Answers to Frequently Asked Questions: Your Guide for Sexually Transmitted Infections

Options for Women / River Falls offers Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Testing for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and HIV. Our service is free for you.

Believe you may have an STI? We will work with you to arrange a treatment plan! Not sure you know how to manage an STI? We have answers for you in our “Frequently Asked Questions” guide.

What Are STIs and STDs?

There is a difference between STIs and STDs. STI stands for Sexually Transmitted Infection. STI can also be called STD, which stands for Sexually Transmitted Disease. STIs can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis are caused by bacteria; HIV is caused by viruses.

How Do You Get an STI or STD?

STIs can be spread through skin-to-skin contact or body fluids. This fact means there is the potential for infection through every type of sexual activity: vaginal, anal, and oral.

Some STIs can also be transmitted non-sexually, such as through blood or blood products, or from a mother to her child during pregnancy or childbirth. It is important to seek STI testing to help stop the spread of infections and diseases.

How Common Are STIs?

Over half of the people in the U.S. will get a Sexually Transmitted Infection during their lifetime.

Did you know…

If a person had four partners,

and their partners have had three partners each on average… The math keeps going…


That individual has potentially been

indirectly exposed to 1,456 partners


Sexual exposure potentially equates to:

about 10%

of the population of

River Falls, WI

(Based on 2020 population: 15,870)

(Exponential “Circle of Exposure” from “Sexual Exposure Calculator First Care Clinic.”)

How Do You Know If You Have a Sexually Transmitted Infection?

The best way to confirm and manage an STI diagnosis is to find a healthcare provider who can test and provide treatment. Individuals should be tested if they:

  1. Have had sex with more than one person
  2. Have had a new partner/new exposure
  3. Have had sex with someone who has had more than one partner
  4. Have had a partner who has an STI
  5. Share needles or other skin-puncturing devices
  6. Are pregnant

What Are Common Symptoms?

Symptoms of an infection may not show up for months or years. When they do appear, they may present as one or more of the following:

  1. Painless sores, blisters, rashes, irritation, itching
  2. Abnormal discharge from vagina or penis
  3. Pain during sex, urination, or ejaculation
  4. Seizures
  5. Strong vaginal odor
  6. Pain in the pelvis, abdomen, or genital area
  7. Flu-like symptoms

Can STIs Be Treated?

Most infections can usually be treated with antibiotics. Viral infections (e.g. Herpes, HIV, etc.) can not be cured, only medically managed. Treatment does not undo any damage already done to the body.

How Can You Avoid Sexual Risk?

Sexual Risk Reduction Theory: Use of Condoms, dental dams, etc. reduces risk but does not eliminate (device malfunction, user error, etc.).

Sexual Risk Avoidance Theory: Using knowledge, resources, strategies to build healthy relationships. Empowers couples to protect their health and their future as informed, active guardians of both. Puts the power to determine their health outcome in their decisions/choices. As 100% effective as the couple chooses to make it in eliminating risks.

Options for Women / River Falls

We offer testing and treatment options geared towards Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and HIV. We provide referrals to local doctors for a full panel of Sexually Transmitted Infections testing.

We offer informational and educational resources, including resources for our “Someone Beautiful” program. Women who participate in “Someone Beautiful” gather personalized resources to be happy, healthy, whole, and face life with confidence.

Schedule your STI or “Someone Beautiful” appointment by phone at (715) 425-8539 or here on our website.


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