There are now more than 25 STI's (Sexually Transmitted Infections), several of which are chronic, lifelong infections. In the United States, it is estimated that there are 20 million new infections each year - over half of these occurring in young people ages 15-24. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control), estimates that there are more than 110 million total sexually transmitted infections among men and women across the nation.
An STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) is an infection that is passed from one person to another during sexual activity – this includes oral, anal and vaginal sex. It is important to remember that not all infected people will have signs or symptoms. In fact, 85% of people infected with an STI do not have any symptoms. Sexually transmitted infections can be passed to your partner without your knowledge. You do not have to be symptomatic to be contagious; you can spread the disease at any time during any kind of sexual activity.
Condoms are not as effective as most think at preventing the spread of STI's. Some STI's, such as HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) , genital herpes, and syphilis can be spread simply through genital, skin-to-skin contact. Using a condom during sex can sometimes reduce the risk of transmitting or contracting certain STI"s, but using a condom never eliminates the risk entirely. Abstinence or a monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is the only thing that can provide 100% complete protection.
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