Albany County
175 Green Street | Albany, NY 12202
Phone: (518) 447-4580 | Fax: (518) 447-4698
Elizabeth F. Whalen, MD, MPH, Commissioner
Your health, your responsibility

TAKE CONTROL of your sexual health

Did You Know…
  • 1/2 of sexually active young adults have had a sexually transmitted disease (STD) by age 25.
  • Almost 3/4 of all chlamydia infections reported in Albany County occur in young adults 15-24 years of age.
  • Around 1/2 of all gonorrhea infections reported in Albany County occur in young adults 15-24 years of age.

When to have sex, and who to have sex with, is a personal choice that only you can make. You always have the right to say noTo make the best choice you need to be informed, understand what the risks are, and understand what your options are. Then you need to put your knowledge into action and TAKE CONTROL! It is your health, protect it.

On this page we have provided some basic information to help you think about your sexual health.  We have also provided links to other sources of reliable information if you would like to learn more about this topic. Remember, not all information you find on the internet, or hear from your friends, is true. Always go back to reliable sources when looking for answers to your questions.

What do you need to know about STDs?What do you need to know about STDs?
  • Anyone can get an STD if they are sexually active.
  • There are many different STDs and a person can have more than one STD at a time.  
  • STDs can be spread from an infected person to another person in a number of ways: any sexual contact (vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex), skin-to-skin contact, blood-to-blood contact (sharing needles, piercings, tattoos), or from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or childbirth.
  • If you have another STD, it is easier for you to get HIV if you are exposed.
  • Most people who have an STD do not have any signs or symptoms.
  • Most STDs can be cured with treatment. Treatment can help if you have HIV or another STD that can’t be cured.
  • If you have an STD it is important to get treated as soon as possible. The longer you wait the more damage the disease can cause and the more likely you will pass the STD to others.
  • To learn about specific STDs and their prevention, symptoms and treatment:
Some things are best not left to chance.

How can you TAKE CONTROL of your sexual health?
No one wants to get an STD. The choices you make can prevent you from getting an STD, help reduce your risks of being exposed to an STD, and help you get early treatment for an STD and prevent further spread if needed.

Choosing not to have sex, or being abstinent, is the only 100% effective way to protect yourself from getting an STD (or from getting pregnant or getting someone else pregnant).Not Ready? It can wait.

It is OK to wait:

  • Most teens are not having sex.
  • More than half of teens who have had sex wish they had waited.
  • Learn more about Choosing NOT to Have Sex external website

If you choose to have sex, condoms are the best way to protect yourself and your partner from getting an STD or HIV. But remember, they are not 100% effective – only abstinence is.

Using condoms shows respect and responsibility
  • Use a latex or polyurethane condom every time you have sexual contact (including oral sex).
  • Store condoms in a cool, dry place – not in your pocket, wallet or glove compartment of the car.
  • Learn more about Condoms external website

Limit the number of partners you have. This can help reduce your risk.

  • Being in a long-term relationship with one uninfected partner who is also in a relationship only with you (mutual monogamy) is one of the most reliable ways to avoid an STD.

If you are sexually active (this includes oral sex), and if either you or your partner have had more than one sexual partner, or if you are not sure, you should get tested.

Many STDs have no symptoms. Get Tested. Take Control.
  • Most people who have an STD do not have any signs or symptoms. 
  • The only way to know for sure if you or your partner has an STD is to get tested.
  • You, and your partner, should get tested before entering into a new relationship.
  • If you have an STD the sooner you get tested, the sooner you can get treated.
  • Learn more about testing at Get Tested, Get Treated external website

Where can I go to get tested and treated for STDs?

Want more information?

Check out Facebook, Take Control New York external websiteYour relationships. Your sexual health. Take Control!

Act Youth Network external website: Created by and for youth from all over New York State with information on how to Take Control of your sexual health

Be Smart. Be Well external website: Life-story videos, expert interviews, and interesting articles discussing STDs.

STD and HIV Screening Recommendations external website: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

STD Prevention Guidelines external website: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Young Americans external website: STDs take a particularly heavy toll on young people. This infographic highlights the impact, causes, and consequences of STDs among young people and what they can do to protect themselves.

Albany County ExecutiveDaniel P. McCoy