By sexually transmitted infections (STIs) we mean infections that are passed on through various forms of sex. They are also sometimes called venereal diseases (VDs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). There are many different STIs that can be passed on in slightly different ways, some more readily than others. Here you can read about the most common STIs and what you can do to avoid getting them yourself, or passing an infection on to someone else.
STIs can be caused by bacteria or viruses that enter the body. They are usually, but not always, curable and sometimes they heal completely on their own. Some, such as the viral infections herpes and HIV cannot be cured, but nowadays there is effective treatment for HIV. Some of these infections can have serious consequences if they are not treated. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get tested regularly to stay aware of your health so that you can get treatment as soon as possible if necessary. Testing also reduces the risk of passing on an infection to someone else.
Condoms are a good way of protecting yourself and the people you have sex with from STIs, and preventing more people from becoming HIV positive. Condoms limit mucus membranes from coming into direct contact with each other, and thereby prevent or make it more difficult to transmit infections. Don’t forget that several infections can also be transmitted in other ways, such as through bodily fluids, sex toys or fingers.
Testing, taking specimens and treatment for HIV and most sexually transmitted infections are free of charge in Sweden today.