Keeping it Simple: STIs

So my friend and I were, you know, checkin’ out some tide pools the other day, and of course STIs came up (this is actually totally normal in the life of a sex ed teacher and TeenSource bloggersmiley). Anyways, she’s a super smart girl, been through sex ed a few times, and knew what was up when it came to birth control… so it was kinda surprising to hear her ask me “So… what are the STIs that I could get, you know, if I start hooking up with someone new?”

I forgot how easy it is for us to just get so overloaded with scary photos and endless lists of symptoms, and forget the big picture…

aka The Sneaky Six   

I remember the main STIs this way:

3 Start With H – Herpes, HPV, and HIV

These are Viral (don’t go away) and Treatable (you can take medicines to help with the symptoms)

3 Don’t – Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis

These are Bacterial (they will go away) and Curable (you can take antibiotics and they’ll disappear)

The 3 That Start With H are a little scarier, because they sound like they’ll be with you for life. Really, HPV often does disappear, and herpes can be treated really well. HIV is a big deal, though researchers are making tons of medical advances in treatment, and lots of HIV positive people are living pretty normal lives.

The 3 That Don't can be super serious if you don’t get tested and treated. The tests are no big deal – just pee in a cup or get a little blood drawn. Seriously – a couple doses of antibiotics can prevent infertility, insanity, etc… Worth it to just go in to the local teen clinic and get it done.

The Sneaky Six – easy to remember, worth getting tested. Keep it simple.