Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) pose a risk to the health of service members, and their readiness to deploy and complete their mission. Everyone in the DOD community should be aware of the risks of STIs and how to prevent them.
- STIs can happen to you if you aren’t careful. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates as many as 1-in-5 Americans have an STI.
- These trends hold for service members. A 2021 study found increasing rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis amongst service members, 3 of the 5 most common STIs.
- STIs can cause serious illness, especially when untreated.
- STI symptoms can include pelvic, vaginal, or penile pain, inflammation, discharge or odors. Others may present as rashes, painful or painless sores, or warts.
- STIs can lead to long term effects. These include pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pain, neurological problems, certain types of cancer, organ failure, increased risk of HIV, and potentially death.
- Untreated STIs can also cause infertility and be dangerous to pregnant mothers and babies.
- What are the most effective prevention strategies?
- Use a condom correctly every time when engaging in oral, vaginal, or anal sexual activity.
- Reduce the number of sexual partners. Also reduce the number of high-risk partners, situations, and sex acts.
- Be in a mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.
- Talk to a medical provider about getting tested every three to six months.
- Get the human papillomavirus (HPV) and Hepatitis B vaccines.
- Getting the HPV vaccine lowers your risk of contracting HPV, which cause genital warts and certain types of cancer.
- The Hepatitis B vaccine is a three-dose series, usually started at birth. You can get your child vaccinated to prevent serious long-term health issues, like cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Additional Resources for STI Prevention
Follow these tips for a Summer safe from STIs!