STIs and HIV

In the District of Columbia, STI and HIV rates are among the highest in the nation. For that reason, it is important that all sexually active individuals use the appropriate contraception, get tested regularly communicate with all sex partners, and treat any STIs as directed by medical professionals. 

Your Rights

A minor of any age may consent to health services which he or she requests for the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a sexually transmitted disease. (DC Law 600.7)

  • You have the right to obtain STI tests without consent from your parents or guardians
  • You have the right to obtain a confidential STI test from your School Based Health Center (if applicable)
  • You have the right to treatment for STIs and HIV without parental/guardian permission.

What is an STI?

Sexually Transmitted Infections are infections that individuals can get through sexual intercourse, intravenous drug use, or nonsexual contact such as childbirth or breast feeding. Some STIs can also be transmitted through skin to skin contact.

Things you should know

The best way to prevent against STIs is to use latex condoms, female condoms or dental dams for each sex act. Non-latex condoms are available for those who are allergic to latex or prefer a non-latex option, however, lambskin condoms should not be used to prevent pregnancy or STIs.

Most bacterial STIs or Infestations are curable. Viral STIs are not curable but they can be treated.

STI infections are categorized as viral, bacterial or infestation. Bacterial STIs are caused by bacteria. Viral STIs are caused by viruses and Infestations are caused by an invasion of “pests.”

  • Common bacterial STIs include: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis. These STIs are curable.
  • Common viral STIs include: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV causes AIDS), Human Papilloma Virus, Herpes and Hepatitis. These STIs are not curable.  
  • Common infestations: Scabies and Pubic Lice (also known as crabs). These are curable.

Men and women who are infected with an STI often will not show any symptoms.

If a person does show symptoms, here are some of the common symptoms of STIs: genital itching, burning during urination, unusual discharge, genital sores, unusual odor.

  • Even if you have had an STI before and it has been cured, you can still get that STI again.
  • Birth control and other hormonal contraceptives do NOT protect against STIs.

Here are more places where you can learn about STIs:

Here’s where you should go, if you are having issues or need assistance with condoms:


If you want to get involved in our reproductive justice fight:

Contact the Mayor and City Council

Contact the Department of Health

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Join the movement, by becoming part of our staff, or by helping us.