Heard of STIs? STI stands for “sexually transmitted infection,” the term used nowadays instead of STD (sexually transmitted disease). There are over 20 types of STIs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis, which are spread through contact with various bodily fluids such as blood, sperm, and vaginal secretions.
Although most transmission is through sexual contact, infections may be spread from mother to child during childbirth or through sharing contaminated needles. Some of these infections may not lead to any symptoms, and may even go unnoticed. However, they can still be spread, which is why screening tests are important. In recent years in Quebec, over 20,000 cases of STIs have been reported annually. Proper use of condoms greatly reduces the risk of contagion, but does not completely eliminate it. It is therefore important to be informed about sexual practices more at risk of spreading STIs, get tested with each new sexual partner, be candid and open with new sexual partners about STIs, and make informed decisions about preventive measures.