People catch infections – like colds or flus – all the time. These are usually caught through casual contact with friends, family members, or people at work. Infections transmitted through sexual contact are called ‘sexually transmitted infections,’ or STIs.
Sexually transmitted infections used to be called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The name has changed because diseases always have symptoms (changes to your body that you will notice), whereas infections do not need to have symptoms — and STIs often don’t cause symptoms.
The truth is, anyone can get an STI, and 15 to 24 year olds are the fastest growing group of people getting STIs. You can’t tell by looking at someone if they have one, and it’s easier than you think to pass it on to someone. Some are spread through the transfer of fluids (blood, semen, vaginal fluids) that happens during sexual activity, and others are spread simply by touching an infected area.
Most STIs can be cured and all can be treated to ease symptoms.