STI Awareness Month

Posted April 29, 2014 by

By: Cassandra Sheppard, Hepatitis C Outreach Coordinator

April is STI Awareness Month. Here are some facts about STIs that you may not have already known.

  • Some people develop symptoms of Syphilis while others do not. The only way to know is to get tested.
  • Syphilis makes you more likely to transmit HIV
  • Syphilis can be very dangerous if left untreated
  • You can live with HIV for years without knowing it, or even feeling sick
  • HIV is not curable, but if a person is HIV positive and knows their status they can get on medications and live a fairly long healthy life
  • The main ways HIV can get passed between people are by unprotected sex (anal and vaginal), unprotected oral sex, sharing needles, ink (for tattoos), piercing equipment, to a fetus during pregnancy (if mother is unaware of her status or not on HIV medication) and through breast milk
  • Giving and getting oral sex without protection can put you at risk for STIs like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Herpes, HPV, HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis A and B
  • Testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea can now be done with a urine sample
  • Chlamydia may or may not have any symptoms, and can cause serious problems if left untreated. If you have had intercourse get tested to avoid further complications
  • Herpes can sometimes be mistaken for razor burn, jock itch or other skin irritations. The best way to know is to make an appointment to have it swabbed 
  • Herpes can be passed from person to person even without an outbreak
  • HPV can cause cervical, anal and/or throat cancer if left untreated. To help avoid this have anal and vaginal pap smears as often as possible if you are having anal and/or vaginal sex, and have your throat swabbed if you are having unprotected oral sex
  • Dental dams can be used for safer vaginal and anal oral sex. These are available at ARCH


It's always best to get tested on a regualr basis if you are sexually active. If you would like to get tested you can call Public Health at 1-800-265-7293 ext 4134 to make an appointment. Do it today in honour of STI Awareness Month!