STIs are common and so it is important to know a bit about them so that you can protect yourself and other people.
STIs are infections that are usually passed from one person to another during sex (oral, vaginal and anal) through the exchange of body fluids - semen, vaginal fluids, and blood - but some can also be passed on through skin-to-skin contact, e.g. rubbing genitals during sex.
Common STIs include: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital herpes and genital warts. HIV and syphilis are less common STIs but it is still important to know about them. Public lice (crabs) and scabies can also be passed on during sex. The doctors and nurses at local clinics will be happy to answer any questions, or you can look at Sex: Worth Talking About to find out more.
You can reduce the risk of getting an STI by using a condom when you have sex. STIs can all be treated and most can be cured.
Safer sex is where semen, vaginal fluids or blood is not passed between partners during sex.
Using a condom is the best way to keep yourself safe.
Got an STI?
You can have an STI but not know it. This is because some STIs have no noticeable symptoms.
Things to look out for include:
- pain when peeing;
- itching around the genitals;
- blisters, sores or spots around the genitals or anus;
- irritation of the urethra (where pee comes out);
- pain when having sex or in the lower abdomen;
- an unusual discharge from the penis or vagina.
If you have any of these symptoms it is best to go to a clinic to get checked out. If an STI is left untreated it can cause some serious health problems.
If you have had unprotected sex it is a good idea to go to a local clinic for a sexual health check-up.
Remember, if you have an STI, the sooner you know about it the sooner it can be treated.
There are lots of services in Manchester that can test and treat STIs. If you have symptoms, it is best to go to one of our Sexual Infection clinics. Contraception clinics will also test for most STIs.
Find out more..
NHS Choices has lots of information about STIs