NurseAsk Nurse Lisa

Sexually Transmitted Infections and Related Conditions

“Remember what you are taught and told.”

-Cup’ik Cultural Value

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexually transmitted disease (STDs) are caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi that can be transmitted through oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Some of these infections can be cured with antibiotics, but others can only be treated and not cured.

The best thing to do is to prevent rather than treat HIV/STI infections. The 100% proven prevention for infections is not having any type of sexual intercourse, vaginal, oral or anal (abstinence). If you choose to have sex, protect yourself every time with latex condoms and sticking to one partner who has been tested for STIs.

You can reduce your risk for an HIV/STI infection by:

  • Abstaining from sex (not having vaginal, oral or anal sex).
  • Sticking to one mutually monogamous partner who has been tested and is not infected.
  • Using latex condoms (consistently & correctly) for both oral (penile) sex and penetrative (vaginal or anal) sex. If you are allergic to latex, you can use condoms made of polyisoprene or polyurethane. Lambskin condoms do not protect against STIs. All internal condoms are latex-free.
  • Using dental dams for vaginal oral sex and anal oral sex.
  • Using lube during sex. Lube minimizes friction. Friction can cause irritation and tearing during sex which makes it easier to catch an STI.
  • Using latex or latex-free medical gloves when touching another person’s genitals.
  • Not sharing needles, syringes, razors or toothbrushes.

Did you know you can get an STI without below-the-belt penetration?

If you’ve had manual stimulation AKA “handjob”/”fingering”, you could be at risk for some conditions like:

If you’ve had oral sex (vaginal, penile, or anal), you could be at risk for some conditions like:

Other STIs or related topics to learn more about:

If you are sexually active and believe you’re at risk for STIs or STDs, the most important step you can take is to get tested and encourage your partner(s) to do the same. Knowing your status informs health care and lifestyle decisions to help you and your partner(s) stay healthy. Visit the STI Testing page to determine whether this is an option that makes sense for you.


Sexually transmitted infection (STI) self-swab kits are available for free to any mailing address in Alaska. Tests are shipped directly and discreetly to you. It’s the comfort of knowing on your own terms.

Get Help

For general resources about relationships, sex, wellness and more, please do a search on the Get Answers page.

Are you in immediate danger?

Call 911 or your local police. If not in an immediate threat, please view resources on the Get Care page.