7 Things Teens Should Know About STIs

CommuniCare’s Kenna Cook answers your top questions for STI Awareness Month

Teens can get FREE sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV. They also have access to free vaccinations for HPV all in the same visit at our Teen Clinic. It only takes about an hour! If you are over 11 years old, we don’t share any information with your parents or school.

There is a teen health clinic at all CommuniCare locations. The clinic is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM with free STI testing, birth control, condoms, lubricant, emergency contraceptives, family planning services and more. You can get an excused absence for a confidential medical appointment from your middle or high school class to visit the clinic. We are a supportive and affirming environment for LGBTQ patients with counseling services available for everyone on the gender and sexuality spectrum.

Kenna Cook is a Sexual and Reproductive Health Education Teacher at CommuniCare. She visits local schools to teach comprehensive sexual education classes, answers teens’ questions about their sexual and reproductive rights nd provides them with the resources and information they need to make healthy decisions about sex. Often, she is the first contact many teens have with an adult to raise questions and learn about sexual healthcare.  

Kenna answers some of the biggest questions teens have about sexual health and STI testing:

Will you tell my parents if I get tested?

No, all services are free and confidential for teens over 11-years-old. We don’t share results of tests. Your parents will not know. You will get your own card with a Family PACT number and we will not collect any personal info besides a contact number.

Can I get an STI from all types of sex?

Yes, you can contract bacterial and viral infections from most types of sexual behavior. Not having sex is 100% effective against preventing an STI, and using a condom correctly is 98% effective.

There are five types of sex that you can get an STI from:
Manual (hand to genital)
Skin-to-skin (genital rubbing)

How can I tell if my partner or I have an STI?
The most common symptom of an STI is no symptom at all! HPV and genital herpes – the most common viral infections – often don’t even show any symptoms for people.. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can also show no signs for weeks. If you do notice something or have had any of the five types of sex with a new partner, you should get tested for STIs.

How often should I get tested?
If you have been sexually active with one or multiple partners, you need to get tested for STIs. If you have recently started becoming sexual with a new partner, you should both get tested. You will want to get tested at least once a year if you have been with the same partner.

How much does STI testing and supplies cost?
Testing is free for all teens! You also get free birth control, condoms, lubricant, emergency contraceptives and family planning services. HPV vaccines are usually free, or around $10 with some insurances.

How can I get to Teen Clinic?
We are located five miles or less from most high schools in Woodland, Davis and West Sacramento. Call us and we will help you plan your bus route to get here or you can ask a friend or partner to drive you. You can also ride a bike or even walk to most locations.

What happens if I do have an STI?
Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are the most common STIs in Yolo County. They are all treated with antibiotic pills, and in some cases, with  an additional antibiotic shot. They will typically clear up in about two weeks. There is no cure for herpes, HIV or HPV, however you can get treatment and vaccines to help prevent and treat these.

If you have a positive STI test, you will come into Teen Clinic to get treatment. We will ask that you don’t have sex for two weeks and that you come in to get tested again in 6 weeks to make sure the infection is cured. Getting an STI is not a death sentence, but you must get tested and treated if you are having sex.

How do I get an appointment?
Just call our Teen Clinic and ask for an appointment. We will tell you what to expect and help you to get here. It’s free and we won’t share anything about your visit with your school or parents.

You can also reach out  to our Sexual Health Educators and learn more about Teen Clinic on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #STIAwarenessMonth

Call your nearest Teen Clinic for your appointment now!
Woodland – (530) 405-2800
Davis – (530) 758-2060
West Sacramento – (916) 403-2900

You can learn more about National STI Awareness Month here.