An active and satisfying sex life can do wonders for your physical and mental well being, however if you have fears that you may have picked up a sexually transmitted infection from a sexual partner, then it is important that you get yourself checked out, so that any symptoms can be treated effectively.
STI’s can be contracted through having sex, whether this is vaginal, anal or oral, with a man or with a woman. Luckily, the majority can be easily treated with antibiotics, although some – such as HIV – have no cure, although there are treatments available to stop them getting any worse.
Unfortunately, many STI’s have no visible symptoms or people don’t notice them, so even if you feel 100% healthy, it is always a good idea to head on down to a clinic or your GP to get tested to be on the safe side. For example, around 50% of women and 10% of men with gonorrhoea don’t have symptoms, while if left untreated, chlamydia can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant.
What symptoms should I be aware of?
Both sexes should be aware of:
- Pain when you urinate
- Itching, burning or tingling around the genitals
- Blisters, sores, spots or lumps around the genitals or anus
- Black powder or tiny white dots in your underwear
Women specifically should be aware of:
- Yellow / green vaginal discharge
- Smelly discharge
- Bleeding between periods or after sex
- Pain during sex
- Lower abdominal pain
Men specifically should be aware of:
- Discharge from the penis
- Irritation of the urethra (tube where urine comes out)
These symptoms may not indicate that you have an STI, but it is still worth seeing your doctor to get treatment. For example, thrush can show STI-style symptoms, but you don’t need to have sex to contract it.
Where can I get tested for STI’s?
- Some GP surgeries
- Sexual health clinic or a GUM clinic
- Some community contraceptive clinics
- Some young people’s sexual health services