Explanations for Frequently Asked Questions

What are STDs?

STD stands for Sexually Transmitted Disease. They are sometimes called   STIs (sexually transmitted infections).

An STD is passed by body fluids or genital contact during anal, oral and vaginal sex. 

What is HIV?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) - Is a virus can be transmitted by anal, oral, or vaginal sex with an infected person, as well as through breast milk, during childbirth and by coming into contact with the blood of an HIV positive person. Untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS, which compromises the immune system and puts the person at risk of illness and death. HIV cannot be transmitted by casual contact like hugging or sharing utensils.

  • In its early stages HIV has no symptoms. 
  • Once the illness has progressed, the first symptoms may include fever, rashes, and sores.  
  • In its final stage a person with AIDS may suffer from a variety of illness, including pneumonia and cancer.   
Get Tested: 
  • If you have had unprotected sex 
  • If you have injected drugs with needles or shared drug equipment (needles, works) with others. 
  • If you have a new sexual partner you should both get tested. A blood or urine test allows the doctor to determine if you have HIV.  
A positive test result means you are infected with HIV. It does not mean you have AIDS or will get sick soon.

A negative test result means no HIV antibodies were found in your body. But you could still be infected if you have been exposed to HIV in the last three months. Your body may not have made enough HIV antibodies to show up yet. Get tested again in three months. Medications, called anti-retrovirals, can prevent the virus from worsening and extend the lives of HIV positive people for decades.  

Start treatment as early as possible in order to stay healthy for as long as possible.   

There is NO cure for HIV. 
Viral STDs can be treated but CAN NOT be cured.        
Left untreated , STDs can damage your reproductive system and create other serious health risks.   

What is a PID?

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) 
Is an infection in the womb, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. PID affects WOMEN ONLY. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and other STDs left untreated can cause PID. 

Pain during intercourse  
Pain in lower abdomen  
Smelly vaginal discharge  
Irregular bleeding 
Some women have NO SYMPTOMS
The doctor will perform a vaginal exam, pap smear, or pelvic ultrasound. 
PID can be treated and cured with antibiotics. 

What is HPV?

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) 

Is a common viral STD that can be transmitted by anal, oral or vaginal sex with an infected person. The body can fight off some HPV types, but others cause illness. 
  • Genital warts a small bump, orr groups of bumps int he vaginal area. They cn be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. 
  • Some HPV types can cause normal cells in the body to turn abnormal, and might lead to cancer over time. 
  • Some people have no symptoms.

  • A pap smear allows the doctor to determine if you have abnormal cervical cells which might indicate HPV; an HPV test can determine if you have HPV. 
  • Genital Warts can be removed or treated with medicine. 
  • Abnormal Cervical Cells (found on a pap test) can usually be treated to prevent cervical cancer from developing. 
  • There is NO cure for HPV.  
ADDENDUM: Anal Pap Smear can be done in males.


Is a bacterial STD passed on by a syphilis sore through anal, oral or vaginal sex with an infected person. Syphilis has three stages: the primary, secondary, and the late and latent stage. 

  • The primary stage begins with a single sore (called a chancre) but there can also be multiple sores. If not treated at this stage  it will progress to the secondary stage. 
  • The secondary stage consists of skin rash and lesions that usually appear on the palm of the hands or bottom of feet. If not treated at this stage it will progress to the late or latent stage.  
  • The late or latent stage, also called the hidden stage, begins when primary and secondary symptoms disappear, but the disease is still present. Without treatment, syphilis can lead to blindness and death.      
  • A microscopic exam of a cnahcre sore o a blood test will be used. 

  • Treatment can include a single antibiotic injection for someone infected less than a year. Additional doses are needed for treatment of  someone infected longer than a year. 


Is a bacterial STD. Chlamydia can be transmitted by having anal, oral, or vaginal sex with an infected person.

  • Pain during intecourse (females)
  • Abdominal and lower back pain
  • Burning sensation during urination (males/females)
  • Abnormal discharge from vagina or penis 
  • People who are infected may have NO SYMPTOMS

urine or a specimen from the penis or cervix may be collected 

Chlamydia can be treated and cured with antibotics. 


is a bacterial STD that can infect the genital tract, mouth or anus. Gonorrhea can be transmitted by having anal, oral, or vaginal sex with an infected person.    
  • Pain when urinating (males/females) Pus-like discharge from penis or vagina
  • Anal irritation and painful bowel movements 
  • People who are infected may have NO SYMPTOMS

  • Urine sample, or sample from infected body parts (cervix, uretheral, rectum, or throat) may be collected.

  • Gonorrhea can be treated and cured with antibotics.

What is HERPES?

Is a viral infection caused by Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV1 or HSV2). Herpes can be transmitted through anal, oral, or vaginal sex with an infected person. Herpes can be transmitted between outbreaks and when there are no symptoms.  

  • Cold sores around the mouth 
  • Sores or blisters around the genitals, buttocks, or anal area  
  • Flu like symptoms, including fever and swollen glands 
  • Some people have NO symptoms 

A blood test helps to determine if someone is infected with Herpes.  

  • Antiviral medications can be shorten and prevent outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication.  
  • Treatment can lesson symptoms and decrease outbreaks, but you can still spread herpes under treatment. 
  • There is NO cure for Herpes. 

See your doctor or visit another health care facility to get tested. 

What are Teen’s Rights to Reproductive and Sexual Health Services?

Teen’s Rights to Reproductive and Sexual Health Services

What are my rights to birth control, HIV and STD testing, and privacy? Young people’s access to birth control, confidential visits with a healthcare provider, and HIV and STD testing vary from stat to state. Visit www.plannedparenthood.org to find your nearest or Planned Parenthood clinic. Or Google your state, county, and/or community name and “Health Department” to find a health department clinic. In some states a doctor may have the right to inform your parents of the services they have provided you. Find the law in your state by visiting www.sexetc.org/state. Clinics that receive a certain type of government funding are required by law to offer confidential services, including HIV and STD testing and prescriptions for birth control, to all young people. Over 4,600 clinics nationwide receive this type of funding. Planned Parenthood clinics and many state and local health departments, hospitals, community health centers, and independent clinics offered by these clinics include: • Pelvic exams and pap tests • Safer sex counseling • Prescriptions for birth control • Administering Depo-Provera (the shot) or inserting an IUD • Counseling about abortion and abortion services Many clinics offer free or reduced services, and you can pay in cash. If you pay for your bill by using your family’s health insurancehttp://www.plannedparenthood.org, the bill may be sent to your parents. Some steps to make sure your visit is private are: • Call the clinic or healthcare provider before you go to ask about its policies. • Tell the clinic staff how to contact you personally. • Ask about reduced pricing and pay in cash. Where Can I Get Help? Talk to your doctor or visit a clinic where they do STD screening or get info online: • Use the testing site locator www.hivtest.org (locates sites which test for HIV, STDs, or both) • Search for your city or county health department • Find your local Planned Parenthood (www.plannedparenthood.org) Visit www.amplifyyourvoice.org for more information about STDs and to get involved in youth activism around sexual and reproductive health and rights. Where can I get condoms You can get condoms for free at most clinics, but you can also purchase them at any drug store regardless of how old you are. Condoms cost between $5-20 per box. Make sure you check the expiration date on the box! The most common kind of condom is made out of latex, but if you or your partner is allergic to latex, you can also get condoms made out of polyurethane Lambskin condoms do not protect against STDs

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