- How do I know if my partner or I have HIV or an STD?
- What happens when I get STD testing?
- If my partner is on the pill, can I still get HIV or an STD?
- Can I get an STD more than once?
- Is there anything I can do after sex to prevent getting HIV or an STD, like washing or urinating?
- How long do I need to have HIV or an STD before it shows up on test?
- Can I keep from getting HIV or an STD if I put a condom on right before coming, or as long as I pull out before I come?
- If I have HIV or an STD, do I have to tell my partner(s)?
- Can I get HIV or an STD if my partner has her period?
- Is there a shot (vaccine) for men for genital warts?
How do I know if my partner or I have HIV or an STD?
Many STDs don’t have symptoms women or men can see or feel. The only way to know for sure if you have HIV or an STD is to get tested regularly.
Still, it is important to learn what is normal for your body or your partner’s body. Get things checked out when something changes, like a new or unusual discharge (yellow or white fluid) coming out of your penis.
Things that may not be normal in men include:
- Discharge from your penis or anus
- Pain when you have sex or urinate
- Bumps or sores around your penis, anus, or mouth
- Pain in your testicles
- Rashes on your body
Other things that may not be normal in women include:
- Unusual bleeding that is different from her period
- Pain when she has sex or when she urinates
- Bumps or sores around her vagina, anus, or mouth
- Fever and pain in her belly
- Rashes on her body
What happens when I get STD testing?
Depending on which STD you’re being tested for and what place on your body might be infected, you might be asked to urinate in a cup (that urine sample could be tested for gonorrhea, chlamydia, or trichomonas), or to give a sample of your blood (that blood could be tested for HIV infection, herpes, or syphilis). In some cases your health care provider may swab your throat, mouth, tip of your penis, anus, or a rash/sore. But the majority of screenings done generally require only a urine or blood sample.
If my partner is on the pill, can I still get HIV or an STD?
Yes. Birth control pills, and other birth control methods like the shot (DepoProvera), the patch (OrthoEvra), and the ring (Nuvaring) are hormones designed to prevent pregnancy. These hormones don’t protect against HIV and STDs. Men should still use condoms to protect themselves (and their partners) against infections even if their female partners are on birth control. STDs are transmitted through body fluids like semen and vaginal fluids, or in some cases, just by having skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.
Can I get an STD more than once?
Yes. Bacterial STDs like chamydia and gonorrhea are curable, but you do not become immune once you have been through treatment. Generally, if you cure an STD, and then have sex with a partner who is infected, you can get it again.
Is there anything I can do after sex to prevent getting HIV or an STD, like washing or urinating?
No.HIV and STDs can not be flushed or washed away, so urinating and washing will not prevent becoming infected if you have been exposed.
How long do I need to have HIV or an STD before it shows up on test?
It depends. Some STDs, like gonorrhea or Chlamydia, may take just a few days to show up on a test. HIV and other STDs, like syphilis or herpes, may take a few weeks to several months to show up on a test. This is why it is important to get regular testing for STDs. Talk to a doctor or nurse about how often you should get tested.
Can I keep from getting HIV or an STD if I put a condom on right before coming, or as long as I pull out before I come?
No. Any direct contact between your skin and your partner’s skin, or between you and your partner’s body fluids (blood, semen, pre-cum, vaginal fluids) might result in acquiring HIV or an STD. So even if you only wear a condom right before coming, you might still be exposed to HIV or a STD.
If I have HIV or an STD, do I have to tell my partner(s)?
While there is no current law in Rhode Island that says that you have to tell your partner(s) if you have a STD or HIV, not telling your partner(s) that they have been exposed to HIV or a STD could cause immediate or future health problems for them and any other sex partners they may have. If your partner is pregnant, it could also cause harm to the unborn fetus. You could also get the reinfected if you have sex with a partner who has not been treated.
If you have HIV and want help from the Rhode Island Department of Health telling your partners, contact Zoanne Parillo at 401-222-2577.
If you have syphilis or gonorrhea and want help from the Rhode Island Department of Health telling your partners, contact Mike Gosciminski at 401-222-2577.
Is there a shot (vaccine) for men for genital warts?
In October of 2009, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Gardasil for the prevention of two types of HPV (Human papillomavirus) in males (as well as females), aged 9 to 26. This vaccine can help prevent genital warts. Talk to your doctor to get more information about the vaccine.