The Low Down on Sexually Transmitted Infections

Allison Crawford, RN

These are some common misconceptions we hear during appointments:

I would know if I had an STI, right?

I’ve always used condoms so there’s no way I could be infected.

My partner would definitely tell me if they tested positive.

Sexually transmitted infections (STI) can be spread during sexual contact (vaginal, anal, oral sex) and infection rates are on the rise in Washington state. According to the latest report released by the Washington State Department of Health, “Chlamydia is the most commonly reported” and “the rates are highest in 20 to 24-year-old women”.

Let’s go through those common misconceptions:

  • You might not know if you have an STI – the majority of people infected have no signs or symptoms – the only way to truly know if you have an STI is to get tested. It’s important to talk openly with your healthcare provider about your sexual history and risk factors. Some symptoms might include: pain during urination or intercourse; abnormal vaginal discharge, discharge from penis, or vaginal bleeding; swollen lymph nodes of sores in the genital area. Some STIs are easy to treat and cure while others require more-complicated treatment to manage them.
  • Condoms do not protect against all STIs. While condoms are highly effective when used properly, no method is 100% foolproof. Condoms can protect against most STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea but don’t protect you from infections that can be spread from skin-to-skin contact such as herpes, genital warts and syphilis.
  • You should be tested after each new partner. Thinking or hoping your partner doesn’t have an STI is no protection – you need to know for sure. Many who have STIs don’t develop symptoms, but they can still infect others through sexual contact.

At 3W Medical, we are here to set the record straight by providing the latest evidence-based treatment information and make testing affordable and available to everyone who needs it. We know early detection and treatment can prevent future reproductive health problems, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pelvic pain and infertility. Our hope is that we can help men and women receive the testing they need in a confidential and safe setting at a minimal cost.


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