A virus is an infectious agent that invades and takes over cells within our bodies and cause disease and illness. There are many forms of viral infections that can be passed from one person to another – measles, mumps, influenza, chickenpox etc. Some viral infections are classed as STIs because this is the way they are mainly contracted.
Viral infections that can be sexually transmitted include:
If diagnosed early enough, most viral STIs can be effectively managed with the right treatment but for some viruses (e.g. HIV) this can mean a lifelong treatment regime. Other viral STIs may respond to a single course of treatment (e.g. the warts virus and herpes) but may also require monitoring and further treatment if they reappear.
If used correctly and consistently, condoms can help prevent against transmission of all viral STIs and are the most effective barrier to prevent HIV infection – find out more on our Condom User Guide page.