Disease Prevention- HIV and STDs

A division of the VDH Office of EpidemiologyDivision of Disease Prevention

The mission of the Division of Disease Prevention (DDP) is to maximize public health and safety through the elimination, prevention, and control of disease, disability, and death caused by HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, other sexually transmitted infections .


Know Your Sexual Health!

The number of sexual transmitted disease (STD) cases are at an all-time high.  In fact, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 2 people will get a STD before the age of 25.  Most people who get STDs don’t know that they have them.  That’s because STDs often have no obvious signs or symptoms.  Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are common STDs that can cause these serious health problems:

  • Increased risk of giving or getting HIV
  • Long-term pelvic and/or abdominal pain
  • Inability to get pregnant or pregnancy complications
  • Health problems for newborn babies if moms are not treated adequately

The only way to know if you have an STD is to get tested.  Learn more about testing, including where to go, here.   STDs are curable or manageable with the right treatment.  Not all doctors will ask you about your sexual activity or need for STD testing.  Don’t be afraid to ask your medical provider for STD testing!

Here are some ways you can prevent STDs:

  • Use condoms – correct and consistent use of the male latex condom is highly effective in reducing the transmission of many STDs. Learn the right way to use condoms and dental dams here.  Female condoms are available, too!
  • Get vaccinated – safe and effective vaccines exist to prevent hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV). These infections can be transmitted through sex.
  • Reduce your number of sex partners – reducing the number of people you have sex with can decrease your risk of STDs. It is still important for you and your partner to get tested and share your results with one another.
  • Practice mutual monogamy – mutual monogamy means that you agree to be sexually active with only one person, who has also agreed to be sexually active only with you. It is important to make sure that you are both tested and treated for STDs early on.
  • Abstinence – not having sex is the most reliable way to avoid STDs. This includes vaginal, anal, and oral sex.

Content notice: The Division of Disease Prevention website contains HIV/STD prevention messages that may be considered explicit by some visitors.