An STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) is an infection that does not show any physical signs or symptoms. It is contracted from another infected person through sexual activity. An STI is typically termed an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) when symptoms appear. It's important to remember that not all infected people will have signs or symptoms. The problem is that some of these STIs can cause a lot of damage and can be passed to your partner without your knowledge. You do not have to have symptoms to be contagious; you can spread the disease at any time.
There are two types of STIs. The bacterial type can be cured with antibiotics if caught in time. However, if left untreated, a bacterial STI can permanently damage the reproductive system, particularly in the woman. The viral type cannot be cured, but it can be managed with proper treatment. Again, if left untreated, a viral STI can permanently damage the reproductive system, especially in women. Some infections, while easily treatable themselves, increase the risk of contracting other, more serious STIs, such as HIV.
There are now more than a dozen STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), several of which are chronic, life-long infections. In the United States, it is estimated that there are 20 million new infections each year, with over half of these occurring in young people ages 15-24.
If you are infected with certain STDs when you have an abortion, your reproductive health could be negatively impacted for a lifetime due to complications such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and infertility.
STD testing is routinely performed during your initial OB visit. Some sexually transmitted diseases can be treated and cured during pregnancy. Other infections are chronic, but your healthcare provider can develop a plan to manage these infections during pregnancy. It is important to be honest with your healthcare provider in order to receive the care you need and to protect the health of your baby.