STI Knowlege and Prevention
- Get routine check-ups, even when feeling well. Consider vaccination with Gardasil (the vaccine that protects against four strains of HPV that are most likely to cause problems)
- If sexually active, limit your sexual partners and use latex condoms and dental dams
- Avoid sex when under the influence of alcohol and other drugs, which impair your judgement and increase your risk of getting an infection
- Talk to your partner(s) about sexually transmitted infections- if they have an infection, then you should be checked, even if you are not having any symptoms
- Know the difference between normal and abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina
- Consider abstinence from sexual activity, which is the only guaranteed way to prevent STI’s
- Don’t get caught up in the false sense of security that “serial monogamy” presents. Monogamy is a wonderful concept, but unprotected sex puts you at risk. Relationships end and new ones develop. Even if you are consistently faithful to your partner, as you go from one relationship to the next you make yourself vulnerable to infection through all their prior partners, and their partners’ partners….and so on. Protect one another!
Call 848-932-7402 for a confidential STI screening, or click here to schedule online.
Not all STIs are tested for in the same way and there is not one test for all STIs. Here are the common STIs and how to get tested:
- Chlamydia and Gonorrhea: For men, testing is done by urine sample. For Men who hav sex with men, a swab may be used to obtain a sample from the rectal area. For women, a swab is used to obtain a culture from the cervix, or a urine sample may be used instead.
- HIV: There are two options for HIV testing- a traditional blood test, or a finger stick rapid test. Both of these tests are confidential, but not anonymous, and are available at all Rutgers Health Centers. You can make an appointment for HIV testing via a blood test or come to a monthly rapid-venue finger stick HIV testing clinic. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick also offers free, anonymous testing (732-235-7114). For more information, click here
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV): In women, HPV can cause changes on the cervix, which show up on the pap smear. A pap smear is not done until age 21. When a pap smear is normal, usually an HPV test is not needed. HPV can also cause genital warts in both men and women. These are visible bumps in the genital or anal regions, which are diagnosed during an examination. There is no screening test for men. For more information, click here
- Herpes Simplex Virus: Most people are diagnosed with HSV the first time they have an active outbreak. This means the presence of small, fluid-filled bumps that are painful and/or itchy in the genital area, anal area, or on or around the lips and mouth. A woman may also have lesions in the vaginal canal or on the cervix. When suspected, the diagnosis can be confirmed by wiping these bumps with a cotten swab and sending it for a culture.
- Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C: Routine screening is not necessary. When indicated, a blood test can be done.