Safe Sex: Preventing the spread of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs or STDs) is important. To do so, reserving sexual activity to a committed relationship is the best option. Otherwise, make sure to have protected sex: How to Have Safe Sex.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs or STDs) can affect people of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life. Most can be cured, but some — like HIV, which at this time has no cure — can only be kept in check. If you think you may be at risk get tested and treated as soon as possible. STIs may not always produce symptoms. Untreated infections can be transmitted to partners and fetuses, lead to infertility and even death. Using safe sex practices, including condoms, can greatly prevent the spread of STIs.

Your local health department can test and treat you for bacterial infections such as chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea and refer to other health care providers for HIV treatment. Rapid HIV testing is now available in the clinic using a cheek swab, and the results are available in 20 minutes.

Call your local health department for more information.

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