A lot of people with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) do not have symptoms, so it is important to get tested to find out about your health once in a while even if you feel fine. And if you think you have an STI, the earlier you get tested, the sooner treatment can be administered if need be.
An STI can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. You can get or pass on an STI to whoever you are having sex with. STIs can pass between men and women and from women to women and men to men.
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Many STIs can be cured with antibiotics. Some, such as HIV, have no cure, but can be treated to prevent them getting worse. You cannot tell by looking at someone; including yourself, whether they have an infection; so it is important to get a check-up if you have had unprotected sex or think you might be at risk.
Chlamyadia: Many people do not notice symptoms when they have an STI,.Most women with chlamydia may not be aware they have it. Chlamydia does not usually cause any symptoms. People with chlamydia who have no symptoms can still pass the disease to others. If you do have symptoms, they may not appear until several weeks after you have sex with an infected partner.
Symptoms in women include; abnormal vaginal discharge, which may have a strong smell, burning sensation when urinating and pain during intercourse. If the infection spreads, it might result in lower abdominal pain, pain during sex, nausea, or fever.
Symptoms in men include; discharge from your penis, burning sensation when urinating, burning or itching around the opening of the penis and pain and swelling in one or both testicles.
Gonorrhoea: can also affect fertility. Around 50 per cent of women and 10 per cent of men with gonorrhoea do not have symptoms.
Left untreated, STIs can affect your health. If you have any of the symptoms listed below, get tested.
In both women and men:
- pain when you pass urine
- 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 – this could be droppings or eggs from pubic lice
In women alone:
- yellow or green vaginal discharge
- discharge that smells
- bleeding between periods or after sex
- pain during sex
- lower abdominal pain
- discharge from the penis
- irritation of the urethra (the tube urine comes out of)
Always use condoms to help protect yourself from catching or passing on an STI. Buy condoms that have the CE mark, this means they have been tested to high safety standards. Condoms that do not have the CE will not meet these standards.