Many people with sexually transmitted infections(STIs) may not experience any symptoms. A sexually transmitted disease or infection can be passed on from one person to another through sexual activities including vaginal, anal or oral sex. While most can be cured with the use of antibiotics, some viral infections such as HIV/AIDS are uncurbable but can only be managed to prevent them from getting worse. Sexually transmitted infections are not usually visible hence it is vital to get a check-up if you have had unprotected sex or believe you may be at risk.
What Are The Symptoms
Many are asymptomatic especially in women and if let untreated, infections such as Chlamydia can affect the woman’s ability to conceive. Around 50% of women and 10% of men with gonorrhoea do not have symptoms.
Some common symptoms in both men and women are;
• pain when passing urine
• itching, burning or tingling sensation around the genital area
• blisters, sores, spots or lumps around the genital or anal area
• black powder or tiny white dots in your underwear which could be droppings or eggs from pubic lice
Symptoms peculiar to women;
• yellow or green vaginal discharge
• smelly discharge
• bleeding between periods
• bleeding after sex
• lower abdominal pain
• pain when having sex
Symptoms peculiar to men
• discharge from the penis
• irritation of the urethra
Word of caution, these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have STI but will be advisable to see your GP.
Where Can I Test For STIs?
You can get tested at the following;
a sexual health clinic – find a sexual health clinic
• some community contraceptive clinics – find contraceptive services
• some sexual health services – call the national sexual health line on 0300 123 7123, or Worth Talking About (for under-18s) on 0300 123 2930
• some GP surgeries
Some pharmacies can also test for chlamydia.