SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also called sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are passed from person to person through sexual contact and often times do not show any symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are at a higher risk of getting STDs and account for 50% of the 20 million new cases in the U.S. per year.
If you’re going to be sexually active, to stay healthy it’s important to get tested and treated as soon as possible. If left untreated, STDs can cause serious, long-term health issues. Remember, abstinence is the only way to protect yourself 100% from getting an STD, or giving it to someone else. Talk to your partner about getting tested before having sex.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a type of STD that can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). It weakens a person’s immune system, making it harder to fight off infections and can lead to death if left untreated. Free HIV self-tests are now available to anyone 17 years or older through an online portal (together.takemehome.org).
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medication that can help prevent HIV and is recommended for people who are at a higher risk. Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a medication that can be taken soon after exposure to HIV (within 72 hours or 3 days) that lowers your chances of getting it. Access resources below to learn more about STD and HIV prevention, testing and treatment.
Check out this CDC Fact Sheet for teens on staying healthy and preventing STDs.
For more information about PrEP including who should take it and why, where to get it and what to expect during an appointment, visit Hillsborough.FloridaHealth.gov.
Find additional PrEP resources on our Programs Page.
Visit our Searchable Directory Page or the CDC’s Get Tested Page to find a testing site near you.