What do I do if I have signs of an STI or am at risk for an STI

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If you have signs of an STI or think you are at risk for an STI, you should start treatment right away. Unfortunately, tests for STIs are not available in many places, may be expensive, and are not always accurate. The lack of low-cost, accurate testing for STIs is a major problem for women. It may lead to women taking medicines they do not need, cannot afford, and that cause side effects.

  • Treat the infection right away.
  • Do not wait until you are very ill. Treatment will protect you from more serious problems later on and will prevent the spread of STIs to others.
  • Get tested if testing is available. You could be infected with another STI and have no signs.
  • Help your partner get treated at the same time. If he does not get treated, he will infect you again if you have sex.
  • Practice safer sex. You may get another STI or HIV if you do not protect yourself.
  • Try to get tested for HIV. STIs and HIV infection often occur together.
  • Buy and take all the medicine as recommended. Even if your signs go away, you will not be cured until all the medicine has time to work. If the signs do not go away after taking the medicines, see a health worker. Pain or vaginal discharge could also be caused by another problem like cancer.

  • Burns, A. A., Niemann, S., Lovich, R., Maxwell, J., & Shapiro, K. (2014). Where women have no doctor: A health guide for women. Hesperian Foundation.
  • Audiopedia ID: en010507