Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), can affect the general health, well-being and reproductive capacity of those infected. Participation in sexual risk behaviours can increase your chances of acquiring an STI.
There are many types of STIs, including:
What Can You Do?
Following these suggestions may help you to protect yourself from contracting an STI:
The term STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) is now commonly used in the place of STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease). STI is more encompassing, including infections that may be asymptomatic. The term STI is used more frequently on this site but please note that the term STD may still be used in some links and earlier publications.
- Learn about safer sex methods;
- Make informed decisions and talk to your partner(s) about their STI status and the use of protection;
- Use condoms consistently and correctly;
- Get tested for STIs if you are sexually active; and
- And if you are diagnosed and treated for an STI, be sure to follow your health care provider's treatment and follow-up recommendations. You can easily be reinfected if your partner is not treated as well.
What's Being Done?
The Public Health Agency of Canada has established the Sexual Health and Sexually Transmitted Infections Section, which works with provinces, non-governmental organizations, and health care providers to improve and maintain the sexual health and well-being of Canadians by helping to prevent and control sexually transmitted infections and their complications.
This program provides national leadership and co-ordination to develop and support surveillance, targeted research studies, evidence-based national guidelines and policies, as well as determining best practices and prevention strategies.
What Resources are Available?
Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada offer many online resources to promote the prevention, care, treatment, and control of STI, including:
- Statistics on STIs in Canada;
- Canadian Guidelines on Sexually Transmitted Infections;
- Sexual health promotion and education materials;
- An online self-learning module for health care professionals and students to enhance knowledge and skills related to STI screening and diagnosis, management, treatment, and partner notification and prevention measures; and
- Information on condoms and condom use.
You can refer to the Sexual Health Info Centre for answers to frequently asked questions. Regional STI/HIV helpline numbers are also available if you want to speak to someone directly about your questions.
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