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For Teens: Get Checked for STIs

Remember: Any kind of sex puts you at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You may also hear them called sexually transmitted diseases. Look for signs of STIs on you and your partner. Get checked if you’re not sure. And if you do have an STI, get treated! Tell your partner so he or she can get checked, too.

Female doctor consulting with young girl.

Look for symptoms

Not all STIs have symptoms you can see. For example, chlamydia usually has no or only mild symptoms. But knowing common signs, such as irritation, feeling sore, and pain, will help. Pay attention to your body and your partner’s body. If either of you see or feel something that seems like a symptom, get checked.

Get checked

Getting checked is the only way to know for sure if you have an STI. You can get tested at a health clinic or healthcare provider’s office. Tests may include:

  • Physical exam

  • A sample (swab) of the penis, vagina, mouth, or rectum

  • Urine and blood tests, including an HIV test

  • A sample of tissue, cell, or saliva

  • A pelvic (vaginal) exam or rectal exam

Get treated

Many STIs can be cured or treated with medicine. Early treatment can help keep things from getting worse. Follow all your instructions for treatment. And remember to:

  • Not have sex for as long as you’re told. Otherwise, you could infect someone else. 

  • Take all your medicines. And don’t share medicines with your partner unless you’re told to.

  • Go back to your healthcare provider or clinic if your symptoms don’t go away (or if they come back).

  • Get treated for each STI you have.

Talk to your partner

If you have an STI, tell your partner so he or she can get checked. It may be embarrassing. But if you don’t talk about it, your partner could end up having serious health problems. He or she could also pass the disease back to you or on to others. If you’re not sure what to say, ask your healthcare provider or nurse.

Treatments to prevent an HIV infection are also available. Talk with your healthcare provider about prevention options if you are sexually active or have been diagnosed with an STI in the past.

Online Medical Reviewer: Barry Zingman MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2020
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