Viral STIs

Viruses are microscopic organisms, smaller than bacteria. They can only reproduce inside the cells of another organism. They invade the cells and cause disease.

How it is spread:

Through unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex.

Infected mothers can infect their baby during birth. 

Symptoms:

There are many different types of HPV.

Some cause cancer.

Some cause genital warts—cauliflower-like bumps.

OR

No symptoms.

Test:

Visual exam

PAP test

Treatment:

No cure—virus stays in body.

Manage symptoms with medication.

Most genital warts go away on their own.

Vaccines prevent the most common types of HPV.

Risks if no treatment:
  • Distress
  • Increases your risk to get other STIs if exposed to them
  • Cancer 
Prevention:
  • Get the vaccine (available for free to all Grade 6 girls in Nunavut)
  • Use a condom and/or dental dam every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex.
  • Get tested at your health centre once you become sexually active, and every 5 years if the test is negative and you’re over age 21. 
How it is spread:

Through unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex.

Infected mothers can infect their baby during birth. 

Symptoms:
  • Blisters (small fluid-filled sores)
  • Burning sensation when peeing
  • Itchiness

OR

No symptoms

Test:

Swab or blood

Treatment:

No cure (virus stays in body).

Manage symptoms with medication.

Risks if no treatment:
  • Brain damage and blindness in babies born to infected mothers
  • Increases your risk to get other STIs if exposed to them 
Prevention:
  • Use a condom and/or dental dam every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex.
  • Get tested at your local health centre.
How it is spread:

Through unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex.

Infected mothers can infect their baby during birth. 

Symptoms:
  • Flu-like (fever, tired, body aches, stomach pain, nausea)
  • Jaundice (yellow skin)

OR

No symptoms

Test:

Blood

Treatment:

No cure (virus stays in body).

Prevent with vaccine.

Risks if no treatment:
  • Liver damage
  • Cancer
  • Death
Prevention:
  • Get the vaccine (given to all babies in Nunavut)
  • Use a condom and/or dental dam every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex.
  • Get tested at your local health centre.
How it is spread:

Through unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex.

Passed through breast milk and blood.

Infected mothers can infect their baby during birth. 

Symptoms:

Symptoms may take years to show.

HIV:

  • Weight loss
  • Tired
  • Fever

HIV causes AIDS—the immune system becomes very weak and cannot fight off infections. 

Test:

Blood

Treatment:

No cure (virus stays in body).

Some treatment available.

Risks if no treatment:
  • Weakened immune system
  • More infections
  • Death
Prevention:
  • Use a condom and/or dental dam every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex.
  • Get tested at your local health centre at least once a year if you’re sexually active under age 30
  • Get tested at your local health centre every 3-6 months if you or your sexual partners have more than one partner.