from someone who does not know he/she is infected.
- You can’t tell who has an STI by looking at them.
- Although condoms are known to reduce the risk of acquiring certain STIs, choosing not to engage in at risk sexual activity is the best method of protection.
- Discharge from the penis or vagina
- Rashes and sores on skin
- Painful urination
- Blisters, sores, and itching on or around the genitals
- Damage to internal organs
- Fever and headaches
- Abdominal pain
- Strong odor
- Permanent damage from STIs include: chronic pelvic pain, infertility, cervical cancer, major body organ damage.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms it is very important to get tested for a SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTION. Make an appointment today with our Licensed Medical Professional. The Women’s Clinic of Atlanta does provide STI testing, screening, and treatment.
Consider the following evidence based information. There are multiple types of STIs.
Bacterial: Can be cured, but any damage done is irreversible
Viral: Can be treated, but NOT cured
Of the 30+ existing STIs, each one spreads differently, for example:
|Bacterial||How It’s Spread|
|Chlamydiavii||Body Fluid Contact|
|Gonorrheaviii||Body Fluid Contact|
|Syphilisix||Body Fluid and Skin to Skin Contact|
|Trichomoniasas (parasite)x||Body Fluid and Skin to Skin Contact|
|Viral||How It’s Spread|
|HIV/AIDSxi||Body Fluid Contact|
|Genital Herpes (HSV)xii||Skin to Skin Contact|
|Human papilloma Virus (HPV)xiii||Body Fluid and Skin to Skin Contact|
|Hepatitis B (HBV) & Hepatitis C (HCV)xiv||Body Fluid Contact|
Body fluids that can transmit STIs are: Blood, Semen, Vaginal Fluid and Breast Milk
Know the facts about condoms:
Will condoms protect you from all the STIs?
Here are the results from the largest study ever conducted on condoms by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- There is no clinical proof that condoms are effective in reducing the risk of infection from Chlamydia, Genital Herpes, HPV, Syphilis, Trichomoniasas and many other sexually transmitted diseases. Some protection was found for men against gonorrhea infection, but not for women.
- Condoms were found to reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission during vaginal sex by 85% when used consistently (every time a person has sex, without exception) and “correctly.”
- Using condoms 100% of the time still leaves a 15% relative risk of HIV infection compared to not using condoms at all. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, a routinely fatal disease.
- Condoms do not provide complete protection from any STI or pregnancy. STI infection can occur in both males and females whether or not a condom is used.
i Mosher, W., et al., Advance data from Vital and Health Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, Number 362, September 15, 2005 p.21-22
ii Remez L, “oral Sex Among Adolescents: Is It Sex or Is It Abstinence?” Family Planning Perspectives 32(6) November/December 2000
iii Edwards, S., Carne, C., Oral Sex and the transmission of viral STI’s, Sexually Transmitted Infections, 1998, 74 (1)6-10
vi Weinstock H, et al. Sexually Transmitted diseases among American youth: incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 2004;36 (1):6-10
vii viii ix x xi xii xiii xiv www.cdc.gov/std/
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