What are STIs? How are STIs transmitted?
STIs are sexually transmitted infections that are most commonly passed from person to person during unprotected sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. They can also be transferred by non-sexual means, such as via blood or blood products, or – in some cases – from mother to child during pregnancy or labor.
In the past, you may have heard the terms “sexually transmitted disease” or “STD” when doctors are talking about sexual health. Experts now prefer to refer to these conditions as STIs, instead of STDs, because you can have an infection without any of the symptoms of a disease. In fact, many STIs go undiagnosed because of a lack of symptoms. In some cases, this can lead to more severe health issues, including infertility, blindness, cancer, and organ damage. That’s why regular testing is essential if you’re sexually active.