top of page


BAO offers FREE and Confidential STI and HIV tests without appointments. For more information on BAO testing click here.


What is an STI/STD?

  • A sexually transmitted infection (or sexually transmitted disease) is a virus, bacteria, fungus, or other microorganism that is spread from person to person via sexual intercourse or sexual activities. The most common STIs are gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis (trich), herpes, syphilis, and HIV. There are other microorganisms that can be transmitted through sex but are most commonly spread in other ways, such as Zika, Ebola, and mpox.


Who can get an STI/STD?

  • Anyone sexually active (oral, vaginal, or anal sex). STIs/STDs affect people of every single race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and demographic you can imagine. However, the Alabama Department of Public Health reports that STIs/STDs are most present in people aged 15-24 years.

  • The risk factors for getting an STI/STD include multiple partners, previous STIs/STDs, trading sex for money or other things, injection drug use, unprotected sex, and partner violence.


How common are STIs/STDs?

  • STIs are extremely common with millions of new infections occurring in the United States every year. The CDC reported more than 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in the United States in 2022.


How do you get an STI/STD?

  • STIs can spread from person to person through vaginal, oral, and anal sex. STIs can also spread through toys or other objects that come in contact with potentially contaminated body fluids and are shared between people.


What are the symptoms of STIs/STDs?

  • STI symptoms can include difficulty or pain with urinating, vaginal or penile discharge or odor, or rashes or bumps on or near the penis or vagina. STIs do not always cause symptoms, or may only cause mild symptoms.

  • STI testing is important for anyone who is sexually active because a majority of people who have an STI do not have any symptoms. People who have a penis are the most likely to have no symptoms. 


What are the treatment options for STIs/STDs?

  • All STIs are treatable, and most STIs are curable. 

  • Certain STIs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, trich, and syphilis, are treated and cured with antibiotics.

  • Certain STIs, such as HIV or herpes, require lifelong treatment to suppress the viruses that cause HIV or herpes. These viruses do not have a cure but can be managed medically to reduce and prevent their spread, as well as long-term complications.


What are the complications of STIs/STDs?

  • STIs can lead to many complications, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID happens when STIs go untreated and can spread into the upper regions of the reproductive organs and even the abdomen. Because of their anatomy, people with a uterus are more likely to contract PID than people who have a penis. Untreated gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most likely STIs to lead to PID. The symptoms of PID include fever, low abdominal pain, vaginal discharge, and vaginal bleeding. PID is a very serious infection that can make you very sick and can even lead to infertility.

  • The key to preventing PID and other complications of STIs is to get routine and consistent STI testing, and getting treatment if you are diagnosed with an STI.


How do I prevent STIs/STDs?

  • Abstinence is the only real form of “safe sex”, but we use the term "Safer" Sex. Safer sex is any means of enjoying sex to the fullest without transmitting or acquiring any sexually related infections. Safer sex does not mean eliminating sexual passion and intimacy from your life. It just means that you have to be aware of the risk and use the tools available to reduce the risk to a level that both you and your partner feel comfortable with.

  • Safer sex includes using latex, plastic, or internal condoms every time you have oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Safer sex also includes frequent testing for STIs. Knowing your STI status is powerful and helps you get treatment, as well as prevent spreading STIs.

bottom of page