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Obstetrics Gynecology Conditions & Treatments - row of books

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’S)

Aside from colds and flu, sexually transmitted infections are the most common contagious diseases in the United States. Sexually transmitted infections are transmitted via bacteria, parasites or viruses that come into contact with skin or body fluids. If left untreated, some sexually transmitted infections may lead to major health problems, some of which may be life-threatening.

If you believe you may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection, you (and your sexual partner or partners) should seek immediate medical attention.

Sexually transmitted infections include:

  • gonorrhea
  • chlamydia
  • syphilis
  • genital herpes
  • human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • trichomonas
  • hepatitis B and C

How do I know if I have a sexually transmitted infection?

Not all sexually transmitted diseases result in obvious symptoms. However, sexually transmitted infection symptoms may include:

  • vaginal discharge, burning, or itching
  • painful or frequent urination
  • pelvic or abdominal pain
  • redness or swelling of the vulva (vaginal opening)
  • genital warts
  • jaundice (a yellow color in the skin or the eyes)
  • bleeding between periods
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • swollen or enlarged lymph nodes

To determine if you have contracted a sexually transmitted infection or if your sexual behavior places you at risk, Dr. Garofalo may conduct one or more of the following:

  • a review of your medical history, including sexual habits
  • a pelvic exam
  • blood tests
  • taking tissue samples

How are STIs treated?

Some sexually transmitted infections are transmitted via bacteria or parasites. These conditions, which include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and trichomonas, can be treated with antibiotics. Since these conditions may continue after symptoms disappear, it is important to take all of your medicine. Your partner should also be treated. Sexual contact should be avoided during treatment.

Other sexually transmitted diseases, such as genital herpes, HPV, HIV, and hepatitis B and C, are caused by viruses. Although they cannot be cured, their symptoms can be treated.

How are STDs & STIs prevented?

The spread of sexually transmitted diseases can be limited by using a latex condom during any kind of sexual contact and by avoiding sexual behavior that can tear or break the skin.

DETAILED PATIENT EDUCATION – Gonorrhea and Chlamydia