Heartreach exists to provide you with sound medical information and supportive counsel so you can make an informed decision. 

Frequently asked questions

ON SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS AND DISEASES

What are Sexually transmitted
infections and diseases?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are very common. Millions of new infections occur every year in the United States. STDs are passed from one person to another through sexual activity including vaginal, oral, and anal sex. They can also be passed from one person to another through intimate physical contact or bodily fluid.​ STDs don’t always cause symptoms or may only cause mild signs,

so it is possible to have an infection and not know it.

That is why it is important to get tested if you are having sex.

If you are diagnosed with an STD, know that they can be treated

and some can be cured entirely.

 

STDs are preventable. Learn how to protect yourself and your sexual partner from STDs.

What are my risks in Alaska?  

Alaska has the highest rate of chlamydia in the US and the second-highest rate of gonorrhea. Your risk of obtaining a STI or STD is directly related to the numbers of partners you have. 

how often should I get tested?

The State of Alaska recommends that anyone who has sex without a condom, multiple sex partners, or shares injection drug equipment should get tested for HIV and STDs at least once a year. All adults and adolescents from ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV. All sexually active women younger than 25 years should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year. Women 25 years and older with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners or a sex partner who has an STD should also be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year. All sexually active gay and bisexual men should be tested at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Those who have multiple or anonymous partners should be tested more frequently for STDs ( suggested at 3- to 6- month intervals).

Will birth control prevent me from getting an infection?

Hormonal contraceptives and IUDs do not protect against STDs, including HIV. Consistent and correct use of the male latex condom reduces the risk for HIV infection and other STDs, including chlamydial infection, gonococcal infection, and trichomoniasis. The most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have sex (i.e., anal, vaginal or oral).

Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is one of the most reliable ways to avoid STDs.

Information sourced from the CDC and State of Alaska 

Image by Andrik Langfield