Specific STI & STD Guidelines

All strains of hepatitis (A,B, and C) can severely damage the liver, leading to cancer that can potentially be fatal. In some instances, hepatitis A can be spread through contaminated food or water, however, all forms of hepatitis can be spread as an STD or through needle sharing. Vaccinations for hepatitis A,B, and C are available to eliminate the chance of contracting the disease through contaminated food, sexual contact, or infected blood.

Not everyone tests positively for STDs like HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis A,B, or C, if they have recently been infected. Once infection occurs, it takes time for the body to build up antibodies to the infection to levels that can be detected in a blood test. Depending on the individual and their immune system, it may take several days or several weeks to identify if STD infection has occurred. If your STD test is negative but you still suspect that you’ve been exposed to the infection, it’s important to re-test several weeks later to allow your body time to develop antibodies to the infection, if present.

Gonorrhea and chlamydia are two of the most common STDs. These two STDs have very similar symptoms, however, in most cases symptoms are not always noticeable.While symptoms are similar, if they occur, these two STDs must be treated separately as they are caused by different bacteria.

Annual STD screening is recommended for the following:

• Those who are sexually active and are age 25 or younger

• Adults who have multiple sex partners or new sex partners

• Adults who have sex with a partner who has recently had other multiple sex partners

• Those who don’t use condoms when having sex with others who have had multiple sex partners

• Men who have sex with men

Testing for STDs, including hepatitis A,B, and C is important if:

• You have previously received positive test results for chlamydia or gonorrhea, as these diseases increase the risk of acquiring other STDs.

• You use or have used drug injections with shared needles

• You suspect you may have been exposed to an STD

• You are a man who has sex with men

• You consumed food or water possibly contaminated by fecal matter (most common in rural areas with no pluming, third-world countries, or after natural disasters).