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We offer accurate and confidential STI testing and treatment options

Our providers are experts in reproductive care. We can help you get the testing you need to protect your sexual health.

What Are STDs And How Are They Transmitted  | Planned Parenthood Video What Are STDs And How Are They Transmitted | Planned Parenthood Video

What are STIs?

STIs are infections that spread from one person to another, usually during vaginal, anal, and oral sex. These infections often don’t cause any symptoms. STIs are very common - 1 in 5 people in the U.S. will have an STI at some point in their lives. The good news is they are preventable, and most STIs are easy to treat.

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When it comes to your sexual health, you never have to feel alone. We’re here to provide you with the information, testing, treatment, and other resources you need to stay healthy and top of your sexual health. Make an appointment today to learn more. 

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Get the Facts about STI testing and treatment

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that’s easily cured with antibiotic medicine. It’s one of the most common STIs and often doesn’t have any symptoms.

Genital Warts

Genital warts are common and are caused by certain types of HPV. Genital warts are treatable and not dangerous.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a common bacterial infection that’s easily cured with antibiotic medicine. It’s sexually transmitted, and most people with gonorrhea don’t have symptoms.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is an infection that can cause liver disease. It can be spread through sex. You can protect yourself by getting the hepatitis B vaccine and by using condoms.

Herpes

Herpes is a common virus that causes sores on your genitals and/or mouth. Herpes can be annoying and painful, but it usually doesn’t lead to serious health problems.

HIV & AIDS

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. It damages your immune system, making it easier for you to get sick. HIV is spread during sex, but PrEP and condoms can help protect you.

HPV (Human Papillomavirus)

HPV stands for human papillomavirus. It’s the most common sexually transmitted infection. HPV is usually harmless and goes away by itself, but some types can lead to cancer or genital warts.

Syphilis

Syphilis is a common bacterial infection that’s spread through sex. Syphilis is easily cured with antibiotic medicine, but it can cause permanent damage if you don’t get treated.

Protect yourself and your partner, too.

Sexual health care is self care, and everyone deserves a healthy and enjoyable sex life. Getting comfortable talking with your partner(s) and and your health care provider about STIs is a key part of a healthy, empowered sex life.

Frequently Asked questions

When should I get tested? (How do I know something is not normal?)

If you’re having sexual contact with another person or multiple partners, you should be getting tested regularly for STIs. STI symptoms can be mild or come and go over time, but that doesn’t mean that it is gone. If you don’t have symptoms, but feel like something is off, it’s best to talk to a doctor or nurse.

Different STIs have different symptoms. Some symptoms may include: 

  • Sores or bumps on and around your genitals, thighs, or butt cheeks
  • Abnormal discharge from your vagina or penis
  • Burning when you pee and/or having to pee a lot
  • Itching, pain, irritation and/or swelling in your penis, vagina, vulva, or anus
  • Flu-like symptoms like fever, body aches, swollen glands, and feeling tired

Most of the time, STIs do not have any symptoms. These symptoms may also be caused by things that aren’t STIs, like yeast infections and UTIs. So getting tested is the only way to know for sure.

Where can I get tested?

You can get tested at your local Planned Parenthood health center, a doctor’s office, and health clinics. 

Depending on where you go, you might be able to get tested for free. If you’re worried about cost, Planned Parenthood of Illinois is dedicated to providing you with the services you need, whether you have health insurance or not. Call today to learn more.

How does testing work? What are ways people are tested for STIs?

STI testing can be quick and painless. There’s not a single test for all STIs. Your doctor can help you figure out which tests you need. STI testing may include:

  • A urine test — you pee into a cup.
  • A cheek swab — you rub the inside of your cheek with a soft swab to test for HIV.
  • A blood test — your nurse or doctor takes blood from your arm or a quick finger prick.
  • A physical exam — your nurse or doctor looks at your genital area to check for warts, sores, rashes, irritation, or discharge.
  • Testing your sores — your nurse or doctor takes a sample of fluid from any sores or blisters you have with a swab.
  • Using a swab to gently take discharge or cell samples from your penis, vagina, urethra, cervix, anus, or throat.  
How do I talk to my partner about testing?

It can feel awkward to bring up STI testing, but it’s important. Talking about getting tested shows you care about your partner, and it may even bring you closer.

The best time to talk about getting tested is BEFORE you start having sex (including oral sex). Getting tested with a new partner is super important and one of the best ways to prevent STIs.

If you tested positive for an STI, it’s really important to let your partner and any past partners know, so they can get tested, too. It’s no fun to tell the person you’re dating that you have an STI, but it’s the right thing to do, and helps keep everyone healthy. 

Check out these tips on how to start the conversation.

What should I do if I find out I have an STI?

If you test positive for an STI , the next step is to consider further testing and then get treatment as recommended by your doctor or nurse. You should also inform your partner(s), so they can also be evaluated and treated.

What happens when a STI is left untreated?

If you have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI or STD), you are not alone. STIs are very common, and all STIs are treatable. Many are completely curable. Even STIs that are not curable can be treated and the symptoms managed with medicines. It’s really important to get treated if you have an STI, because some STIs can cause serious health problems if left untreated.

Should I get tested?

Most of the time, STIs have no symptoms. Testing is the only way to know for sure if you have an STI. So if you’ve had any kind of sexual contact that can spread STIs — like vaginal, anal, or oral sex — talk with a doctor or nurse about getting tested.

Get Tested

We’re here to help you live your best life - including your best sex life - no matter what. Whether in person or online, we offer supportive and safe spaces for you to get the essential care you need.

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