Family PACT

What are the signs and symptoms of STIs?

Most people who have an STI don’t know they have it because there are no signs or symptoms. The only way to know for sure is to get tested. It’s a good idea to get tested if you have:

  • Pain or burning when you pee, or itching around the vagina, penis, or anus.
  • Pain when you have sex.
  • An unusual discharge or strange smell from the penis or vagina.
  • Sores, warts, blisters, swelling, or a rash on or around the penis, vagina, anus, or mouth.

How can STIs be prevented?

The best way to prevent STIs is not to have any kind of sex.

  • But if you do have sex, you should use a condom every time you have sex.

Latex or plastic (polyurethane) condoms are best. Condoms for women line the woman’s vagina. Condoms for men fit over the man’s penis. You can buy condoms in a drugstore or grocery store. Family PACT clients can also get them at no cost from a Family PACT provider or at a pharmacy with a prescription from their Family PACT provider. No other birth control method, except condoms, will protect you from STIs.

  • If you have any signs or symptoms of STIs, don't have sex. Don't touch the sores.

Some infections are spread by touch. Herpes and HPV infections that cause genital warts can be spread by genital skin-to-skin contact, even when there aren’t any signs of infection. If you or your partner has an outbreak of herpes or genital warts, don’t have any contact with the sores.

  • Have sex with only one person who only has sex with you.

Limit the number of sex partners you have. Having sex with more than one person puts you at risk for getting an STI. If you or your partner have sex with other people, use a condom to help keep from getting an STI.

  • Be close without sharing body fluids.

Hugging and touching are safer because no body fluids (semen, fluids from the vagina, or blood) are shared. Any kind of sex is more risky when body fluids are shared.

Note: The information provided on this website is for general information only. It is not intended to be taken as medical advice. Ask your Family PACT provider for the information that you need to make good healthy choices.