If you are sexually active, getting testing regularly for STIs and HIV is a good idea, whether or not you have symptoms.

Regular testing helps identify Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) early so you can avoid symptoms, prevent complications, and prevent spreading STIs to your partners.

If you get an STI, you are more likely to get HIV than someone who is STI-free. HIV can be transmitted by blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk.

Some behaviors can put you at greater risk for STIs:

  • Having anal, vaginal, or oral sex without a condom
  • Having receptive anal sex (bottoming)
  • Having multiple sex partners
  • Having sex partners you don’t know well
  • Having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

To lower your risk of getting an STI, you can

  • Always use a barrier for anal, vaginal, or oral sex, like a condom or dental dam
  • Have fewer sex partners
  • Avoid having sex partners you don’t know well
  • Avoid having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • If you think you have had sex or shared a needle with someone with HIV within the past 72 hours, talk to your doctor about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which can prevent you from contracting HIV
  • Take PrEP, which can lower your risk of contracting HIV (but does not prevent other STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea)

Partner Notification Service (PNS): if you test positive, clinical staff might ask to interview you about recent partners, sexual encounters, etc. in case partners need to be (anonymously) notified, to track case clusters, etc.

If you want to get on PrEP, contact the Miriam Hospital Immunology Center or Open Door Health.