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Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are infections which can be caught by having sexual contact with someone who is infected. This can be through vaginal, oral or anal sex, although other types of touching can pass some STIs - for example, some STIs (such as Herpes) can be caught by touching the infected areas of someone's body and then touching your own genitals (private parts).

Not everyone with an STI will have signs and symptoms of the condition. If a person does have symptoms, these may include increased discharge, pain or ulcers. If the STIs are left undetected and untreated they may result in serious complications in later years.

Just because you have a symptom of an STI does not mean you have one. There are lots of different reasons why you may have pain, swelling or discharge . It is better to be safe than sorry so make sure you get checked out and have a test.

Avoiding STIs

The only way to be completely sure is to avoid all sexual contact. If you are having sex, you should make sure that you use a condom, which will reduce the chance of infection spreading if either one of you has an STI. You may be able to tell if your partner has an STI if there are blisters or warts on their genitals but most of the time, it is impossible to tell whether someone has got an STI. That is because a lot of STIs do not show just by looking. A lot of people that have got an STI don't know they have them.

What's the fuss?

If you don't know that you have an STI what is the problem? If it doesn't hurt why fix it? Just because it does not hurt or is not affecting you now does not mean that it will not affect you in the future. Most STIs, if they are not treated, can lead to problems in the future. For example, girls can get Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which can make them infertile, meaning that they will not be able to ever have a baby.

If you are pregnant and you have got an STI, you might pass this on to your baby which can give them brain infections and make them blind. But most STIs are treatable so, if you think you have one, come and see us, go to your GP or go to a clinic to be tested.

If you have one STI, it is best to check out if you have any of the others because they are all passed through sexual contact.

There are lots of different STIs.

Use the clickable links at the top of this page, or the links below to find out about some of the most common sexually transmitted infections:

Remember that not all problems with your bits are caused by STIs, check out our section on when it’s not an STI.

Related Questions

  • Age: 15
    Gender: Female

    Question:

    My friends have all had sex what's wrong with me?

    Answer:

    Nothing is wrong you, not everyone has sex at the same time. The most important things about having sex is to be ready and not be pressured, do it with someone you trust and talk to someone about safer sex and contraception first. If you would like to discuss this please come and talk to the team at CHYPS Plus.

  • Age: 18
    Gender: Male

    Question:

    How does the herpes thing work? Is a cold sore herpes?

    Answer:

    Genital Herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV 1 & HSV 2; both can affect the genitals and also the mouth and nose (cold sores) and fingers (witlow).
    The virus enters the body through small cracks in the skin or through the soft lining of skin found in the mouth, vagina, anus, urethra and under the foreskin. After infection some people will experience sores. Some people get symptoms within 4-5 days after infection but some people can carry the virus without any symptoms for months or years.
    Symptoms can include ;
    •    Stinging, tingling or itching on the genital area (penis, anus or vagina)
    •    Fluid filled blister that burst leaving painful sores
    •    Pain when peeing as the urine touches the sores
    If you have any questions please feel free to call us on 02076834070 or attend clinic

    Regards
    CHYPS Plus

  • Age: 15
    Gender: Female

    Question:

    This week I've been feeling dizzy and I always feel like vomiting... I am not pregnant because I am only 15.  And I also have a red thing on my breast; should I make an appointment or is normal things? Whenever I eat I feel really full then I feel like vomiting. Is it normal? Thanks x

    Answer:

    Felling sick is your body's way of telling something isn't right and you should make an appointment to see your GP or attend CHYPS Plus.

    Age has no bearing on pregnancy so you should always practice safer sex to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, you can attend CHYPS plus and receive contraception, please have a look at the contraception page on the CHYPS Plus website; http://www.chypsplus.nhs.uk/zone-5-lets-talk-about-sex/contraception

    in relation to your breast we are unable to provide diagnosis via email, anytime you notice changes to your skin colour and shape etc. you should see a medical professional.

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