How do people get an STI?

STIs are passed from one person to another during sex. One person must already have the STI to give it to their partner(s). Even when people do not know they have an STI, they can still give it to their partner(s).

STIs can be passed by these body fluids:

  • Vaginal fluids
  • Anal/Butt fluids
  • Pre-ejaculate
  • Ejaculate/Semen
  • Blood

For someone to get an STI, one of these body fluids needs to enter one of these body parts:

  • Vagina
  • Anus/Butt
  • Penis (Urethra)
  • Mouth/Throat
  • Eyes
  • Deep cuts

REMEMBER: Body Fluid + Body Part = Get Tested!

Some STIs, like herpes and HPV, can cause sores or warts on the skin around the gentiles, making them easier to give to partner(s) through skin contact. Sometimes they can also be passed through skin contact when sores are not visible, although this is less likely. We’re not talking about ankle to ankle kinds of skin contact, but when the genitals touch.

STIs, like hepatitis and HIV, can also be passed between people who share needles used for injecting drugs, body piercings, or tattoos.

How can you protect yourself from getting an STI?

There are many ways to lower your chances of getting an STI. One of the best ways is to get tested for STIs so that you and your partner can make informed decisions together. You can also use one or more forms of protection, such as:

  • Abstaining from sex
  • Using safer sex supplies, like condoms, dental dams, and gloves
  • Choosing activities that carry a comfortable amount of risk for you
  • Getting vaccinated against Hepatitis A & B and HPV

  • Taking PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) to prevent HIV

REMEMBER: Talking to your partner about your options is awesome!