SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can affect anyone but according to the American Social Health Association half of the 19 million new cases that occur each year are among youth ages 15-24 years. That age group makes up the majority of the U.S. college population which is why STI education and prevention are so important among college students.

COLLEGE SEXUAL NETWORKS

A college or university community is comprised of a network of people who go to class together, attend social events together, live with or near each other, and sometimes have sex with each other. If students are engaging in sex with each other they have unknowingly created a sexual network. Sexual networks are groups of persons who are connected to one another sexually.

The number of persons in a sexual network, the number of high-risk persons in it, the percentage of monogamous relationships, the percentage of persons with multiple sex partners, and the number of “links” each has to others all determine how STIs can spread through a network. Sexual networks are distinct but often overlap with social networks. Sexual networks help explain why persons can have the same risk behavior and yet one may have a much greater risk of contracting or transmitting an STI.

The different ways persons select sexual partners affect how quickly STIs can spread. 

Exclusively monogamous persons are, by definition, not part of a sexual network. If both are STI-negative they remain so.

Serial monogamists are persons who go from relationship to relationship one at a time. If they have unprotected sex, they have a higher risk of STIs than exclusively monogamous persons. Earlier partners’ risk may affect later partners.

Concurrent relationships involve having more than one sexual partner in a given period and going back and forth between them. This increases the probability for STI transmission, because earlier partners can be infected by later partners. Further, they can serve as “nodes”, connecting all persons in a dense cluster, creating highly connected networks that facilitate STI transmission. Concurrent partners can connect each of their respective clusters and networks as well. Concurrency alone can fuel a STI epidemic even if the average number of partners is relatively low.

OVERVIEW OF SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS

It is important to remember that most sexually transmitted infections, whether bacterial or viral, DO NOT SHOW SYMPTOMS. That is why it is so important to get tested for STIs if you are sexually active and especially before engaging in sex with a new sex partner.

BACTERIAL INFECTIONS: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis can be cured by a round of antibiotics once detected. Early detection is key for these because, if left untreated, these infections can cause some serious, permanent damage.

PARASITIC INFECTIONS: Trichomoniasis can be cured by a round of antibiotics once detected. Early detection is key because, if left untreated, these infections can cause some serious, permanent damage.

VIRAL INFECTIONS: Herpes, Hepatitis, HPV, and HIV, once acquired, the symptoms can be suppressed with medication, but can never be cured.

STI PICTURES AND RESOURCE LINKS

Below are pictures of sexually transmitted infections with links to CDC factsheets on STI symptoms, transmissions, and treatment. If you feel you may have an STI you should contact your physician for a screening and avoid sexual contact until you are screened and have received results and/or treatment. If you reside in Greene County or Montgomery County in Ohio you can go to this web site’s local resource page and find information for STI screening locations.

STI IMAGE FACTSHEET
CHLAMYDIA
GONORRHEA
SYPHILIS
TRICHOMONIASIS
GENITAL HERPES
HPV
(HUMAN PAPILLOMA VIRUS OR GENITAL WARTS)
HEPATITIS B VIRUS NO IMAGE
HIV AND STI NO IMAGE

CONDOM FACTS AND FAQs

When used consistently and correctly latex and polyurethane condoms are highly effective at preventing the spread of HIV, most STIs, and unintended pregnancy. Check out the resources below for facts and answers to frequently asked questions about the use and effectiveness of male condoms.

CONDOM FACTSHEETS
FOR QUICK YES/NO ANSWERS TO COMMON FAQs—CONDOMOLOGY
FOR MORE DETAILED EXPLANATION ABOUT CONDOMS—CDC
MAKING INFORMED DECISIONS - BY TROJANTM

CHECK OUT THIS BRIEF CONDOM DEMONSTRATION VIDEO FOR A HOW TO


RESOURCES
CDC - SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES—CDC
AMERICAN SEXUAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION
I WANNA KNOW FOR TEENS
FACTS ABOUT CONTRACEPTIVES—BEDSIDER
STAY-TEEN
HEALTHLINE HIV
OHIO HIV/STD PREVENTION HOTLINE