Can sexually transmitted infections (STIs) cause health problems?

Yes.. Each STI causes different health problems. But overall, untreated STIs can cause cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, pregnancy problems, widespread infection to other parts of the body, organ damage, and even death.
Having an STI also can put you at greater risk of getting HIV. For one, not stopping risky sexual behavior can lead to infection with other STIs, including HIV. Also, infection with some STIs makes it easier for you to get HIV if you are exposed.
This answer is based on source material from the National Women's Health Information Center.
Angela Lowery
Family Medicine
Sexually transmitted infections can cause many health problems. Some problems associated with STIs are sterility, blindness, organ dysfunction and even death. Some STIs put you at even greater risk for getting other STIs.

Yes, STIs can and do cause health problems. The scariest problems are the ones you can't detect. Close to half the time, STIs do not produce detectable symptoms. So you don't know you are infected. You just keep passing it along to other partners and making them sick as well, whether they know it or not.

Untreated, STIs can make you sterile, infect other body organs and systems such as your brain, or even kill you. If you are having safer sex with multiple partners, or with one partner who has other partners, get tested regularly (every six months). If you are having unsafe sex, get tested immediately and start practicing safer sex immediately. If you have sex with only one partner, get tested before you start having sex so you can treat anything you may have first, then stay faithful to each other.

Continue Learning about Sex and Relationships

Sex In Your Seventies
Sex In Your Seventies
People are often surprised when someone in their late 70s becomes a dad or someone with a TV image as sweet as The Partridge Family mom Shirley Jones ...
Read More
How can I learn to have tantric sex?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Want to have tantric sex? Use these tactics. These tips can help you maximize your sexual experience...
More Answers
4 Signs You Might Have Sexual Dysfunction
4 Signs You Might Have Sexual Dysfunction4 Signs You Might Have Sexual Dysfunction4 Signs You Might Have Sexual Dysfunction4 Signs You Might Have Sexual Dysfunction
They do a number on your sex life—and can point to even bigger health problems.
Start Slideshow
How Can I Have a Sexy Date With My Partner?
How Can I Have a Sexy Date With My Partner?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.