Sexually Transmitted Diseases
In recent years sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have become more common in Rhode Island and nationally. In 2016, Rhode Island had its highest number of reported STDs in the past 10 years. Many STDs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can cause serious health problems. STDs can also increase the chances of getting HIV.
What you should do
Protect yourself and your partners from STDs
- Limit your number of sexual partners and/or consider abstaining from sex;
- Use condoms during sex. (The Department of Health distributes free condoms at many locations across the state);
- Use condoms correctly;
- Use of alcohol and drugs can increase your chances of engaging in risky sexual behavior. Avoid use of alcohol and drugs during sexual activity;
- Consider going on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection.
- Talk openly with your partner and health care provider about sexual health and STDs;
- Talk with your healthcare provider about your sex life, and ask what STD tests you should be getting and how often;
- If you're not sure how to talk to your partner, check out tips for starting the conversation.
Get an STD check-up
People who are sexually active should get checked for STDs at least once a year, even if they don't have any symptoms. There are many options for getting tested for STDs in Rhode Island, including:
Most STDs can be cured with antibiotics. Other STDs are not curable, but can be treated. To make sure your treatment works, don't share your medicine with anyone, and avoid having sex again until you and your sex partner(s) have each completed treatment. If you are diagnosed with an STD, it's important to tell your partners to get checked so that you don't get re-infected. Planned Parenthood offers some good tips for telling your partners.