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Education, Caracole Inc.
Education, Caracole Inc.






It is important to remember that different sexual activities carry different risks. Some diseases, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia are mainly spread through unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex, while others, such as herpes and HPV are spread through skin-to-skin contact. Sexual fluids (vaginal fluid and semen) transmit many STIs from person to person and generally require penetrative sexual activities (oral, vaginal or anal sex) for transmission to occur. Skin-to-skin transmission of some STIs does not require penetrative sex and can be spread through other sexual activity such as mutual masturbation or body contact.

Know your body

Regularly inspecting your sex organs, vagina, penis and anus, so that you will notice any changes promptly. If possible, get to know your partner’s body similarly, so you can alert them to any changes


Sexual health conversations can be awkward and uncomfortable, especially with someone you don’t know very well. But, having them is the responsible choice. Your partner(s) deserve your honesty—and you deserve it from them

Be screened regularly

You shouldn’t wait until you are experiencing symptoms of an STI to get tested, a full screen may include tests for HIV, hepatitis B & C, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Many people think these tests are being conducted at a yearly physical or whenever blood is drawn; this is not the case, to get such testing you need to specifically request this from you medical provider or visit an STI clinic. Make testing a part of your regular health maintenance routine. A sexually active person, even one in a relationship, should be screened every year (or more frequently if you have higher risk factors such as multiple sex partners, unprotected sex, or have had sexual contact with someone known to be HIV positive or have an STI), and screened again if symptoms of an STI are present. You and your partner can make a date out of it. Bring snacks, hold hands, it’s probably cheaper than a movie.

The connection between HIV and other STIs:

Acquiring another STI increases your risk of acquiring HIV, for two main reasons:
  • Many STIs compromise your skin and can create open sores or lesions. The skin is the body’s main defense mechanism against infection and having in-tact healthy skin creates a barrier that prevents transmission of HIV.

  • Most STIs provoke an immune response in the form of an influx of CD4/T-cells to the genitals. These are the cells that HIV needs to connect with in the human body to reproduce and infect the body.
Being HIV positive can increases your risk of acquiring a variety of infections including other STIs. HIV compromises the human immune system leaving a person more susceptible to infection and engaging in unprotected sex can lead to other STIs which could be harder for the body to respond to and treat.

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