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STIs and HIV

Here you can learn more about STIs, get tips for reducing your risk, and find ways to talk with healthcare providers and partners.

Fast Facts

  • People who have STIs are more likely to get infected by HIV, compared to people who do not have STIs.

Are some STI's associated with HIV?

People who contract syphilis, gonorrhea, and herpes are more likely to get infected by HIV if they practice risky behaviours (for example sex without protection, sharing injecting drug equipments, etc.

Why does having an STI put me more at risk for getting infected by HIV?

If you have an STI you are more likely to get infected by HIV than someone who is STI-free. This is because the same behaviours and circumstances that may put you at risk for getting an STI can also put you at greater risk for getting HIV. In addition, having a sore or break in the skin from an STI may allow the HIV virus to easily enter your body.

What activities can put me at risk for both STIs and HIV?

  • Having anal, vaginal, or oral sex without a condom
  • Having multiple or anonymous sex partners
  • Having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lower inhibitions and result in greater sexual risk-taking

What can I do to prevent STIs and HIV infection?

The only way to avoid STIs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If you are sexually active, you can practice the following to lower your chances of getting STIs and HIV:

  • Choose less risky sexual behaviors
  • Use condoms consistently and correctly
  • Reduce the number of people with whom you have sex
  • Limit or eliminate drug and alcohol use before and during sex
  • Have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider and ask whether you should be tested for STIs and HIV
  • Talk to your healthcare provider and find out if pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a good option for you to prevent HIV infection



If I already have HIV, and then I get an STI, does that put my sex partner(s) at an increased risk for getting infected by HIV?

It can. If you already have HIV, and then contract another STI, it can put your HIV-negative partners at greater risk of getting infected by HIV from you

Your sex partners are less likely to get HIV from you if you

  • Use antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART reduces the amount of virus (viral load) in your blood and body fluids. ART can keep you healthy for many years, and greatly reduce your chance of transmitting HIV to sex partners, if taken consistently
  • Choose less risky sexual behaviours
  • Use condoms consistently and correctly
  • The risk of getting HIV may also be reduced if your partner takes pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, after discussing this option with his or her healthcare provider and determining whether it is appropriate

Will treating STIs prevent me from getting HIV?

No. It’s not enough

If you get treated for an STI, this will help to prevent its complications, and prevent spreading STIs to your sex partners. Treatment for an STI other than HIV does not prevent the spread of HIV.

If you are diagnosed with an STI, talk to your doctor about ways to protect yourself and your partner(s) from getting reinfected with the same STI, or getting HIV.

6 Types of STIs

Tips on STIs & Oral Sex

Many STIs, as well as other infections, can be spread through oral sex.

I’m pregnant. Can I get an STI?

The results of an STI can be more serious, even life-threatening, for you and your baby if you become infected while pregnant.