There are many different sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that you can get through unprotected anal, oral or vaginal sex. A pregnant woman can also pass STIs to her baby during pregnancy or childbirth. This chart shows which STIs you can get if your sex partner has an STI. Visit our STI Basics page for more information.
Who Should Get Tested
Getting tested and treated for STIs is an important part of your overall health. If you have an untreated STI, it can cause serious health problems.
Anyone who is having sex or has had sex in the past, but has never received an STI test should get tested.
Anyone who does not use condoms every time they have sex and/or with every sex partner should also get tested. Talk to your partner about protecting your health and theirs through testing and treatment. Visit our STI Basics page for more information.
Pregnant women should also be tested because they can pass on an infection to their baby.
Don’t wait until you have symptoms to get tested – most people who have an STI don’t have any symptoms. Talk to your health care provider about how often you should get tested.
What Happens When You Get Tested
Testing for STIs can be a scary experience but it doesn’t have to be. Your health care provider is there to help. They may ask you questions that might be embarrassing or feel too personal, but they ask them to make sure they are giving you the best care possible. You should also make sure to ask any questions you might have.
If your tests show you have no infection at this time, your health care provider will talk to you about preventing STIs and future testing.
If your tests show you have an infection at this time, your health care provider will give you medication or a prescription for medication. Make sure to take the medication and follow your health care provider's instructions such as waiting to have sex again until you have finished treatment. They will also talk to you about how often you should get tested and they will encourage you to talk to your sex partners about testing and treatment (see information below). Even if you get treated, you can get the same STI again, or other STIs, if you don’t take steps to protect yourself. Visit our STI Basics page for more information on how to protect yourself.
What is Treatment
Treatment for STIs are medications that can help cure the infection or help manage the infection. Many STIs – like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis (trich) – can be cured with antibiotic medications. Some STIs- herpes, HIV, and human papillomavirus (HPV) can be managed with medications to treat the symptoms. Medications can help lower the chance of passing on the infection to your partners.
Learn more about which preventative sexual health services you might need. English En Español
Where to Get Testing and Treatment
It is best to see your primary care provider for health issues whenever possible. If you do not have a primary care provider, contact the member services number on your health insurance card for assistance.
You can also find testing and treatment through these resources.
It's best to call to ask about appointments and costs of testing and treatment before you go in person for any services. If you do not have health insurance, you may qualify for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Visit Maryland Health Connection for more information.
- FREE HIV Home Test Kit for Virginia and Maryland residents
- I Want The Kit: Baltimore City residents may order a free in-home chlamydia or gonorrhea test.
Treatment Information for My Partners
An important part of testing and treatment for STIs is making sure your sex partners are tested and treated too. This is so you don’t re-infect each other or infect other people.
Partner Services and Confidentiality
Many people worry about how to tell their sex partners if they have an STI. The local health department's Partner Services staff are trained professionals who can help you tell your partners that they need to be tested and treated, while protecting your privacy. Learn more about how Partner Services can help.
Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT)
If you live in Maryland and you’ve been diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhea or trichomoniasis (trich), you may be able to get treatment for your partners too. Your health care provider may be able to give you medication or a prescription for your partners, even without seeing them. This is called Expedited Partner Therapy, or EPT. If your partners don’t get treated, they can infect you again even if you have received treatment before. Ask your health care provider about EPT to protect yourself and your partners. Learn more about EPT on our EPT page.
Last updated: 3/2/2021