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Sexual Conditions Health Center

Exposure to Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Topic Overview

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Studies show:

  • Sexually active teens and young adults:
    • Ages 15 to 24 years old get almost half of all new STIs each year.
    • Have the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea.
    • Syphilis rates have increased the most in people ages 15 to 24.
  • About 1 out of 5 women and 1 out of 9 men get genital herpes, and it is more common in women than in men.
  • New HIV infections have increased in people ages 13 to 29.

It is important to seek treatment if you think you may have an STI or have been exposed to an STI. Most health departments, family planning clinics, and STI clinics provide confidential services for the diagnosis and treatment of STIs. Early treatment can cure a bacterial STI and prevent complications.

If you are a parent of a teenager, there are many resources available, such as your health professional or family planning clinics, to help you talk with your teen about safer sex, preventing STIs, and being evaluated and treated for STIs.

In women, STIs can cause a serious infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes (reproductive organscamera.gif) called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID may cause scar tissue that blocks the fallopian tubes, leading to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic abscess, or chronic pelvic pain.

STIs in pregnant women may cause problems such as:

Any child or vulnerable adult with symptoms of an STI needs to be evaluated by a health professional to determine the cause and to assess for possible sexual abuse.

If you have symptoms of an STI or have been exposed to an STI whether by oral, anal, or vaginal sexual activity, check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 16, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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