What are STIs?
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are passed through intimate contact. Some infections, such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and HIV occur through penis in vagina, anus or mouth sex but some, such as Herpes Simplex, HPV, Pubic Lice and Syphilis can also be transmitted through skin to skin contact.
STIs have also been referred to as STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) and VD (Venereal Disease). I refer to them as STIs because I am not referring to the disease state, but the infections themselves.
The lack of information outside of scare tactics increases our fear about getting one of these infections. The truth is, like most communicable pathogens, they are more common than we would like them to be.
Understanding the most common infections: Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Herpes Simplex 1 & 2 (HSV 1& 2), Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) will help us minimize transmission and allow us to enjoy sexual and sensual activity without guilt or fear.
Below are a few resources to help you further understand the real risks and ways to decrease transmission without stigmata.