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HIV and STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) are spread mainly during oral, anal or vaginal sex. Some are spread by skin-to-skin contact, like Syphilis and Herpes. Many people have no symptoms or misinterpret symptoms for a lesser aliment. The best way to prevent long-term damage from STI infection is to get tested regularly!
Most STIs can be prevented by the proper use of a condom and other risk reductions methods. Click here to learn more about Risk Reduction and what may work for you.
If you think you might have been exposed to an STI, might have symptoms of an STI infection or just want specific info, call Project HOPE at 518.434.4686 to speak with one of our trained testing counselors.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV. That means that once you have HIV, you have it for life. No safe and effective cure for HIV currently exists, but scientists are working hard to find one, and remain hopeful.
HIV affects specific cells of the immune system, called CD4 cells, or T cells. Over time, if left untreated, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. However, with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Treatment for HIV is called antiretroviral therapy or ART. It involves taking a combination of HIV medicines (called an HIV regimen) every day. Today, a person who diagnosed with HIV before the disease is far advanced and who gets and stays on ART can live a nearly normal life span.
Symptoms : Within 2-4 weeks after HIV infection, many, but not all, people experience flu-like symptoms, often described as the “worst flu ever.” Symptoms can include: Fever (this is the most common symptom), Swollen glands, Sore throat, Rash, Fatigue, Muscle and joint aches and pains, Headache. These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. Testing at Project HOPE is fast and easy, with a simple finger prick we can give your results in less than 30 minutes.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that often show no signs or symptoms and is one of the most commonly reported STI in the states.
Symptoms: If symptoms are present, they usually appear within one to three weeks of infection. Here’s what to look for; cloudy white discharge from the penis or anus, feeling the need to urinate more often, burning when urinating, pain when pooping, and/or swollen, tender testicles.
A chlamydia test is site specific. Meaning if you got an infection from bottoming, you will need an anal swab. If you top or get a blowjob, you need to give a urine sample to detect the infection.
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that transmitted by unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex.
Symptoms: Many men experience thick, creamy discharge that can be uncomfortable due to pressure clogging up the urethra and penis.
Not everyone has symptoms or recognize the signs, especially if the infection is oral (in the throat) or anal (in the rectum). If you think you may have been exposed to gonorrhea, it is important to tell your doctor your sexual behavior so they can swab the area (or site) of the infection.
Hep C is a virus (HCV) that can last outside of the body for days, It replicates very fast and is easier to get through contact with infected blood than HIV. HCV is most commonly spread through contact with blood of an infected person, usually through sharing contaminated needles, syringes and/or other injection drug equipment and unprotected sexual contact. Sexual transmission of HCV appears to be more common among HIV-positive men who have sex with other men.
Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver. Most people who become infected with the Hep C go on to develop chronic (or long-lasting) Hep C. Untreated, a Hep C infection can progress to a serious, lifelong illness.
Symptoms: Common symptoms of chronic Hep C can include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, abdominal pain, joint pain, gray-colored stools, and jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes).
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is transmitted by sexual contact via skin or mucous membrane contact (usually anally or orally) with syphilis sores.
Symptom: Painless sores typically on your genitals, rectum or mouth.
SYPHILIS ALERT! Syphilis infections are increasing in New York State, with a 44% increase in Upstate New York between 2013 and 2014.
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