The most important thing to remember is that anyone can get a sexual infection from any kind of unprotected sex including oral sex. The only way to protect yourself and your partner is to use a condom.
Also, you or your partner may not know that you have an infection as some STIs don’t cause symptoms. Even if you don’t have any symptoms you may want to be checked out if:
- You have had unprotected sex with a new partner
- You or your partner had unprotected sex with other partners
- A sexual partner is found to have an STI
- You find out you have one STI, then you should be checked for others
Infections can cause problems if they are not treated so if you are
worried, get yourself checked out at Choices - after all it’s free,
friendly and confidential.
Some common symptoms are:
- Pain when you wee
- Lumps or bumps around your penis, vagina, anus
- Unusual discharges
- Itching or burning
- Lower abdominal pain
Sexually Transmitted Infections - STIs
If you are nervous or embarrassed about going to the Centre for Sexual Health, just remember that the staff are all trained to help you, they have seen it before and your testing and treatment is confidential. Also, this service is not just for STI testing and treatment. Family planning services also operate from the Centre for Sexual Health so no one is to know whether you are going for testing or going for contraception. Your visit and any treatment you require are free and staff will also be able to give you condoms. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask as the staff will be able to answer them for you.
Some STIs are listed below. This is not a list of every STI so if you are worried that you may have put yourself at risk by having unprotected sex (sex without a condom) then visit Choices’ Sexual Health Advice & Treatment to get it checked out, or visit any Choices’ Advice & Support and Choices’ Health & Support services to talk through your worries with one of the workers.
There’s some language that’s just about STI testing and treatment. Before you read on here are some definitions:
- SWAB like a cotton bud, but smaller, rounder and softer. This is wiped over the area that may be affected, and only takes a few seconds to get a sample. If there is any pain, it will only be for a few seconds
- URINE TEST weeing in a small pot. Your wee is then tested for the infection
- BLOOD TEST the nurse will use a small needle to take a small sample of blood from your arm. Not all trips to the clinic need a blood test. Sometimes a urine test or swab is used instead.
- ANTIBIOTICS These are used to treat bacterial infections. These may affect the effectiveness of the Oral Contraceptive Pill.
For further information on STIs and other vaginal or penile infections, click the links below:
All information © Choices 2007.