Despite the increase in information about sexually transmitted infections – otherwise known as STIs – there is still some confusion and misunderstanding about them. An STI is an infection that is passed through contact with semen or vaginal fluid. You may not be aware you carry an active infection. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are some of the most frequently diagnosed types of STIs among young people with multiple sexual partners. HIV is a disease, not just an infection. To learn more about HIV and other common STDS, as well as where to test for them in Massachusetts, read on.
HIV VS. OTHER STDs: SIMILARITIES
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. This virus attacks and affects your immune system, which means you are more susceptible to other infections. Technological and medical advances have provided treatment for HIV, but there is currently no cure. An important similarity between HIV and other STIs is that they are both transmitted through sexual activity. The risk increases for potential STI and HIV infection if you have multiple sexual partners and do not use condoms. If you do get infected with HIV, it is possible to transmit the virus to other sexual partners potentially for the rest of your life. Certain STIs, like syphilis, put you more at risk for an active HIV infection. If you have HIV, going without treatment can have serious and sometimes even deadly consequences. The impact of untreated Gonorrhea and chlamydia infections can also lead to concerns like infertility. If you test positive for any STD or HIV, seek treatment immediately.
HIV VS. OTHER STDs: DIFFERENCES
There is no known cure for HIV. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can be cured with proper treatment if addressed quickly. HIV and other STI’s are all most commonly spread through sexual contact, particularly exposure to vaginal or seminal fluids. Other common ways that HIV is transmitted is through shared needles and syringes, and contact with other bodily fluids like blood and breast milk. With HIV, you may experience symptoms like fever and muscle aches, whereas gonorrhea and chlamydia can often present with no symptoms at all. Since early treatment is very important, get tested right away if you suspect any exposure to HIV or other STI’s even if you have no symptoms.
TESTING FOR STDs IN MASSACHUSETTS
Clearway Clinic is a women’s health clinic with locations in central and Western Massachusetts. We offer free, confidential STD testing right in our office by a team of board-certified medical practitioners. If you test positive for gonorrhea or chlamydia, we can provide you and your partner with treatment. Our team can also refer you to additional free STI services. Book a free consultation for no-cost gonorrhea/ chlamydia testing or to learn more about additional resources.